Keeping Well Throughout the Winter

Wishing all Readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2020

The season of Winter can present some challenges with cold weather affecting each person individually in a variety of ways. On a positive note, who hasn’t felt the benefit from wrapping up warmly to get outside on a bright sunny frosty morning and take a brisk walk. This bracing activity will help keep us mobile and will certainly get the blood circulating, not a bad thing for any of us. Accompanied by the change in our diet from the light salads of summer to the more hearty casseroles of winter. Supplying us with all the nutritional requirements we need to build a strong immune system and maintain good health. Winter crop vegetables provide us with plentiful sources of vitamins and minerals. 

From a slightly less positive viewpoint, wintertime is when the very young, and the elderly are most vulnerable. Exposure to bacterial infections and rising numbers of viral infections of all types are being reported by health professionals. This is nothing new, however we do seem in general to becoming less resilient both physically and mentally. The effect of shorter days, in other words limited exposure to sunshine, on adults and some teenagers can affect levels of Vitamin D. Lack of sunshine can affect mood often diagnosed as “Winter Depression” or SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Symptoms may include a loss of interest in everyday things. Lethargy. Craving sugar. Needing more sleep. The most common being a persistent low mood. Lack of Vitamin D can affect the absorption and metabolism of many minerals, in particular Vitamin A. It might be wise to try and increase consumption of oily fish (good source of vit D)  throughout the winter such as mackerel or sardines( canned are fine ) If you think you might be Vitamin D deficient visit your GP.

It is vital that we take some responsibility for our wellbeing and try to keep ourselves and others we might be responsible for as fit and healthy as we can. This can be achieved through maintaining good hydration levels and sensible eating. To boost the immune system, home-made Soups are easy to prepare, cook and store and a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals.

Boosting the immune system with a variety of foods is always preferable, however some individuals may need a little help and supplementing the diet might be advisable. Advertisers are paid by manufacturers to inform us of the potential benefits of taking certain products (protein shakes, live bio-type drinks etc). These are not always needed and in some create digestive imbalances leading to malabsorption and deficiency of vitamin and minerals and unpleasant symptoms. A general multi-vitamin and mineral one-a-day tablet can be purchased over the counter at most health food stores and pharmacies. If you are taking prescribed medications please check with your pharmacist before taking any supplements as there may be some contra-indication and they are the best professionals to ask.

We can also boost our immune system by being kind to ourselves, taking time to relax, meditate with mindfulness techniques. Be positive and feel content. What a perfect excuse Christmas gives us to surround ourselves with family and friends, and if you know someone that is alone invite them to join you, It’s surprising how much room there is in a big heart.

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