Winter is fast approaching with the oncoming of December and Christmas. This season, with its slew of festivals, also brings along some opportunities for health problems. The most important thing to remember is to keep the immune system strong to prevent cold and cough, and to keep hydrated to prevent drying of skin.
So here are a few tips for keeping healthy and enjoying your winter:
In winter, we tend to sleep more than usual because the days are shorter and the nights longer. But, as Jessica Alexander at the Sleep Council says, we are, in the modern era, sleeping six hours and a half. That is less than the seven to none hours recommended by sleep psychologists and psychiatrists. Alexander emphasizes on the importance of not retaining our sleep debt, and says it is okay to practice hibernation during the winters. Some tips on following sleep hygiene- daily exercise, not exercising near to bed time, keep the lights off in the bedroom, maintaining the temperature and peaceful environment.
One is 80% more likely to catch a cold in winter than in any other season. Therefore it is necessary to make sure that our immune system is in good shape. And the only way to keep our immune system in great shape is to consume milk and dairy products. Milk and dairy products like cheese and yoghurt are rich in:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B 12
These nutrients help amp up the immune system.
Milk products are also rich in calcium- a mineral necessary to keep our bones strong. To maintain the healthy factor, go for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk and low-fat yoghurt, rather than full fat products.
Eating fruits and vegetables
As clichéd as it may sound, a healthy diet is one of the important things to maintain if one wants to be fit during winter. Healthy as in low-fat and low- carbohydrate food. A healthy diet must include five portions of fruits and vegetables. For people with a sweet tooth, dates and raisins can be a good fit. Winter vegetables like carrots, parsnips and turnips, can be roasted, mashed or made into a soup to be had with the whole family. It is also necessary to keep oneself hydrated during this time to keep the skin from getting chapped- drinking lots of water might help.
Keeping stress to a minimum
Studies have shown that high levels of stress make a person more susceptible to catching cold and flu. One way to bring down stress is to reduce the number of hours at work. Aim to spend at least one night per week with friends and family. Melissa Wood, who runs a website says that for people who feel they can’t control or alleviate their stress can use Bach Flower Remedies to emotionally recuperate and get back their emotional balance.
Regular exercise – simple ones like walking- help control weight, relieve stress and make the immune system stronger.
Smoking is detrimental for the immune system, and a weakened immune system can make one more susceptible to cold. So for smokers, smoking must be avoided to the extent possible. Quitting would be the best course of action.
Wash your hands regularly to keep pathogenic microbes like bacterium and viruses off your hands, mouth and eyes. Try keeping a bottle of disinfectant hand wash close by, in case you don’t have soap and water in handy.
Avoid sugary foods
Try to reduce sugary foods in your diet. Apart from cookies, cake and sweets in general, this includes rice, high fat yoghurt, white bread, white pasta, rice and fruit juices brought from stores. Sugary foods might compromise the immune system.
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