Winterize Your Body
Winter with all the rain (especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest) and cold temperatures can make you want to take up the practice of hibernation! It is tempting to hunker down with rich foods and warm drinks and lay low till the happy days of sunshine return. Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to winterize your body to combat the cold and flu virus and give your immune system a fighting chance. It is an especially immune suppressing time during the holidays, because the food choices usually are on the nutrient-deficient side and of course your exercise routine is thrown to the curb in favor of shopping, eating, partying and well complete indulgence of the flesh! Then when all the fun is over with, the reality of winter sets in and alas there is no motivation for all those New Year’s resolutions, especially when you start to get the sniffles and the stomach flu!
Consider this your winter wellness prescription:
1. Exercise – If the thought of excessive movement makes you want to have the flu, then consider forming a mental picture of you poolside in a swimsuit come summer time, motivating enough? Exercise doesn’t have to be in a gym; it could be an exercise video at home or how about learning a new sport or skill and kill a couple New Year’s resolutions? If all else fails, do laps at the mall or get a treadmill and plant it in front of the TV! Just move it, because exercise increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells and keeps toxins flushed out of your system. Otherwise consider yourself a stagnate pond; open to all kinds of toxic buildup, (including fat) and a sitting target for the cold and flu virus.
2. Nutrient dense foods – Okay so this doesn’t mean jump on the next diet bandwagon and it doesn’t have to depriving, it’s just choosing foods that will provide the most bang for your bite! You’ve probably heard it said that shopping the perimeters of the grocery store is best, which is a good general rule of thumb, unless of course this includes ice cream in the frozen food section. Incorporate citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes, to give your water some kick add a few squirts of lemon or lime juice. Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C and help to prevent mucus buildup! Leafy greens are another good source of vitamin C and phytonutrients which help boost the immune system. Yogurt containing probiotic bacteria may also be effective at preventing respiratory infections such as the common cold, just make sure that the yogurt isn’t full of sugar or a sugar substitute! The holidays are over so throw out all the sugar and refined carbs since these only suppress the immune system.
3. Stay Warm! – Not to state the obvious, but how many times do you go outside misjudging the temperature? Maybe the day starts out moderately warm, but by the time you get off work, the weather has changed personalities and is bone-chilling cold. Think ahead and keep a coat, gloves and an extra pair of rain boots or tennis shoes in your car so you are never left out in the cold! There is no sense in being cold all winter and using extra energy to try to keep your internal thermostat up when your body could be using that energy for more important things like fighting disease! Maybe snuggies aren’t such a bad idea after all!