My top 10 health and energy tips for winter!

It is that time of year when winter is well on it’s way, the sun sets earlier, a chill fills the air, and we are very tempted to spend less time outside being active and more time inside eating starchy and sugary foods. I have had a few requests from clients over the last week for my top tips to help you all keep fit and healthy over the winter season. So here they are ladies…

My top 10 tips to keep your energy up, your immune system strong and your body healthy all winter long!

 

(1.) Sleep well and get some z’s!

Good quality sleep is vital for good health. Poor sleep can impact on everyday life affecting concentration, mood, stress levels and weight gain, so aim to get into bed early and enjoy around 8 hours of deep sleep. Make sure to sleep in a dark room to ensure your body properly secretes the hormone melatonin, which is believed to help repair the immune system.

 

(2.) Eat more fruit and vegetables

When it’s cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to reach for the starchy and sugary carbs…so ensure you still have a healthy diet and include (at least!!) five portions of fruit and veg a day. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, try a juicy Clementine or Satsuma instead, or a handful of nuts with sweet dried fruits such as dates or raisins. Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family. Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat.

 

(3.) Move it!

Family bike rideDon’t use the cold winter months as an excuse to stay in and lounge around. Instead, get out with the whole family to try out a new activity! Regular exercise helps control your weight, boosts your immune system, and is a good way to break the tension that can build if the family is constantly cooped up inside the house. A brisk family walk or bike ride burns calories, increases energy and I know always improves the mood of everyone in our household 🙂 

 

(4.) Avoid added sugars

Ok so I know this is something I am always going on about!! In addition to causing weight gain, refined flours and sugars can suppress immune-system function. In other words, if there is a flu or cold circulating and you go a little crazy on the white sugar (cookies, cakes, sweets, etc), you are creating the perfect environment for illness to strike. Turn to naturally occurring sugars found in fruit for some sweetness. If you crave chocolate, go for my favourite 70% cocoa dark chocolate! I always grab one or two squares when I need a sweet treat.

 

(5.) Go for Garlic

The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic help increase the potency of the cells in your immune system, which in turn help us to battle colds. I love eating raw garlic crushed on my food for a fantastic immune-system boost.

 

(6.) Eat zinc-rich foods

Zinc helps prevent a weakened immune system. Get adequate amounts by eating liver, lean beef, pork, turkey, lamb, lentils, pumpkin and sesame seeds, chickpeas and live natural yoghurt.

 

(7.) Spice things up!

Spice up your meal times by using a variety of herbs and spices. Including fresh herbs will enhance flavour, texture and boost the nutrient value of any meal. I personally love Tumeric and Cinnamon, as well as tasting good, they are both potent anti-oxidants and are both anti-viral as well making them a great addition to any winter meal. 

 

(8.) Drink healthy fluids

Too many sugary and caffeinated beverages can suppress immune-system function, not to mention cause weight gain and dehydration. Drinking 1.5-2 litres a day of water or herbal tea can keep your digestive system healthy, your weight down and your energy up. Green and white teas are also wonderful antioxidant-rich options to keep you healthy throughout the season.

 

(9.) Start your day with lemon and ginger tea!

It will help you rehydrate and improve your circulation. Grate ½ inch into a mug of hot water and a squeeze of lemon to make a fresh tea. This is my favourite way to warm you up and get my system going on a cold winters day!

 

(10.) Don’t forget to watch your stress levels over winter.

When we don’t get enough sun exposure, mood and energy tend to fluctuate which can all affect your immune system too. Take time out to stop, relax, breathe and spend time with your family and friends. You could also try meditating to help keep yourself healthy and happy, I personally love the headspace app and I have various meditations on hand on my iphone which I use a few times a week.

 

Don’t worry if you didn’t exercise throughout your pregnancy and have a fit pregnancy, you can still lose the baby weight, strengthen your core and pelvic floor and get your body back with the correct nutrition and post-natal exercise. For more information about the True Vitality 4 Mums 12 Week Transformation Programme please email laura@truevitality4mums.com xx