It’s World Health Week, and with the nights drawing in and temperatures dropping, it is clear that cold and flu season is on its way. Many people just accept that they will get sick during this time, but it doesn’t have to be like this. Follow these five simple rules and you can stay healthy this winter.
1. Eat Well
Look at what're you're putting into your body. This is your opportunity to take control and nourish yourself with the vitamins and minerals needed to boost your immune system and fight off bacteria. Aim to consume citrus fruits like oranges, limes, and even chillies. That’s right, chillies actually have more vitamin C in than oranges, and can be included in many delicious meals that will help clear congested sinuses and help boost your immune system. Leafy greens are another source of vital minerals and vitamins like vitamin K, and can be enjoyed through smoothies, stir fries or hot pots. Herbs and spices are an easy way to get flavor and nutrients into your diet, while enjoying healthy food that you may typically avoid. Learning to cook smart meals that also taste great is something we can all improve on, and will have huge health benefits moving into the winter season.
Research shows that exercise is needed to maintain both physical and mental health. Don't be put off by the rainy weather, get out there for a 30 minute brisk walk, cycle to work instead of taking the bus or simply give the house a real autumn clean. But if you want to get a serious workout and boost your body’s illness-fighting power, consider joining a gym. By improving your body, you improve its efficiency, and this means it can fight infections off much better.
3. Keep Smiling
Socializing is a fundamental part of your well-being and shouldn't be ignored. Becoming isolated can increase the chance of developing depression which has been linked to decreased immune function. Furthermore, meeting up with friends reduces stress; if you’re stressed your immune system is compromised as well. We all make excuses not to meet up with friends when we're tired, but having a good chat over a cuppa or visiting your local art gallery can really help reduce stress levels and combat illness.
4. Keep Clean
Scrub up well! Over the winter period it’s crucial to wash your hands regularly to avoid the spread of bacteria and viruses. Having clean hands is the first line of defence against harmful bacteria that leads to infection. You can carry hand sanitiser around with you to maintain cleanliness when you’re on the move. That way you're keeping yourself and others healthy.
Get enough good, high quality rest. Lack of sleep is proven to increase your appetite for greasy foods, make you less productive and reduce levels of white blood cells, ultimately making you more prone to illness. Furthermore, your body does most of its healing and repairing when you are asleep, so if you reduce that time, you reduce how able your body is to fight off illness.
So follow these five health tips this winter and you'll give yourself the best possible chance to avoid getting ill.