Winter's short days can make us feel lethargic and a little depressed; the long hours spent indoors hibernating on the couch can have a major impact on our overall wellbeing. To avoid the effects of old man winter, fight your hibernating instincts by embracing the season, while taking the necessary precautions to be healthy. To help you get there, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has these five tips for natural winter wellness.
Opt for healthy comfort food
In winter, we crave simple carbs because they are rich in tryptophan, creating our feel-good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine to temporarily increase. These foods, which are typically refined and have little nutritional value, cause a quick increase in our blood sugar followed by a quick decrease causing us to crave more. To avoid this vicious cycle while satisfying your cravings, opt for more complex carbs including oatmeal, legumes, soups and stews.
Dose up on vitamins and minerals
Iron, zinc and vitamin C are key to a healthy immune system that will ward off the cold and flu viruses. Foods rich in these nutrients include dark, leafy greens; red and yellow fruits and vegetables; lean red meats and pumpkin seeds. Taking a daily multivitamin is a great insurance policy to ensure you are getting your required daily intake of essential minerals and vitamins.
Go for garlic
The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic help increase the potency of two important cells of the immune system, T-lymphocytes and macrophages. These are essential to help battle the flu and colds. Opt for odourless capsules if you want to avoid the strong taste of garlic.
Use coconut oil
Winter-proof your skin with coconut oil by using it as a moisturizer. Simply rub a small amount of coconut oil wherever you have dry, flaky or itchy skin. It also works great as a natural lip balm, hair conditioner or make-up remover. Your skin will absorb the oil quickly, plus it smells wonderful!
Shake it up and sleep it off
When it comes to exercise, don't let winter be an excuse. Develop a well-rounded fitness routine that includes cardio and strength training. Also, give yourself plenty of rest time. Restful slumber helps fight depression and eliminates extra amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. Adequate amounts of exercise and sleep should be non-negotiable in maintaining a healthy lifestyle this winter.
To learn more about how you can be naturally healthy this winter and to discover other natural health tips, visit chfa.ca.