Winter is officially a few days away, and we have four months of cold, short days to get through. . .yayyy! Here is part 2 of my top 10 tips for protecting your body and staying healthy this winter. Check out Part I HERE.
6. Eat comfort foods! When you think of comfort foods, you think of foods that leave you with a nice warm feeling, like you are wrapped in a blanket. That is what your foods should do! Gone are the raw food, salad, and berry days of summer! Hearty, robust soups and stews, and foods that are thoroughly cooked are hat your body needs. That way your body doesn’t have to work so hard to digest, instead it can work on keeping you warm and in optimal health. Hands down, my favorite winter appliance is the crockpot. It helps me to save time given the shorter days. I put a variety of vegetables, proteins: beans and/or meat, onions, and garlic, in the morning and come home to a delicious smelling soup. Soups and stews are affordable, rich in nutrients, hearty, and filling, and potentially never ending. You can take the remnants of one soup and create a new soup altogether! Onions and garlic also have antioxidant properties that help guard against cold and flu, heart disease and cancer.
7. Warm up with spices. Using warming spices to season your food promote warmth throughout your body. Most of the herbs in chai are considered warming: cinnamon, ginger and tumeric, black pepper, cardamom, and horseradish help you to feel warmer and improve circulation.
8. Drink water. Many times we reserve drinking water for when we are thirsty, which leads us to drink more in the summer and considerably less in the colder temperatures. The rule of thumb for drinking water is the same year around! You should drink a minimum of half your body-weight in ounces of water daily! Ideally water will be room temperature, as that is closer to your body temperature than cold water. A great immune boosting way to drink water is to have it warm (not boiling) with lemon or lime first thing in the morning. It helps to flush out the toxins that are released in your sleep and gives you a boost of energy first thing in the morning. Another way to achieve your daily water intake is through teas green, black, herbal, or non caffeinated teas.
9. Exercise! The colder temperatures shouldn’t keep us from going outside for a walk or run, or hitting the gym. While it can be dangerous to exercise in extreme temperatures, as long as you are dressed appropriately in layers, covering fingers, head, toes, you should be ok. Remember! Even a 20 minute brisk walk is sufficient to elevate your heart rate and maintain a level of activity.
10. Go to Sleep! Humans are animals, mammals to be specific, and like most mammals we hibernate during the winter. We don’t need to hibernate for months on end, but we should take advantage of the shorter days and get a little extra rest. Try to eat dinner a little earlier so you can get in bed early. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is also imperative to having a healthy immune system.
There you have it folks! This concludes my top 10 tips for staying warm and healthy this winter! What do you do to prepare and maintain your body during the colder weather?
~The Fitness Doc