7 great tips to feel healthy this winter!

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As we bid farewell to the warmer months our health can really take a backseat, and our chances of infections, allergies, colds and flu increase. So as the temperature dips try these seven knockout tips to help make this winter your healthiest yet!

1) Watch your diet

During winter, light summer foods are pushed aside to make way for comfort foods. Fresh produce can also be harder to find and more expensive (especially if it’s not in season). But there are still ways – delicious and satisfying ways – to ensure you’re getting what you need to stay healthy.

For the biggest nutritional bang choose:

  • Seasonal dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli and Brussel sprouts – rich in vitamin C, which may help reduce cold and flu symptoms and boost your overall immunity.
  • Winter fruits like lemons, grapefruits and oranges are also packed full of vitamin C and are plentiful this time of year.
  • Seeds and nuts (such as walnuts, flaxseed and pecans) are available all year round and are a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation in the body and may help lower your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.

2) Boost your vitamin D

Nearly one third of Australian adults are deficient in vitamin D[1] – essential for strong bones, muscle function, immunity and mood. And, in the winter, with less sun exposure and more time spent indoors, our vitamin D levels can fall even lower.

The best way to boost your vitamin D levels is via sensible sun exposure. But during winter, when sun exposure is limited, some good natural food sources include; oily/fatty fish, cheese, mushrooms and egg yolks. Vitamin D supplements may also help.

3) Beat cold and flu

With the change of season your body is in a state of flux, your immunity is vulnerable and you find yourself surrounded by any number of people who’ve already succumbed to the dreaded cold or flu. And usually, within a week or two (much like an episode of the Walking Dead), the torch is passed and suddenly you’re that poor person on the bus that nobody wants to sit next to. To boost your immunity, try to pack your diet full of seasonal fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C. Exercise and sleep may also help.

4) Fight allergens

Most people associate allergens with spring but winter can also come with its fair share. This is because, as the weather cools down, we start closing our windows and doors, which can mean poorer ventilation and greater exposure to environmental allergens. People with sensitivities to pets, dust mites, moulds and smoke/gas (from heaters) may be particularly at risk.

At Health & Wellness Australia (HWA) we use a technique called muscle testing (or kinesiology) to help identify your food sensitivities. Following testing, you can work with your practitioner to address your sensitivities using a natural allergy treatment called Positive Association Technique (PAT). PAT is a non-invasive holistic therapy, which:

  • draws on acupressure and kinesiology techniques
  • aims to re-train your body
  • may reduce your sensitivities.

Some cases can be complex, so our naturopaths may also recommend supplements, herbs and lifestyle advice to help you achieve the best long-term results.

 

5) Get enough shuteye

In winter, fewer daylight hours can affect melatonin levels (the chemical responsible for regulating your body’s sleep cycle), which can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. Heating and a change in diet may also have undesirable effects on sleeping patterns.

Lack of sleep stresses the body, which can lower your immune system and increase your chances of infection, especially during the colder months. So set a routine and maintain a comfortable, constant temperature in your bedroom to help you sleep. Keeping a healthy diet, regular exercise and practicing relaxation techniques may also help.

6) Pick up the slack

The cold and dreary winter weather can often derail fitness goals. But research suggests that moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system[2], so it’s vital to keep up your workout routine during winter. Staying active can also help you sleep more restfully, improve confidence, boost your feel-good hormones (endorphins) and, along with a healthy diet, may help you shed a few extra kilos before summer.

If you’re not willing to brave the cold, have a go at some fun indoor classes (like spin, body attack or zumba), hit the heated pool or simply try some at-home body weight exercises. Just half an hour a day can make a big difference to your health!

7) Try herbs and supplements

Some of the basic supplements prescribed by natural therapists at this time of year are designed to improve our immunity. They also help us adjust physically to the many small, yet necessary, changes we make to our lifestyle as one season gives way to another.

At HWA, we can prescribe a range of herbs and supplements – including vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, cod liver oil, Echinacea, olive leaf and mushroom extract – to ensure you get all the right vitamins and minerals to stay healthy this winter.

This blog is intended as general information only. PAT cannot cure mould allergies – it is intended to decrease reactions and help manage symptoms. It is not intended to raise unrealistic expectations. If symptoms persist, consult your GP.

[1] Deakin University. Vitamin D deficiency strikes one-third of Australians. https://www.deakin.edu.au/research/story?story_id=2012/01/16/vitamin-d-deficiency-strikes-one-third-of-australians
[2] Medicine Plus. Exercise and immunity. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007165.htm

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