Winter Survival Kit - 8 Ways to Optimise Health This Winter
Cold weather makes most of us want to snuggle up, stay indoors and keep warm. Dark mornings and dark evenings mean that we feel energised for a far smaller proportion of the day than those summer months we’ve now left behind. Cooler temperatures and the contrast with centrally heated buildings can put extra strain on the immune system. There are steps we can all take to help our body’s out at this time of year.
- If you find yourself getting poorly then make sure you drink plenty of water and herbal tea to stay hydrated. Being hydrated facilitates the immune system’s response to infection.
- Adding a spoonful of raw honey to warm rather than hot drinks maintains the enzyme benefits which means this combination can help to soothe your throat.
- Vitamin C can support the immune system and help your body to fight pathogens such as the common cold or the flu. Citrus fruits, cranberries and dark green leafy vegetables can provide some vitamin C at this time of year, but you may also like to supplement as this is a water-soluble vitamin so you need to consume daily.
- Ensuring you get sufficient sleep is important to recover well from a busy day. In fact, your body is likely to want to sleep more because of the lengthy periods of dark at this time of year.
- Vitamin D is required because of the lack of sun during the winter months. Adding a vitamin D supplement is wise at this stage to improve your immune system and stave off lower mood.
- The longer hours of darkness can lead to a drop in serotonin levels which can make you feel lower in mood than normal. Sometimes this is called the ‘winter blues’. Associated with this are food cravings, often for carbohydrate rich foods. Some of these can help to increase serotonin levels. Opt for healthier carbohydrates such as whole grains, root vegetables e.g. sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots and beetroot as well as nuts and seeds.
- Zinc which can also be found naturally in seeds, nuts, dairy and eggs can help to support your immune system. Using a supplement to support dietary intake can ensure you have optimal levels at this time of year.
- The changing weather is not an excuse to spend less time with friends. Laughing and engaging with friends and family has been shown to decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells and infection fighting antibodies.
As we move into autumn it’s not a time to make drastic changes. It is, however, time to consider how less light and shorter days, cooler weather and increased numbers of illnesses may affect you and your life. It’s a time to consider how you can adjust your habits and schedules as well as your diet and supplement plan to help you stay healthy and have optimal energy.
By Jenny Tschiesche