SIMPLE WINTER HEALTH TIPS
20 easy winter health tips
As the temperature continues to drop in many areas of the country, people become increasingly challenged to maintain a healthy diet. On a chilly day, it’s tempting to curl up on the couch with a bowl of canned (salty!) soup or a pile of leftover holiday treats. That’s why it’s so important for RDs to help their clients who struggle with healthy eating in the colder months. Keeping the body well nourished during the winter can be difficult, but it’s crucial to prevent weight gain and ward off those pesky germs.
While many people will be happily saying good-bye to a long, hot summer and welcoming the new season, just as many of us will be dreading the cooler weather arriving. Winter is often given a bad rap as it brings with it the cold & flu season and those cold, dark mornings. However, with a little effort there is no reason for our health to suffer during the colder months! There are a number of things we can do to help keep ourselves and our family just as healthy, happy and active during winter as we are during summer.
For optimum health it is vital to eat a well balanced diet that is high in fibre and includes all the major food groups.
- For optimum health it is vital to include both soluble and insoluble fibre daily. Soluble fibre is found in foods such as psyllium husk, apples, oat bran and legumes (chickpeas, lentils). Sources of insoluble fibre include whole grains, broccoli, nuts, seeds and vegetable skins.
- Including fibre in your diet will offer benefits beyond your bowel. Fibre plays an important role in helping to prevent serious health conditions. Fibre can also help manage the digestive complaints associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- The easiest way to boost your fibre intake is to eat foods in their most natural state i.e. fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains (steel cut oats, rolled rye, brown rice, whole-wheat), legumes, nuts and seeds. If you are struggling to reach the recommended 25-30g of fibre per day, you may wish to boost your intake with a fibre supplement made from psyllium husk.
- Make it a priority to drink 500ml of water before breakfast. Staying well hydrated will give you more energy, mental clarity and enhanced digestive function.Teresa Boyce, Health Whisperer/Nutritionist.
- Boost immunity. It’s important to take care of our health throughout the year but during the winter months it becomes even more essential. Eating well, getting enough sleep and staying active are all important during winter to help keep you and your family healthy and to support your immune systems. Supplements containing herbs and nutrients such as echinacea, garlic, vitamin C, and zinc will help to support healthy immune function.
- Preparation is key. Plan your meals at the start of the week, pre cook and freeze meals ahead of busy days and always carry healthy snacks in your bag for when you are on the run.
- Make an effort to include raw foods such as fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, seeds and fresh herbs. Raw foods provide enzymes, vitamins and disease protective antioxidants.
- When it comes to fruits and vegetables variety is a must. Take the time to learn what is in season and try something new. Selecting seasonal produce ensures variety, optimal taste and quality.
- When preparing meals you should simply think rainbow. If your plate is full of brightly coloured fresh produce you know you are on the right track.
- Drinking herbal tea is a tasty way to improve hydration. Herbal teas include ginger, mint, jasmine, lemon grass, and chamomile.
- A healthy diet is a balanced diet complete with all major food groups. Meals should contain a mixture of fibre rich carbohydrates, good quality protein and essential fatty acids.
- It is estimated between 30- 50% of Australia adults are deficient in vitamin D. The easiest way to increase vitamin D levels is by going for a walk outdoors and enjoying sensible sun exposure.
- Reduce serving sizes. Serving sizes have doubled over the years making it easy to overeat. Limit your portion size by eating from a smaller plate or bowl.
- Limit added sugars to no more than 10% of your daily calorie intake or 6- 10 teaspoons per day. To calculate how many teaspoons of sugar is in a food product divide the grams of sugar by 4. For example 16 grams of sugar is equivalent to 4 teaspoons of sugar.
- Probiotics are the beneficial ‘good’ bacteria essential for health and digestive function. Aim to consume probiotic rich foods like natural yogurt, fermented vegetables and fermented milk drinks on a regular basis.
- Health is a state of complete physical and mental well-being. Do not neglect your emotional health, take time out to stop, relax and breathe.
- Spice things up at meal times by using a variety of herbs and spices. Including fresh herbs will enhance flavour, texture and boost the nutrient value of any meal.
- Good quality sleep is vital for good health. Poor sleep can impact on everyday life affecting concentration, mood, stress levels and weight gain. Aim to get into bed early and enjoy around 8 hours of deep sleep.
- Fibre can benefit energy levels. Soluble fibre slows the rate of carbohydrate digestion and absorption therefore preventing blood sugar surges and crashes. Foods that are high in fibre are ideal choices for sustained, balanced energy throughout the day.
- Soluble Fibres. Studies have indicated that consuming around 7g of soluble fibre per day can help lower blood cholesterol levels. Once consumed soluble fibre binds to cholesterol aiding its passage through the body and eventual elimination. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, soluble fibre works best when partnered with water.
Take care of your teeth and gums with proper daily routine of brushing and flossing. Eat nutritious, healthy foods and your tummy will thank you. If your diet has impacted your oral health with severe tooth decay or tooth loss, you should know that you always have options.
Call Bayview Dental Centre today on 07 55371828 to find out about the options available to you.