Cold temperatures, harsh winds and snow can sap our motivation to stay healthy this winter.
After all, curling up on the couch, drinking endless cups of hot chocolate and watching movies is much more fun.
However, the general reluctance to exercise our bodies and lack of attention to general wellbeing often results in decreased immunity to disease, weakened muscles and rough, scaly and dry skin.
The cold winter weather often creates a number of risks in terms of poor health and greater vulnerability to disease.
The lower immunity levels, for example, can leave you more susceptible to the cold and flu season.
By taking adequate precautions and proactive steps, you can keep yourself and your loved ones fit, healthy and happy this winter.
The secret to beating winter health risks lies in strengthening your internal immunity, keeping fit with physical exercise and nourishing your body with the right supplements.
10 Effective Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter
#1. Boost Your Energy Levels
It’s very common to feel more tired and fatigued during winter due to reduced sunlight levels.
Sunlight provides our bodies with crucial vitamin D which is essential for increasing immunity, strengthening bones and battling neuromuscular disease.
Instead of loading up on fatty and sugary comfort foods like biscuits, chocolates and fried snacks, opt for the following energy-boosting foods:
Eat bright coloured foods like beetroots and peppers known for their high levels of anti-oxidants. These antioxidants, in turn, help to relax blood vessels, increase blood flow and boost energy levels
Eat one banana every day for an instant energy boost. Bananas are energy powerhouses that provide you with potassium, carbohydrates and vitamin B6. They’re also high in fibre which keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Fish like salmon, mackerel and cod contain high levels of vitamin D, along with minerals like zinc, iron and magnesium.
Dark chocolate contains theobromine that is known to increase serotonin levels (lack of serotonin causes depression), mental alertness and energy levels.
Kiwi Natural Health Royal Jelly contains a range of vital nutrients that increase energy levels while alleviating sleeplessness at the same time.
#2. Wash and Sanitize Your Hands Frequently
No-one likes holding their hands under water during cold winters. Use soap and water and make sure you wash your hands for at least 50 seconds to get rid of germs.
Better still, consider using an alcohol-based antibacterial handwash.
Use a paper towel to close the tap and keep your hands away from your nose and mouth so you don’t transfer germs to your hands. Wipe down surfaces with antiseptic.
#3. Drink Nourishing Tea
While you can drink tea all year around, it provides a wealth of benefits during winter. Some teas help you get going without leaving you feeling wired like caffeine.
Since tea is made with a lot of water, we are also able to get an adequate intake of fluids – something most of us neglect during winter.
PRO TIP: Manuka Honey & Lemon make the perfect immune boosting tea!
In addition to providing warmth and comfort, tea offers the following health benefits during winter:
- Green tea, for instance, has thermogenic properties which means it helps burn calories after or even during digestion. Moreover, green tea contains zero calories and also acts as a diuretic that helps prevent fluid retention.
- It contains an amino acid L- Theanine that is known to increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine that help fight moodiness and depression.
- Tea also helps reduce winter joint pains due to its anti-inflammatory properties and acts as a vasodilator (boosts heart health).
#4. Strengthen Your Immune System
Since we tend to stay indoors during winter, you’re more likely to catch colds and flu from viruses that spread easily in a confined space.
The good news is that you are less likely to fall sick by boosting your internal resistance to germs. Eating the following foods can help reinforce your immunity:
- Ginger contains an anti-inflammatory substance known as gingerol that helps stave relive cold and sore throat symptoms. Ginger is also a blood-thinner and anti-bacterial in nature. Add ginger to tea, soups, mocktails and cocktails for a better taste and a quick immunity boost.
- Citrus fruits like oranges, limes and kiwi fruit contain high amounts of vitamin C that helps fight colds and flu.
For an added boost of immunity-boosting vitamin C, you can also opt for KNH Orange Chewable Vitamin C tablets.
- Dark, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and mustard greens are not low in fat but also contain high levels of nutrients like beta carotene (that promotes eye health, immunity as well as healthy skin and hair), vitamin C, chorophyll and antioxidants.
- Mushrooms are low-calorie, nutritious foods which are rich in selenium (lowers inflammation), niacin (boosts heart and brain health and lowers cholesterol) and riboflavin (boosts energy and immunity system)
Ease sore throat pain and boost liver health with Manuka South Propolis Extract which contains bioflavonoids that help fight free-radicals and acts as a natural antibiotic.
#5. Stay Active
Although it’s very tempting to bundle up and stay put on the couch, it’s extremely important to exercise your body.
Running, jogging or walking in the outdoors not only feels refreshing and gets your adrenaline flowing, it can also give you a dose of vital vitamin D from the sunshine.
What’s more, exercise helps warm your body naturally and this is a much better option than lying in front of a heater or sunlamp.
As you workout at the gym or exercise in the outdoors, the increased blood flow helps circulate immune cells throughout the body.
You can also go skiing, snow-sledding, ice-skating or play indoor sports.
The Heart Foundation recommends setting aside about half an hour for physical activity to rejuvenate your mind, spirit and body.
#6. Avoid Weight Gain
During winters, we tend to snack, eat and drink more often than usual as the body needs food to keep warm. To stay healthy this winter, you can:
- Eat a high protein breakfast to feel satiated for longer
- Eat multiple, well-spaced out, smaller snacks instead of one or two big meals
- Eat two fruits and five vegetables everyday
#7. Stay Well-Hydrated
Unlike summer, we consume much lower amounts of fluids during winter.
Adequate hydration helps lubricate joints, energize cells, boost blood volume, keeps skin supple and prevents dry mouth.
Try at least 8 to 10 glasses of water a day.
#8. Keep Joint Pain at Bay
The body sends more blood to important organs like the heart and lungs and less to muscles to keep the body warm.
Here’s what you can do to combat winter joint pain:
- Bundle up and dress warmly and use a lot of layers
- Bathe the affected area in warm water
- Use heat or ice therapy on the affected area
- Add Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet
#9. Prevent Dry, Chapped and Itchy Skin
Skin typically feels chapped, dry and itchy during cold winters as cold winds can sap moisture from the skin.
Mānuka honey is not only an excellent humectant (preserves moisture in the skin), it also has high viscosity that helps form a protective layer over cuts and skin scrapes. It’s also known for its effective antibacterial properties.
Honey also slows down the appearance of wrinkles and helps in maintaining pH balance of the skin.
3 Easy, Homemade Honey Facemasks for Winter
- Mix 1 tablespoon honey with olive oil and a little yoghurt. Leave it on for 20 minutes and wash with lukewarm water
- Mix raw honey with coconut oil and essential citrus oil and use this as a body mask to keep your skin well moisturised
- In a bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon raw honey, 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and use as a facial toner
#10. Detox Your System
Eating the right foods can help detoxify your body and clean your gut. Your body’s natural filters; the liver and kidneys, need a bit more help in winter. Try these foods:
- Cauliflower contains indole-3-carbinol that cleans the liver
- Turmeric cleans the gut, heals joints boosts metabolism
- Use coconut oil for cooking. It contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that can form ketone bodies which in turn keeps your brain alert and sharp
You can also consider using New Zealand Health Food Spirulina to naturally detoxify your body, reduce hunger levels and boost protein and iron levels (especially for vegetarians).
Staying healthy this winter may prove to be a challenge. Shorter days and longer nights also contribute to a general feeling of sluggishness.
Beat the winter blues by taking proactive steps to stay fit and active.
Choose to eat nutritious food, exercise regularly, look after your skin and pep up your energy levels with trusted supplements.