Winning Winter: How to keep your health in check in cold weather
Caring for your health and wellness when the days grow short and the temperature drops.
ohns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) shares expert advice on how to stay healthy during the winter; follow these recommendations to keep your health and well-being in check!
Healthy eating is key to a healthy life. Ensure that you continue to boost your immunity during winter by: consuming a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables to enrich your body with the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that nourish your immune system, keeping hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of fluid, primarily water.
This helps your body function properly, including your immune system. And finally, consume well-balanced, healthy meals that provide your body with nutrients that boost your immune system. These include protein, vitamins (vitamins A, B6, C, and E), minerals (iron, zinc, selenium, and folic acid), antioxidants and fiber.
Regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy. People who are active live longer and feel better. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers, and heart problems.
Most adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Examples include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation or bicycling. Stretching and weight training can also strengthen your body and improve your fitness level.
The key is to find the right exercise for you. If it is fun, you are more likely to stay motivated. You may want to walk with a friend, join a class or plan a group bike ride. If you’ve been inactive for a while, use a sensible approach and start out slowly.
Take care of your skin
During the winter, the cold weather can dry your skin. Make sure you properly moisturize your skin and lips, wear sun screen, and drink fluids.
Did you know that staying hydrated can help boost your immunity? Hydration is always important, but during the winter perhaps the last thing on your mind is an ice-cold glass of water. Drink room temperature or hot water with some lemon, or herbal tea. You can also get your water from fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes. Add soups and broths to your diet.
Get better sleep
Sleep restores the body’s energy levels. Sleep also lets the body rest and is necessary for health and quality of life as a good night’s sleep can help repair damaged heart and blood vessels. If you do not get enough, you are at an increased risk for heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and strokes. Adults should strive to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
To help you get better sleep, take time to relax before going to bed. Drink a soothing herbal tea or hot milk, try aromatherapy, meditate, or pray. Do something that helps you wind down. Try to keep regular sleep hours, and cut down on caffeine, especially in the evening, as it can make it difficult to go to sleep.
Get your Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium is one of the main building blocks of bone. A lack of vitamin D can lead to bone diseases such as osteoporosis or rickets. Vitamin D also has a role in your nerve, muscle, and immune systems.
You can get vitamin D in three ways: through your skin, from your diet, and from supplements. Your body forms vitamin D naturally after exposure to sunlight, and with nice weather upon us, try to spend some time outdoors. You can also get vitamin D from food sources such as: egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. Some other foods, like milk and cereal, often have added vitamin D. You can also take vitamin D supplements. Check with your health care provider to see how much you should take.
Build healthy habits
If you smoke, work on quitting! When a patient quits smoking the body tends to recover and repair some of the damages caused by smoking. For example, within three months of quitting, lung function improves by about 30%. In about one year, the risk of heart problems is half of what it would have been if the patient had continued to smoke.
Top tips on diabetic foot prevention
People with diabetes should take extra precautions to avoid injuries to their feet. Learn how to prevent diabetic foot complications by following these tips from JHAH:
• Maintain normal blood sugar levels
• Examine your feet on a daily basis and keep them clean and dry
• Schedule an appointment if you notice any skin changes
• Use a hand mirror to check on the bottom of your feet
• Don’t walk barefoot
• Apply lotion to your feet on a daily basis
• Book an annual foot examination in the primary clinic
• Trim your toenails and file sharp edges carefully.