We are well behind Diwali and Christmas is soon approaching but the gloomy skies and irritating flies seem to dampen our moods alongside the chilly wind that keeps us all indoors as much as possible. While most have already started making their plans for the December vacation there aren’t many who bestow the same kind of attention on preparations for the season that is usually filled with cold, cough, flu, respiratory illnesses and more. Sun seems to be taking some time off its regular schedule during the winter months and the long nights without the bright sunshine seems to play havoc on our circadian rhythm disturbing the sleep-wake cycles. But there are also many who welcome the chilly winter with welcoming hands heaving a sigh of relief after facing the wrath of the scorching sun and the incessant rain until then!
Whether you like it or not winter is here which brings about a fear in each of us owing to changes in health conditions with rise in pollution and fall in temperatures. We can see huge lines in front of the physician’s clinic with hoards of people sneezing, sick with the flu or down with a bad runny nose. Exercising and activity take a backseat while sleeping, relaxing and munching on bajjis, pakoras and steaming beverages take priority. Many of us are tucked inside the woollen blankets lamenting to get up every single day to work, school or college and it’s the time of the year when even the most active individuals feel somewhat reluctant to walk, jog or exercise in the chillness outside. Winter can affect your whole body including mental health, leave the skin dry, take away the glow from your face and even leave you dehydrated. Boosting your immunity and taking safety measures to safeguard your body from outside attacks is the best way to protect yourself during these months of the year. The tips given below can surely help you sail through winter without the slightest hurdle!
Stay Hydrated: Some might be a little sceptical about hydration during winter but there are heavy fluid losses in the form of urine during the winter months. Set a goal and stick by it; try to drink lukewarm or hot water as much as possible and eat hydrating foods such as strawberries and hot homemade soups. Wear appropriate clothes to prevent heavy water loss from perspiration under the bulky jackets and sweatshirts.
Increase Vitamin C, Iron & Zinc Intake: If you are really concerned about protecting your skin and immunity vitamin C is the perfect nutrient to hold on to as it is a powerful antioxidant that has the ability to protect the body against multiple health issues. Add a generous serving of guavas, kiwis, lemon, papaya, broccoli, strawberry and orange to your dietary routine. Choose plenty of legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy and whole grains to replenish zinc stores in the body while also focusing on iron stores in the form of quinoa, tofu, shellfish, spinach and pumpkin seeds. Winters usually make us gloomy due to drop in serotonin (hormone responsible for happiness) levels and we usually compensate for this by eating more of carb-rich foods which can cause harm to the body in the form of chronic diseases.
Choose a Well-balanced Diet: While eating a balanced meal during any time of the year is recommended it is especially important during cold months for improved immunity against cold and flu. Choose the colourful fruits and vegetables that are available aplenty during winter months , try to consume fermented foods such as yogurt and kombucha, use herbs and spices such as ginger, garlic, black pepper, turmeric, thyme, basil and cinnamon to boost immunity and try to eat homemade preparations as much as possible as these once again are great on the immune system (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/fitness/Build-your-immunity-for-winter/articleshow/55854850.cms). Don’t succumb to comfort eating which could pile upon calories unexpectedly. Instead, make a simple broth or rely on some hot boiled corn for snacks.
Make Friendship with the Sun: We don’t live in Antarctica where seeing the sunshine is a blessing. Go for a late-morning walk when the sun is sure to make itself conspicuous or take a short walk break post-lunch as this ensures that you get your share of vitamin D. Also, the bright sun and its warmth can prevent your gloominess and also ensure that you don’t become a victim of SAD (seasonal affective disorder). While drinking a hot cup of tea might be the ideal thing to do during winter it is always recommended that you meet your friends, go out and get some fresh air to lift your spirits.
Five Healthy & Smart Ways to Stay Hydrated in Winter: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2019/01/31/five-simple-and-smart-ways-to-stay-hydrated-in-winter/#64bdacd77c1e
Diet Tips to Stay Healthy in Winters: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/food-news/diet-tips-to-stay-healthy-in-winters/articleshow/66983974.cms
Winter is Coming: How to Cope with the Dreaded Winter Blues? https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/de-stress/winter-is-coming-how-to-cope-with-the-dreaded-winter-blues/articleshow/71923507.cms
5 Top Tips for Healthy Eating this Winter: https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/healthy-eating-winter-tips
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.