Tis’ the season where healthy choices may tend to fall to the wayside and indulgence is likely to take the wheel. From traveling and busy schedules to festivities galore and cooler temperatures, these all can bring on a different set of obstacles to your health goals.
We’re here to help with some strategies to keep you and yours healthy through the winter months.
Cooler temperatures ramp up the desire to turn on the oven and whip up comforting foods. Holiday festivities and a celebratory spirit only further the temptation for sugary drinks and foods. A few ideas to navigate these situations are to use portion control when indulging in your favorite holiday sweets, pack a few snacks with you, and even make some healthy recipe swaps for surprising new ways to re-create your favorite dishes.
Additionally, eating food that is in season will give your body exactly what it needs. Root vegetables (think carrots, Brussels sprouts, and parsnips), leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, collard greens), and citrus fruits (grapefruit, lemon, blood oranges) are all at their prime offering many health benefits. Root vegetables are high in potassium, citrus fruits contain fiber and vitamin C, and leafy greens contain antioxidants and vitamins A, B, C, and K, just to name a few. Use these seasonal fruits and vegetables to throw into warming soups and winter beverages to create a comforting and nutritious winter tradition.
Less sunshine each day can decrease motivation, but we encourage you to spend time outside! Not only is the fresh air and Vitamin D a great boost for your immune system, but the benefits of moving your body keep you healthy and fit.
The problem is, with buys schedules and the thought of the upcoming “reset” (the new year) many people put off exercise. Online fitness classes are a great option if you feel more comfortable at home. Go for a walk with your family or check out one of Arizona’s many beautiful hiking trails. We recommend you work it into your lifestyle rather than feeling like it has to be a full hour or designated time. For example, park further away when going to the store, take a lap around the block before returning from your lunch break–don’t underestimate the power of a short bout of movement. Movement is essential for keeping your immune system fired up.
Dry Weather Problems
Indoor heating and cooler temperatures outside increase the already dry climate here in Arizona. By using a humidifier in your home, you can decrease the impacts of arid conditions. It is recommended to turn your humidifier on intermittently throughout the day and leave it on continuously at night while sleeping. This can be especially helpful if you are battling any sinus troubles or a winter cold.
As tempting as it may be to take a hot shower, aim for a less-hot shower to avoid drying out your skin. Remember to moisturize your skin, even if you have a more oily skin type. If you find you have cracked skin on your hands or other areas, be sure to use a healing balm and keep the affected area covered to prevent itching and infection.
Sunscreen and exfoliation may seem like summertime staples, but they are just as essential in the winter season. Since the temperatures are no longer in the 100’s, it can be less obvious to wear sunscreen. Regardless of whether you plan to spend excessive time outdoors, we recommended you wear an SPF of at least 30 daily and an SPF of 60 or higher when planning to be in the sun.
Exfoliation is also key in the winter if you want your moisturizer to work. By ridding of dead skin cells you will reveal replenished, healthy skin. Without exfoliation, these dead skin cells will build up and reduce the absorption of the products you are using. Aim for twice a week for maximum benefits.
Winter allergies are definitely real. We may become less likely to open up the windows, causing indoor allergens to heighten their impact. If you’re experiencing watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose, it might not be a cold–it could be winter allergies.
Indoor causes of allergies include things like dust mites, pet dander, mold, cockroach droppings, wood-burning fireplaces, and unfortunately, even the Christmas tree for some individuals. Some habits to implement to reduce the impact include cleaning your carpets, keeping pets groomed, and changing your HVAC filters regularly.
Outdoor allergies take the form of winter pollens from blooming plants and trees. To help alleviate this, keep blooming plants out of the home, use artificial greenery for your holiday decor, and try to have a regular vacuum and cleaning schedule.
Managing Cold and Flu Season
This time of year tends to hold more family gatherings and visits to shopping malls. To decrease your chances of catching viruses that can hinder you from enjoying the season, keep in mind the power of washing your hands and getting your flu shot.
Prevent the Spread
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends yearly flu vaccination for everyone six months of age and older. This vaccine is updated each year to provide the most up-to-date strains of the influenza virus. Getting vaccinated will help you to prevent the spread of the cold, flu, and COVID-19 virus.
Other tips include:
- Washing your hands frequently.
- Avoid contact with those who are sick.
- Refrain from touching your nose, eyes, and mouth.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get your rest.
Since the sun is making a more limited appearance these days, ensure your Vitamin D intake is sufficient. Vitamin D plays a critical role in helping our bodies absorb calcium and boosts immune and brain function. Some of the best sources of Vitamin D can be found in salmon, tuna, and fortified milk. However, it is difficult to achieve sufficient levels of Vitamin D just from eating it. This is where supplementation comes in. Adding a Vitamin D supplement to your routine can aid you this winter season in staying healthy and feeling great. Since this is a fat-soluble vitamin, we recommend you consume it with healthy fat, like avocado, for maximum absorption.
Mercy Grace is dedicated to creating a lifelong relationship with you and your family. Preventative care is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Let us help you stay healthy this season and all year long.