We all know how viruses and bacteria spread in the winter months and we are faced with the challenge of preventing us and our family from colds and flu. November is here and winter is officially upon us. Work and school environments do the very best to test our immune systems, so it is definitely best to be prepared! There are several ways to do this, by keeping a healthy diet, control over portion sizes, maintaining a regular sleeping pattern and exercising, can all boost our immune system and keep healthy this winter. Here are a few tips on how to do just that. Take a look!
The average person is recommended to sleep between seven and nine hours a night. However, most of us only get on average six and half hours sleep a night. As winter approaches we are more likely to adopt hibernation habits and this is perfectly normal. Due to the shorter evenings, longer nights and colder weather we are likely to sleep more and it is essential that we realise the importance of a good night’s sleep. In order to maintain a good sleeping pattern we recommend going to sleep and waking at the same time every day or as often as possible so that your body knows that it is time to sleep. If you have trouble sleeping try some relaxation exercises and yoga to put you in the perfect mindset to nod off.
Diet: Fruit and Veg
When wintertime approaches, we all crave and are easily tempted to eat unhealthy comfort foods. It is vital that we maintain a healthy, balanced diet despite the cold weather and shorter days. Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. If at any point you are craving a sugary pick me up, fulfill your craving with a fruity treat. Try some dried fruits like dates or raisins, or maybe some Clementines or Satsuma instead, the list is endless. There are plenty of winter vegetable to enjoy also, carrots, parsnips, and turnips can be roasted for some delicious winter recipes.
Obviously with winter weather creeping in, we are more likely to feel cold so it is very important that we combat this by protecting our immune systems. Dairy products are one food that you should consume for a top up on all nutrients. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are a fantastic source of protein and vitamins A and B 12. Dairy products are most importantly a great source of calcium to keep our bones strong. Semi skimmed or skimmed milk and low fat yoghurt and cheese are the ideal healthy eating options.
What better way to start off a winter morning than with a healthy bowl of porridge! Waking up on a cold morning to a warm bowl of porridge is a delicious and nutritious way to start off your day. Porridge is a starch food, full of fibre that will give you plenty of energy at the beginning of the day and help you feel fuller for longer, this will avoid the tempting mid-morning snack. For the healthiest option use low fat milk or water. Try adding some dried apricots, raisins or sliced banana to it for optimum flavour and nutrition! This will also help you to reach your 5 a day target!
In the winter months we are more inclined to be lazy than any other time of the year. Don’t use the cold weather as an excuse to abandon exercise. There are plenty of winter friendly exercises that you can endure, why not go ice walking or take a bracing walk along your local beach? By partaking in regular exercise you will not only give your immune system a boost, you will control your weight and it is a great way for the whole family to spend time together rather than being cooped up inside the house all of the time.