5 tips to stay Healthy and Well in Winter
5 Tips to Stay Healthy and Well in Winter
As the colder months approach and the temperature drops, sending chills across the country, as anticipated on an annual basis, a selection of illnesses can come with it. Although we might not be buried under layers of snow, countless households will be looking for effective strategies that will keep the entire household warm and well throughout the winter months.
In this article, our team at zazen Water share five essential tips to help you stay healthy in winter.
How to Avoid Getting Sick in Winter?
Staying well in winter is often easier said than done, especially when you're trying to balance seemingly endless work, family, and social commitments. Fortunately, incorporating these five simple strategies below into your routine can reduce your risk of getting sick and maintain your overall wellbeing.
1. Maintaining a Healthy, Nutritious Diet
As the old saying goes, we are what we eat, and so one of the best ways to stay well in winter is to maintain a nutritious diet.
Healthy eating routines involving a balanced variety of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats will ensure your body receives the necessary vitamins and minerals to thrive throughout the winter months, to maintain good energy levels and to support strong immune function. Incorporating foods rich in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, kiwi, and capsicum, can prove especially effective in protecting you against colds and flu, while zinc-rich foods like oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds can aid in maintaining a healthy hormone and immune response. Just providing a nutritious diet is not the complete picture, here are some tips from our qualified holistic nutritionist which explore how nutrient dense foods are the tip of the iceberg in our journey for fabulous health:
- Eat slowly and chew your food – How many times have we heard this message? Yet perhaps we do not understand the necessity behind this rather old fashioned adage. The more you chew your food, the more saliva you produce and the chemicals within your saliva help break down the food and aid in digestion. These same chemicals are protective of our gums and teeth against disease. The slower you eat, the more chewing will occur, so slow down, it is important to allow the body to digest your food fully and to soak your tissues in saliva maintaining their integrity and protecting your gums against disease.
- Eat less – in general, we overeat. Over the course of a day, most of us will consume more calories than is required for our daily needs. This excess can become the cushion you are sitting on so be aware when you eat food so quickly, you can easily overeat before you realise. Put less on your plate, it is easy to go back for more. Stop eating earlier in the evening, our metabolism is slower and will not comprehensively digest meals taken late at night, aim to be finished by 7pm most nights.
- Overnight fasting – recent research shows how overnight fasting can increase positive immune markers in the blood, reduce inflammation and increase metabolism. This is done most comfortably by having a window of 12hrs without food ie. 6.30pm-6.30am .
- Reduce inflammatory foods – many so called foods will increase inflammation in the body and reduce our immune system’s capacity to function optimally. These foods include convenience highly processed foods like take away foods (think Maccas and KFC), deep fried foods, soft drinks, margarines, chips and snack foods. Restrict these selections to occasional or once a week “treats”.
2. Get Enough Sleep
As our bodies take on the stresses of the day, getting an adequate level of deep, quality sleep is critical for allowing the body to regenerate. Adults should aim for a minimum of 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night for proper rejuvenation.
Good sleep habits can support your immune system, improve your mood, and help your body recover from daily stressors. Without them, you could not only increase your risk of cold and flu, but also a slew of other health-related complications with kidney disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
- Go to bed earlier – winter is the ideal time to reset our habits. When we lose the light in the sky your body releases more melatonin, this is our sleep hormone and is naturally released as it gets dark.
- Limit screen time in the evening – melatonin, our sleep hormone is destroyed by exposure to blue light from screens, turn off the screens earlier in the evening and dim the lighting to support melatonin levels.
- Avoid stimulants before sleep – caffeine will stimulate your brain for 8 hrs after consumption so watch out for that late afternoon beverage and choose caffeine free. Sugar will increase stimulatory hormones in the blood keeping us active and wired late into the evening, avoid sugary desserts and snacks after dinner.
3.Maintain Exercise Levels & Outdoor Activities
Winter is a time to snuggle down on the couch, eat more comforting snacks and stay indoors particularly if the weather is cold and inclement. Research shows physical activity is an integral part of staying well all year round, even in winter. Regular exercise maintains your metabolism, supports your immune system, and reduces stress.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Outdoor activities, such as walking, jogging, or even participating in winter sports, offer additional benefits by exposing you to some much-needed vitamin D through natural sunlight, which can improve your mood and help regulate your circadian rhythm.
4. Stay Hydrated with Fresh, Clean Drinking Water
As our bodies are over 75% water, we need constant replenishment to ensure the optimal function of our internal systems, including digestion, temperature regulation and immune response.
But this doesn’t mean settling for the water out of the tap. Chemical treatments placed into water, like chlorine and fluoride, that are supposed to neutralise contaminants can actually prove harmful to your health, and even prove insufficient in removing other pollutants.
Instead, opt for a system that strips away the negative elements without sacrificing the essential electrolytes and minerals the body needs to function.
For example, the zazen Alkaline Water System employs a multi-component filtration process that mimics nature's water cycle, turning ordinary drinking water into hydrating, alkaline mineral water for optimal cellular hydration, including:
- Pre-filtering substances like sediment, rust, microplastics and bacteria down to 0.2 microns
- Utilising a silver-activated carbon layer to reduce chlorine, pesticides, and trace chemicals, while preventing bacterial growth
- Decreasing fluoride levels in treated water supplies by up to 90%.
- Trapping heavy metals and contaminants such as detergents and industrial chemicals further inhibits bacterial growth.
From here, the system will work towards ensuring your water is also rich in the electrolyte minerals needed to stay healthy in winter:
- Bio-ceramic Pi layer: Compressed diatomaceous earth and mineral oxides emit Pi energy to enhance bioavailability.
- Far Infrared (FIR) layer: Energises water, balances pH levels, and reduces acidity.
- Silica sand layer: Infuses natural silica for healthier hair and nails, and polishes water for clarity.
- Silver stones: Antibacterial properties keep the tank clean and maintain top-quality water daily.
Don't forget that warm beverages, such as herbal teas, can also contribute to your daily water intake and help keep you warm on cold winter days!
5. Don’t forget the sunshine vitamin.
In Australia we are used to the messages to protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Sadly, this has had the unintended effect of reducing our Vitamin D levels as a nation. Alarming new evidence from Curtin University has shown that up to 95 per cent of Australians have a low intake of vitamin D, which has serious implications for both our physical and psychological health especially as we move into winter.
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin because it is converted into the hormone internally from sun exposure on the skin. Vitamin D is an integral component of our immune system and to support immune function including good hormone production we need good consistent levels of Vitamin D. If you do not like taking a supplement you can access Vitamin D in your diet through organic unsalted butter, organic pastured eggs, cod liver oil, fatty fish.
Natural Remedies for Winter Illnesses
If you do succumb to a niggling cold, cough or flu, several natural remedies can help alleviate symptoms and support your body's healing process.
Some popular options include honey and lemon tea for soothing sore throats, eucalyptus oil for clearing nasal congestion, and ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric has also been shown to reduce inflammation and help support immune response to bacterial and viral infections.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Black pepper has been shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin in the body and thus most supplements are combined with black pepper to improve their effectiveness.
What are Some Winter Activities to Stay Healthy?
As mentioned above, staying active and engaged during the colder months is essential for maintaining your physical and mental well-being. It is all too easy to stay on the couch snug and warm eating warming foods throughout winter. As tempting as this might be, healthy it most certainly is not. We suggest you maintain the same level of physical activity you enjoy throughout the year. Even if that means finding new groups indoors if the weather is prohibitive.
- Indoor activities may be more suitable in inclement weather, find a new yoga or dance class.
- Join a meditation group, mindfulness helps to improve mental health and breathing practices can help to reduce inflammation and sinus infections.
- Participate in sports fit for winter, like skiing, snowboarding, or ice skating, providing a great workout and allowing you to enjoy the season’s unique beauty.
- Join a local walking or hiking group to explore your area’s winter landscapes. Regular outdoor walks can improve cardiovascular health, boost mood, and strengthen social connections
Staying healthy and well in winter requires a proactive approach. By focusing on a nutritious diet, adequate sleep, regular exercise, hydration, and positive mood, you can significantly improve your health and wellbeing.
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