5 Winter Wellness Tips

Keeping yourself energized and healthy as the temperature drops and the days get shorter can be a challenge. Follow these 5 tips to maintain your health all winter long. 

  1. Get more Vitamin D

True, the days are shorter and our time outside in the sun may become limited. Some of us may rarely see the sun during the week. The sun is the most productive source of vitamin D. In order to produce adequate vitamin D synthesis from the sun, one would need to have at least 50% of their skin exposed to midday sun for at least 10-15 minutes. This can prove to be challenging during the cold winter months. Focusing on consuming foods that contain vitamin D daily can help to keep your reserve up. However, for many of us, the addition of a vitamin D supplement may also be required. 

What foods contain vitamin D? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it’s often held in fatty animal sources. Look for egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, beef liver, sardines, or even supplementing with cod liver oil. Mushrooms also contain a good amount of vitamin D, as they absorb and store this from sunlight. 

  1. Focus on Hydration

When the weather becomes crisp, we often drink less water. It’s easier to remember to stay hydrated when the sun is beating down on you and we’re breaking a sweat. With the cooler temperatures also means the heat comes on and air temperatures dry out. You may even notice your hands and skin become drier this time of year. Focusing on drinking enough water can help combat that. 

Water is always the best liquid for proper hydration. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day. If the thought of drinking cold water on a cold day sounds difficult, try drinking room temperature water, warm herbal tea, or even having a mug of warm broth. 

Why is hydration so important? Keeping the skin moist and hydrated helps protect it from damage. Our skin is our first line of defense against infection. When mucosal surfaces become dry pathogens can cross through our skin’s barrier and illness is more likely.  Hydration is also important for regulating body temperature.  

  1. Root Veggies

It’s not impossible to have fresh local veggies all winter long. One way to continue to eat vegetables is by enjoying more root veggies. These fall crops are “storage crops” meaning they can last when properly stored all winter long.

 Have you ever seen an old house with a root cellar? Root veggies like it cool, and dark. Think potatoes, beets, turnips, carrots, radishes, onions, and winter squash. These also make great roasting veggies. The perfect excuse to turn on your oven and whip up a hearty and healthy sheet pan dinner or simmer a warm, comforting soup on the stovetop. 

  1. A Rainbow of Antioxidants

It’s important to eat the rainbow. Eating a variety of colors ensures a variety of vitamins. Aiming for bright oranges, reds, yellows, and greens is filling your belly with vitamin C and immune fighting antioxidants. Vitamin C is one of the many vitamins that can help shorten a cold and keep you feeling energized during the winter months. Vitamin E, Beta-carotene, and selenium are other antioxidants you can easily get by consuming a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.

If you’re looking for ways to include nutrient-dense vegetables out of the growing season, try frozen vegetables. Look for vegetables without added salt or sauces. Frozen vegetables are typically harvested at peak ripeness, then briefly balanced, which minimizes nutrient loss. It’s the best way to get nutrient rich vegetables all season long. 

  1. Exercise Outside

We’re certainly no strangers to exercise. But often our activity levels decrease with the shortening days. We may avoid outside activities because of chillier temperatures.

 Trying to get outside, even for a short walk, during the winter months can provide positive effects. Fresh air and sunshine along with movement can improve mood, increase circulation, and fight off infections.

Be sure to get exercise in all ways. Keep coming to the gym, but also find new ways to enjoy the outdoors. Build a snow fort, pick up skiing, dust off the ice skates, or simply go for a wintery walk with a friend. 

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