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Do you constantly feel under the weather in the colder months? Discover the secrets of women who stay well...
Autumn and winter are harsh seasons for our bodies. Just like animals that go into hibernation, the changes outdoors naturally affect our bodies. The colder months are a good time of year to take stock and spend some time reading up on health secrets and then try to adopt them in your every day life. By incorporating and adopting these savvy health tips into your everyday routine, you will stay healthy and happy until the spring arrives in March. The cold temperatures affect not only our skin but our immune systems too and we are constantly fighting off infections and bacteria that is hard to avoid. Have you ever wondered what the health secrets are that mean that some women breeze through the colder months without so much as a sniffle?
Women who stay well, feel alive and avoid illnesses through this time often follow a similar, simple routine from September to February which helps keep them happy and healthy.
Want to know what these health secrets are? Look no further; we’ve investigated what it is that keeps these women strong and healthy throughout the winter season. With freezing temperatures, flu viruses, aches and pains along with sickness bugs to contend with, it’s no surprise that autumn and winter can leave many of us washed out, run down and wishing away the days until spring. These health secrets can change that.
From winter friendly exercise tips and ways to avoid unnecessary stress, to the best ways to carry on getting fresh air in the cold weather, these health secrets will help you on your way to being happy and healthy throughout winter.
Click through for a few health tips you can adopt today – simple diet and lifestyle changes that can make all the difference to the way you look and feel…
Studies have shown that those under stress or pressure are twice as likely to develop the cold and flu virus than those who aren’t. Increased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, dampens the immune system, making us more susceptible to getting ill.
Regular exercise, meditation and spending time with friends and family will help the body to relax and unwind. Taking time out for yourself everyday to relax, whether it’s reading a book or having a bubble bath, is also a great way to calm the body and many supplements and natural remedies exist which can also help put you in a place of zen.
Zinc has long been thought to fight off the common cold. Although research is still patchy, scientists in India have found a zinc-rich diet of nuts, seeds, meat and fruit eaten on a regular basis, or zinc taken in supplement form, does increase your immunity to the cold virus. Study participants who took zinc lozenges or syrup daily for five weeks were, on average, a third less likely to end up with a cold. Try Boots Vitamin C and Zinc Effervescent Tablets, £3.
Warm bedrooms are an ideal breeding ground for germs, so open the window
a little as you climb in to bed to let some fresh air in. You'll
probably find that you sleep much better too. Remember to wash your bed
sheets regularly on a 60C cycle too.
It's not just hot weather that calls for more fluids to prevent dehydration. If you're layering up because it's cold outside, then you're likely to sweat more. Turning the heating up - or having it on for long periods - has the same effect. Up your daily water intake by sipping on hot water.
Don't forget: The chill can really affect your skin too. Along with drinking more and eating extra low-fat dairy products like natural yoghurt to prevent dryness, add one of our winter skincare buys to your daily routine to protect, soothe and hydrate stressed-out skin.
Fish oil is packed with joint-supporting omega fats, but double-check that yours contain both DHA and EPA. These acids really help relieve the symptoms of inflammatory diseases like arthiritis. Try Vitabiotics Ultra 2-in-1 Fish Oil Capsules.
When it's cold, it can be tempting to stay snuggled up indoors. Try to get out and about though, especially to that Zumba class. People who exercise regularly throughout the cold and flu season are 50% less likely to end up coming down with a winter bug, a 2010 study found. They tend to feel brighter too.
We get less sunlight in the winter months, so our vitamin D levels often drop. This can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression. Try taking a good quality vitamin D supplement like Vitabiotics Ultra Vitamin D. Investing in a light box (from £30) to provide simulated natural day light for a few hours every day will help too.
Put down the sponge or dish cloth! Unless you regularly bleach them, cleaning with these can spread all sorts of bacteria, including the cold virus and sickness bugs. Throw-away wipes are a much better idea.
Don't forget: There is evidence that using bleach and antibacterial sprays too often reduces your immunity, so you're more likely to get sick. Stick to more natural cleaning products instead.
So simple, yet so effective - washing your hands properly with soap and hot water will kill all sorts of nasties. Hand washing should take up to two minutes. Do it frequently, and not just after going to the toilet. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitiser in your handbag for when you're on the go too.
Your mobile could well be making you ill - and not for the reasons you might think. University of London researchers took swabs from a selection of mobile phones and found that 92% were contaminated with pathogens which cause all sorts of illnesses, including E Coli and MRSA. Don't be tempted to spray the screen though, you could damage it. Use a disinfectant wipe to clean your phone once a week.
Don't forget: Your computer keyboard and mouse harbour germs too, so add a desk clean to your to do list.
Sex doesn't just combat stress, warm you up and put you in a good mood, it also gives your immune system a boost. Scientists have found that people who have sex three times a week have an increased level of antibodies that fight infection, especially colds and flu.