Winter Wellbeing

As we proceed into the colder months, our bodies come under new challenges from the surrounding environment. The cold causes our skins to be stripped of its moisture as a result giving us cracked dry skin. Our bodies also crave for more food to keep our bodies warm in the cold and this is the reason why many of us gain winter weight. Naturally our bodies go through great changes every winter, therefore we must make sure we do everything we can to make sure we give our bodies the best opportunity to be healthy in the winter and to avoid contracting flu when our immune systems are on a low.

The prevention of dry skin in winter is less difficult and can be achieved both from the inside and out. From skincare products applied to nutrients from our diets. The key point is the replenishment of fluids in the body as the cold dries the skin.

For the diet we can begin with the benefits of having stews, soups and curries made with fresh seasonal vegetables. They reinforce the immune systems to help fight against winter bugs with valuable vitamins and minerals as well as being warming for the body. The liquid from the stews and soups will also help to keep the body hydrated. By adding warming herbs such as ginger or cinnamon in cooking and hot drinks, this will also assist in warming the body as well as boosting blood circulation, which is especially important for those who have poor circulation. The vitamin rich foods are also important for boosting energy in countering the tiredness brought on by the cold, short daylight period. Another important thing is to take supplements containing vitamin D such as Solgar Vitamin D3 Tablets or Natures Aid Vitamin D3 drops for the little ones who are not so keen on tablets.

Moving from what we should eat to what we should not eat. During winter times, our body’s metabolism naturally slows down to conserve fat for surviving the cold. For those of us who want to lose weight, this causes a large problem. On top of the biological effects the cold has on us, it also causes us to stay indoors more and therefore reducing the amount of exercise compared to those days out in the park during the summer. With so much weighing against the body, it is extremely important for us to take care of our food intake, especially to avoid the pitfall of comfort eating during the winter blues.

Taking the metabolic changes to our body in the winter into consideration, we must avoid foods high in fat and sugar as these would be converted to body fat very quickly if it is not used up. To fulfil that sugar craving, maybe try some sugar alternatives such as Xylitol or natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup instead. Alcohol is another to avoid as it contains high number of calories as well as hindering the body’s ability to burn fat. With the effects of alcohol thrown in with the feasting and drinking during the festive period, it is not hard to imagine why so many put on more weight during this time of the year.

It is also very important to look after ourselves mentally during the winter since the lack of sunlight causes us to be more depressed. Therefore we must avoid confrontation whenever possible and to get appropriate amounts of sleep so stress levels do not build up to anything that can severely affect our health. If we keep to a good regime in having a healthy winter diet and keep exercising, by summer time the bodies will once again be ready for the beach.

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