6 Ways to Optimize Winter Health

Posted Jan 18, 2012 | Posted in Health & Wellness

Don’t let cold weather put a damper on your health! Be proactive, and take advantage of these five simple steps to boost your winter wellness.

Focus on Healthy Food

Placing increased importance on good nutrition is your best bet for staying healthy this winter. This means eating a balanced diet that’s rich in fresh, unprocessed ingredients. Do your best to get at least three servings of vegetables every day. Focus on yellow and orange varieties, such as squash and sweet potatoes, are rich in cold-fighting vitamin C. Add fresh fruits and berries to your diet and enjoy the delicious combination of natural sweetness and nutritional value. Opt for whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, and make sure you’re getting at least two servings of low-fat or non-fat dairy every day. Choose lean meats, such as chicken and pork tenderloin, and try to incorporate fish at least twice a week. Fish, such as salmon, is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and can play a role in preventing heart disease. Keep sweets to a minimum, and do your best to practice moderation. Doing your best to adhering to these guidelines can help maximize good health, and minimize time wasted being sick.

Take a Multivitamin

Although a healthy diet is most important, taking a daily multivitamin can give your health an added boost. For inexpensive nutritional insurance, pick up a name brand multivitamin, and make it habit to take it every day. Setting a routine time to take it, such as at breakfast, can help instill this habit.

Stay Active

Don’t use winter as an excuse to stay inside, lounging in front of the television. Bundle up and go for a brisk walk or take advantage of seasonal activities such as ice-skating. If you don’t enjoy cold weather, head to the gym for some climate-controlled exertion. Not only does getting regular exercise help to control your weight, it also provides a boost to your immune system and serves as an excellent source of natural stress relief.

Get More Sleep

This winter, help guarantee your body’s ability to fight off illness by ensuring you get plenty of sleep. Set a bedtime and try to stick to it every night. Implementing a routine will help ensure that you’re getting adequate sleep and will help prevent sleep debt, which is the accumulation of ongoing sleep deprivation. Winter has the tendency to induce hibernation-like tendencies, so take advantage of opportunities to catch up on much needed shut-eye.

Wash Your Hands

Various germs can survive on the surface of your hands for up to three hours. Washing your hands on a regular basis can play a huge role in preventing influenza, respiratory infections, diarrhea and sore throats this winter. Get into this habit after using the restroom, and also before every meal. If possible, make a conscious effort to wash upon arriving and leaving heavily-trafficked areas, such as gyms, malls and various forms of public transportation. To most effectively wash your hands, use hot water and soap, scrubbing for at least 60 seconds. To further prevent the possible spread of bacteria and viruses, invest in some antibacterial gel for those moments when hand washing isn’t an option.

Reduce Your Recovery Time

Despite your best efforts, you may come down with an illness this winter. If you get sick, here are a few tips to maximize your recovery efforts and reduce recovery time:

  • Stop consuming dairy products
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Cut back on grain-based foods (bread, pasta, rice, etc.)
  • Boost your vitamin C intake
  • Boost your Zinc intake
  • Drink more water
  • Get as much rest as possible
  • Consume small meals that are easy to digest–this will allow your body to focus its energy on recovery
  • Add supplements, such as Echinacea, goldenseal and grapefruit seed extract, to your daily routine

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