Winter is here.
Just imagine if John Stark knocked on your door and offered you protection during the winter months, such a fun thought, but not realistic.
According to the CDC, common colds are the main reason that adults miss work and children miss school. Adults average 2-3 colds a year. WebMD reports that 5-20% of the U.S. population will get the flu.
Here is what I know about you ~ you are aware that these illnesses are a part of the season and catching these are out of our control. You may decide to get the flu vaccine, but you know that it does not cover all strains of the virus. While there are no guarantees, we can take action to minimize the risks of transmitting these viruses.
Here are the 7 ways to Stay Healthy This Winter:*
- Get Rest – Sleep is very important for your overall health. Getting adequate rest is even more critical during the winter months. Our immune system doesn’t fight as well when we are not well rested. Also, we tend to make bad eating choices without adequate rest. Did you knows consuming extra calories (and not the good ones) is proven from lack of sleep? Read article.
- Wash Your Hands – Seems obvious. Some viruses can live on surfaces up to 3 hours. Make sure you wash your hands well and wipe down surfaces with anti-viral wipes if someone is sick. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to kill bacteria and viruses.
- Drink Up - Drink lots of good clean H20. It’s so much easier in the summer when you are hot and thirsty. Water will help keep you hydrated, flush out the unwanted toxins and keep your skin nourished. Dry skin is so common during the winter.
- Bundle Up and Go Outside – Getting sad and depressed during the winter is a real condition. We need vitamin D from sunlight to help us, so if you can head outside for at least 10 minutes, it will help you sleep as well as give you the vitamins. The fact that it gets darker earlier can also mess-up your internal clock. If you find it's hard to control, discuss options with your health probationer.
- Exercise – Don’t let the winter be your excuse not to exercise. I agree, it’s not fun to go out when it’s cold. Exercising releases, the "happy hormone", we can always use that especially in the winter! If you exercise at the gym, wipe down the equipment before using it.
- Open the Door 2x a Day – When it’s cold outside, we tend to not open our windows and doors. The air is recirculating through our HVAC systems. Yuck! Let in some fresh air each day ~ 10 minutes twice a day should do it!
- Nutrition – Fueling your body with optimum nutrition is not dependent on a particular season. Since our immune system can be compromised during the winter, it's important to be mindful of these areas in your nutrition.
- Increase Protein – During the dark days of winter, we tend to reach for the sugary carbs because they release serotonin which makes us feel good/happy. These cravings then escalate as the day goes on… OH NO! OH YES! Don’t fall into that trap! Start your day with a high protein breakfast and choose to include protein snacks throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable. The antibodies in protein help to fight diseases as well as other benefits.
- Add Zinc– According to the National Institute of Health, Zinc is “a mineral found in most cells of the body. It helps enzymes work properly, helps maintain a healthy immune system.” Foods rich in zinc are meats, poultry, oysters, eggs and nuts. Read article. When you add Zinc to your diet, your body will regulate the amount it needs and will store small amounts for use later. Awesome! Women need about 8 mg a day and men 11 mg. Start your Zinc savings account today and protect yourself! Read article.
- Eat Mushrooms – Mushrooms boost your immune system and help with inflammation. I did not realize until I started to research this subject that a virus like colds and flu are fungi. It’s very interesting to learn that mushrooms help can help detoxify your body to fight viruses.
- Add Omega 3 – According to an article from Harvard, our bodies cannot make Omega 3’s so we must rely on our nutrition to supplement. Why do we need Omega 3’s? “Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles in brain function, normal growth and development, and inflammation.” Read article.There are great options for finding this in our foods: salmon, mackerel and sardines or if you are allergic to fish (like I am) good choices are flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. For the non-fish choices, our bodies convert these to the Omega 3.
- Eat More Fiber – Eating makes us warmer and we tend to eat more during the winter months. If you incorporate fiber into your diet, it will give you a feeling of being more satisfied. According to the Mayo Clinic - “Women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day.” Read article. Some suggestions are raspberries, green peas and oatmeal.
As a busy mom, professional and health conscious person I was looking for low cost, convenient solutions for my nutrition. I am thrilled I can whip up breakfast & lunch in 30 seconds and be armed with what I need to combat viruses. If you would like more information on what I am doing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Stay Happy and Healthy!
* I am not a doctor or nutritionist, so please schedule an appointment with your health professional if you are not feeling well.