How to Keep Well this Winter
Cold weather in the winter lowers your immune system response levels, due to lack of vitamin D from the sun. Dry air during this period, as well as a weaker nose immunity, all mean that you may be more susceptible to bugs and viruses.
The main way to stay well during winter is to keep your home warm and keep yourself warm by wrapping up in extra layers when heading out. Eating at least one hot meal a day, as well as hot drinks regularly can also help to keep you warm. It is also important to stop the spread of germs by washing your hands regularly with soap and water. Of course, these are the basics, but what else should we be doing? What should we be keeping our medicine cabinet stocked up with?
Stay Healthy with these Vital Vitamins
Vitamins can help to boost your immune system to help it keep strong. Vitamin supplements are a great way to boost your immune system in the winter, as you may be exposed to less natural vitamins compared to during the summer and it may not be possible to get everything you need from your diet.
- Vitamin D
Lack of sunshine in winter, especially in the UK, can mean you don’t get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D has many health benefits such as strengthening bones, muscles and teeth, regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, and can help you fight the winter blues.
Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found naturally in oily fish, (salmon, mackerel, or sardines), egg yolks, red meat, and liver. It is recommended that all adults consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. It is necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It is involved in the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, and wound healing. Although vitamin C cannot prevent you from getting colds, it can significantly reduce the severity of them as vitamin C strengthens the immune system.
Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits (oranges, lemon, kiwi), cranberries, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and white potatoes. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning that the body does not store it in tissues for very long. Therefore, it is not easy to overdose on it.
- Vitamin B
Vitamin B helps to maintain cell health, helps enzymes do their job, and keeps you feeling energized. It has a direct impact on brain function and cell metabolism. There are different types of vitamin B and they each have different benefits. B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin) converts food you eat into energy, supports eyesight, and has neurological benefits. B6 (pyridoxine) also helps your body turn food into energy. B12 (cobalamin) helps regulate your nervous system and is especially beneficial as it can improve your mood and boost your energy. Vitamin B can be found in broccoli, brussels sprouts, leafy green vegetables, red meat, and liver.
Zinc is the second most abundant trace element in the body after Iron. Zinc is needed for a healthy immune system, growing and repairing body tissues, sense of taste, and enzymatic reactions which help to support many processes. The body is unable to produce zinc on its own, so it needs to be obtained from outside sources, such as food or supplements. Foods which are high in Zinc are oysters, crab, lobster, shellfish, red meat, legumes and more.
Ways to use Manuka Honey for Wellness
Manuka honey is a premium product that is known for its many benefits. The nectar of the Manuka flower contains unique health properties, making it nature’s most powerful honey. The plant contains methylglyoxal (MGO) compounds, which has natural antibacterial properties. These properties are transferred to the Manuka Honey.
In the winter there are a range of ways to include Manuka Honey into your diet:
- The best way to have Manuka honey directly from the jar – Just a spoonful of Manuka honey a day can help to remove excess toxins, inflammation & bacteria from your system. It can also keep a tickly throat at bay by generously coating the throat.
- Stir Manuka honey into your warm drink of your choice – but make sure the drink has cooled enough so that you are able to comfortably dip your finger in it. This ensures you are not removing the beneficial antibacterial enzymes in the honey you have paid so much for!
- In the same way, you can mix it into warm water to drink – but remember to let the water cool a bit first before adding the honey in!
Lastly, Manuka Honey is a great addition to your skincare routine as it helps to draw moisture to the skin and retain it. So, this is perfect during the dry winter months. You can apply it directly to your skin as a mask or mix it in with your favourite products!
Body function is affected by temperature, humidity, and exposure to sunshine. Therefore, your joints can feel stiffer in the winter as lower temperatures can increase the thickness of your joint fluid.
Here are some ways to look after your joints this winter:
- Getting up and walking around, or doing some form of exercise can also help to loosen stiff joints – This helps to keeps your joints and muscles healthy, and also helps you keep warm!
- Taking Vitamin D – can also help with muscle, bone and joint pain.
- Using heat and cold therapies – Heat therapy can relax muscles, help lubricate joints, and relieve joint stiffness. Cold therapy can reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain related to arthritis. Some people choose to do a mixture of heat and cold therapies.