Looking after your health in winter
By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
There are many great things about winter: a warm bed, steaming hot cups of tea, cosy woollen jumpers, long boots and skiing. A lot of people are less careful with their diet during winter, and they exercise less or stop altogether. This can cause a bit of weight gain, low energy and low mood.
Most of us tend to associate winter with eating larger meals and stodgy food for warmth and comfort. It is possible to eat warm and filling meals while maintaining your health and your waist. It just requires a little planning and effort. In spring you’ll be glad you made the effort, and let’s face it, ten weeks from now the weather will start warming up.
Here are 6 tips to help keep you healthy over winter
1. You don’t have to exercise each day
But try to get some movement most days. The days are shorter and it’s often cold and dark outside, but it’s still possible to keep active. Even just a 15 minute walk would be great. If you don’t have the time to exercise in the mornings or evenings, how about going for a walk during your lunch break? Getting some natural sunlight will also help to lift your mood. Low vitamin D triggers winter depression for many people. You could also exercise in the warmth and comfort of your living room with a pilates or yoga DVD.
2. Spare a thought for your hard working liver
The sugar, alcohol, artificial additives and excess calories you may consume have to go somewhere, and it’s your poor liver that ends up with the task of breaking down and trying to excrete these toxins. If your liver is overworked you may feel tired, bloated, unmotivated and sluggish. Feeling like that usually encourages people to keep eating unhealthy food and grab sugary snacks. Making the effort to prepare nutritious food can just seem too overwhelming if you feel exhausted. Livatone Plus will help to support healthy liver function, assist with detoxification and can help relieve symptoms of digestive discomfort.
3. Be careful with your drinks
Most people drink fewer soft drinks or energy drinks during winter and that’s wonderful for your weight and overall health. Just be careful of sugar-rich hot chocolate, or mugs of tea or coffee with sugar in them. Try Nature Sweet as a natural sweetener instead.
4. Don’t wear too many loose and baggy clothes
It’s easy to get into this habit during winter when you just want to be warm and comfortable. The danger is when spring arrives you may be shocked to discover your jeans no longer fit. It will be easier to notice weight gain and nip it in the bud if you aren’t wearing baggy clothing all the time.
5. Fill up on protein and good fats
Movie nights spent at home on the sofa can lead to the consumption of too much food that’s high in sugar, carbs and unhealthy fats. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are lots of healthy snacks that can be just as delicious and won’t leave you with regrets the next day. Examples include olives, good quality smoked ham off the bone, devilled eggs, fresh vegetable sticks with healthy dips like hummus, baba ganoush or guacamole; roasted chicken wings or prawns.
6. Support your immune system by eating lots of vegetables
Squeezing fresh lemon or lime juice onto salads will give you vitamin C. Vitamin A is found in egg yolks, liver and oily fish. It helps to keep your mucous membranes healthy – your lungs, sinuses and gut lining. Zinc helps to strengthen your immune system against infections. It is found in many plant and animal foods but is easier to absorb from animal foods such as seafood and red meat.