Let`s keep healthy this winter! It is possible to be strong and warm even in the winter. Here are some easy tips for you to help you understand what is happening and how to be healthy.
During this season your body craves more food which is natural. It is an attempt to nourish our stressed bodies.
Adding extra food + less physical activity
= health challenges and weight gain.
The problem is that we end up eating more often; lots of snacks between meals. Also, when it is cold we tend to be less physically active as we don’t want to go out in the cold.
Many of us notice an increase in problems like dry skin, body pains, lethargy, coughs, flues, and even depression. We need a seasonal way of looking after our bodies to maintain good health.
In general, winter increases the qualities of DRYNESS and COLD in your body. We can counteract these qualities with specific foods and activities. This kind of orientation to health is not what we are used to in the west since they come from the Ayurveda and Chinese health systems.
Remember though, that a major portion of the world’s population has maintained high levels of health for thousands of years with these principles.
Healthy Winter Tips to Balance Out the Dry and Cold
Avoid Refined Sugar And Most Sugars
Sugar weakens the immune system and this is not something we want to happen in the winter when our body is feeling more challenged. It is in so many foods, not just candy as you see above.
“The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.” ~ Dr. Sears
Also, sugar has no vitamins or minerals, just lots of fat building calories and the foundation of many fattening foods. Watch for hidden sugars.
So watch out for sugar in all canned and packed foods. We want to keep our immune system strong and healthy in the winter.
Replace Sugary Food with Fruit
When you are having that craving for a sweet, eat a piece of fresh fruit.
Eat fruits rich in Vitamin C like Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruit and Mandarins which will help flush out toxins from the body. Best to eat no more than 2 or 3 pieces of fruit a day as they can also be cooling.
Use Healthy Sweeteners
Stevia is a great sweetener and is very healthy. The ‘sweet leaf’, stevia sweetener, does not create an insulin response and actually nourishes the pancreas which helps regulate blood sugar. The stevia plant is incredibly sweet and also incredibly good for you. The leaf is 30 times sweeter than sugar while extracts are 300-400 times sweeter making this a must to have. This is good for Sugar Addicts.
These three can be used in limited quantities.
Buckwheat Raw Honey is a healthier alternative to cough syrup and is good for the immune system. Honey Pacifica is an Unheated and Unprocessed Honey.
Molasses is full of iron and other minerals and it has a low glycemic index.
To learn how to get sugar under control read: 7 Tips to Stop Sugar Cravings
Eat nuts and seeds (in limited quantities)
Include Gluten-free Grains in Your Meals Regularly
In the winter we need sustaining energy from the food we eat and grains are a great way to get it. These are ‘smart’ carbs and include Quinoa, Buckwheat, and Millet. They are full of nutrients and do not clog your sensitive winter digestive system.
Buckwheat is a favourite grain of mine in the winter. It is very warming, highly nourishing, energizing and tasty food that can be eaten instead of rice or the usual porridge. Contrary to its name, this seed is not in any way related to wheat.
Gluten-free millet provides a host of nutrients, has a sweet nutty flavour, and is considered to be one of the most digestible and non-allergenic grains available. It is one of the few grains that is alkalizing to the body.
There are many health benefits of Quinoa and it is filling like a grain but with much more protein. Quinoa is gluten-free because it is not a grain! It is a vegetable seed related to Swiss chard, spinach, and beets.
Eat Warming, Moist Meals For a Healthy Winter
When it is cold eating warming foods is so welcoming to our body. Include freshly cooked nourishing soups and stews into your diet.
Avoid raw foods during the winter as much as possible, as these tend to cool the body. You can still eat salads but if you are like me, you will eat less of them now than in the summer.
Strengthening Warming Vegetables For Healthy Winter Meals
Avocados are bursting with lots of health benefits. Some people avoid avocados due to their high-fat content. Most of us know by now that avocados have the kind of fat that actually helps you lose weight!
A single serving of beets can boost your energy and lower your blood pressure. Eating beets long term can help fight cancer, reduce arthritic pain, lose weight and assist in a number of other health areas.
If you’ve already decided you don’t like Brussels Sprouts, it’s probably because at some point in your life someone served you some that had their tasty, nutty, sweet flavor boiled away. When you learn how to cook them properly, you may find them totally yummy! There are many good reasons to eat this vegetable as it is full of health benefits including keeping the bones strong, lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer, promoting weight loss and providing a good source of protein when combined with whole grain.
Carrots – Forget about Vitamin A pills. With this orange crunchy superfood, you get Vitamin A and a host of other powerful health benefits including beautiful skin, cancer prevention, and anti-aging.
Everyone loves Pumpkins and when you eat them you will be enjoying the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits from this alkaline squash.
Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin E, iron and folate which have been found to help the immune system too according to Bayer Consumer Care Ltd, Switzerland.
Winter Squash has a high amount of Vitamin A (beta-carotene), with vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, and manganese. It also has folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin vitamin B3, and pantothenic acid.
Sweet Potatoes – You can mash them or bake them, or give them a quick fry, sweet potatoes are delicious and full of health benefits too! The good news is that they are actually very nutritious as well as being exceptionally delicious.
Eat Cabbage if you want the health benefits of beautiful glowing skin, and an immune system powerful enough to fight off just about anything, don’t forget this highly nutritious but common vegetable.
WHO recognizes that Onions help relieve symptoms such as coughs, congestion asthma, and respiratory infections. Onions are full of protective phytonutrients, vitamins, trace minerals, quercetin (an important flavonoid), chromium, and unique anti-inflammatory nutrients.
The allicin in garlic is also a powerful antibiotic, which fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. Garlic helps to open clogged sinuses. Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic.
Avoid tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy lettuce (these are cooling summer foods).
Include Beans and Legumes in Your Diet
Beans are another means of providing sustained energy in the winter. Beans are called a ‘poor man’s meat’ because they provide the protein and strength of meat products at a fraction of the cost but really they are a ‘healthy man’s meat’ since they are so nourishing.
Here Are Some Favourite Legumes
Mung Beans have plenty of vitamins and minerals and a good nutritional balance.
Cut Out Mucus Forming Foods
Dairy, Eggs, and Wheat especially if you are prone to colds and flues.
Add Good Oils
Almond Oil has a high smoke point making it great for stir-frying and sautéing. It is good for High Heat Up To 460F. What I like about it is that it has a light, clean flavor that does not alter the taste of the foods I am using it to cook with.
Coconut Oil once thought as a heart disease-causing saturated fat is now been proclaimed ‘the healthiest oil on earth.’ Coconut oil has been used throughout Asia and the Pacific for thousands of years as both a food and medicine.
Olive Oil – Extra-virgin olive oil (cold-pressed) is the best fat to use as a salad dressing. Do not use it for cooking. It has a low smoke point and heat makes it susceptible to oxidative damage. Olive oil has so many health benefits that I include a little of it every day when I eat my salad.
Sesame Oil has many health benefits that has been recognized for centuries. It’s 17 benefits include both internal and external uses. Sesame oil is an integral part of Ayurveda and maybe the oldest condiment to man dating back to as early as 1,600 BC and was one of the first oils made. It is an excellent cooking oil because it is exceptionally resistant to rancidity and won’t easily oxidize at high temperatures.
Take Time to Eat
During the winter it is important to get an abundance of nutrients. When we chew our food well, we will get more nutrition from that food, than when it is in chunks. The chunks of food create more work for your body at a time when it is already taxed from the cold.
People who eat fast are often heavier than slow eaters according to research. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you have eaten enough. Slow down by chewing each bite at least 10 – 20 times.
Drink Warming Herbal Teas
Get some direct sunlight as much as possible.
There is less sun in winter but your body craves it.
Move That Body For a Healthy Winter
Keep moving is the rule in any season but particularly winter. When it is colder outside it is easy to go into couch potato mode.
To keep a body healthy and happy we need to move it. The body was NOT meant to stay still. It relies on movement for optimal circulation.
When the body is still toxins build up in the tissues and cause acidity which contributes to many of the modern illnesses. This is not about burning calories. Any movement is generally good but moving outside is even better for you. The natural light and fresh air make all the difference.
Every day take a 15-minute walk outside even when it is cold. Note: Walking is NOT optional.
Good reasons to get Walking, Learn Tips and Benefits
Have a Warm Bath or Foot Bath Daily
Add Epsom salts to your bath (not too hot or too long as this can deplete energy).
A moderate hot bath can also help your immune system fight viruses. According to studies, it can help some immune cells work better, evidence suggests according to Science Daily.
Give yourself a daily sesame oil massage
It will moisten your skin in this dry season and help calm the nervous system. It is rich in fatty acids to help repair dry skin making it soft and smooth.
An oil massage is balancing and soothing to the nervous system and the whole body. The skin is the largest organ of the body and is capable of producing the most hormones. When gently massaged, the skin produces calming hormones (just the opposite of the “flight or fight” hormonal changes associated with stress).
Keep Warm To Stay Healthy This Winter
- Wear warm natural fiber clothes (soft wool is excellent if you are not allergic to it).
- Very important: make sure you are wearing thermal socks.
Women’s Wool Socks Thermal Heavy Thick Soft Warm Fuzzy Work Winter Socks are breathable, warm and cozy. They are very soft and comfortable with a fuzzy inner design to keep your feet warm, the breathable and soft fabric will also keep your feet comfortable all day.
- Wear a base layer in cold weather; long-sleeve tees are great.
- Good to wear layers of clothing; a flannel shirt is good for an outer layer.
- A fleece pullover or sweatshirt is very warm.
- When going outside, put on a very warm jacket or coat with a hood. I prefer a long coat because it keeps my legs warm too.
- Fleece-lined pants are very warm.
- And a warm hat on top of it all.
Get Enough Sleep For a Healthy Winter
Winter is the time for some animals to hibernate. As humans that will not work. Sleeping at night is the time our immune system is nourished and of course, in the winter this is an especially good thing to be doing. Get 7-8 hours of sleep EVERY night. It is best to be asleep by 10-11 p.m.
When we are not getting enough sleep, our body becomes vulnerable to illness. Sleep is fuel!
These tips are a simple way to keep healthy during this cold season. Let’s enjoy winter and be healthy. Sleep early, rest well, stay warm, eat well and expend a minimum quantity of energy.
To learn more about how to Strengthen Your Body for the Winter check out this Free Webinar To Help You Strengthen Your Body this Winter
Also, there are lots of good strengthening tips in my Balance Your Body E-book.
You will find lots of healthy recipes here: Healthy Recipes
A Few Favourite Delicious Warming Recipes For a Healthy Winter
Vegetable Stew with Peanut Butter Is Warming and Tasty – This is a tasty vegetable stew with peanut butter and it is filled with superfood vegetables. The sweet potatoes add that sweetness to the stew making it extra tasty. It has good vegan protein from the peanut butter too. It is very good for cold winter days.
Creamy Spicy Vegan Chai is Warming and Delicious -This creamy vegan chai is so delicious. I love being able to drink hot creamy drinks that have no cows milk in them and are caffeine-free too. This is a great tea on those cozy cold winter days.
Millet Pudding – This millet pudding is simple, very nourishing and is gluten-free and vegan too.
Warming Buckwheat with Sunflower Seeds – Buckwheat is a great food to add to help have a healthy winter. This recipe is simple and nutritious! Also, it is warming and so great for the winter.
Black Bean Soup is Really Good For You On a Cold Day – This black bean soup is so tasty and nutritious. It is warming on a cold fall or winter day. It is easy to make and filled with nutritious superfood ingredients. Black beans are my favourite bean. Let’s not forget that this stew is full of protein which is from the beans.
Delightful Pumpkin Stew For One -The main ingredient in this pumpkin stew is of course pumpkin which is a low-fat food, high in antioxidants and has a significant amount of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. This pumpkin superfood is full of antioxidants to help you reduce the risk of cancer and the right nutrients for healthy eyes and beautiful skin.