When cold winds blow, it’s essential to take extra steps to protect your health. There are a number of techniques that can help keep your immunity high and your body in good condition to support wellness all season long so that you can enjoy the chillier months.
Tips for Winter Wellness
(Family Features) When cold winds blow, it’s essential to take extra steps to protect your health. There are a number of techniques that can help keep your immunity high and your body in good condition to support wellness all season long so that you can enjoy the chillier months.
There’s no magic formula for feeling your best, but consulting your health care provider is always a good idea when you’re contemplating new ideas to promote better health.
Get up and moving
Without frequent use, muscles and joints can weaken and grow stiff, limiting your mobility. Exercise is also an important step in balancing your caloric intake, and physical activity gets your blood pumping, which has numerous benefits for heart health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a minimum of 150 minutes each week (or 30 minutes per day, at least five days each week) of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, yoga class or bike ride.
Additionally, winter brings fewer hours of sunlight during the day, and per the National Sleep Foundation, darkness naturally causes the brain to release melatonin, a hormone that triggers sleepiness. Exercise can counteract this drowsiness, as the endorphins released through physical activity cause a natural increase in energy levels. Studies show that endorphins can also elicit positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain, which can lower stress levels to help keep you mentally and physically well.
Spice up your routine with herbal supplements
Whether to supplement your diet with additional vitamins and nutrients or to give you a specific, targeted boost, herbal supplements can help support overall health. For example, the supplement turmeric, derived from root extracts of the Curcuma longa plant, is widely regarded to have numerous positive health implications.
“Since 2013, turmeric has dominated the market as the top-selling ingredient in herbal supplements,” said Chris Oswald, licensed nutritionist at Nature’s Way. “As research on turmeric grows, consumers continue to recognize the health benefits of this amazing botanical.”
Turmeric can be added to several foods, but to ensure a steady, adequate dose, Oswald recommends a turmeric-based herbal supplement, like the Turmerich line from Nature’s Way. The line combines a blend of premium ingredients in two unique formulas, Turmerich Heart and Turmerich Joint. Both supplements feature turmeric extract along with a strong suite of herbal and specialty ingredients for comprehensive, targeted support. Each supplement uses 400 milligrams of standardized turmeric root extract per serving to boost ingredient potency, maximizing potential health benefits.
Get ample rest
Adequate sleep allows the body to rejuvenate itself naturally, promoting a better mood, improved system function and increased stamina throughout the day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends older adults get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. Beyond a good night’s sleep, be sure to take some mental downtime, too, to minimize stress and anxiety, both of which can have a negative impact on your health. Find ways to relax through meditation, reading or listening to soothing music, which can help rest your mind and body.
Fresh fruits and vegetables offer vitamins and minerals that can play an important role in immune health. Studies have shown that vitamin C, which is found naturally in several fruits, is essential for stimulating growth and repair in the body. During the winter months, when fresh fruit can be harder to find, supplements like Echinacea & Vitamin C from Nature’s Way can be another source of vitamin C.<
Maintain skin health
As the body’s largest organ and the first line of defense against physical harm, the skin is particularly susceptible to wear and tear. During the winter, frequent exposure to harsh elements, from dry air to biting sleet, can have serious impacts on skin health.
You can take steps to minimize painful redness and flakiness or cracking by regularly moisturizing your skin with fragrance-free lotions and herbal oils. They can create a protective barrier between your skin tissue and potential pollutants and irritants, and should be applied generously to areas that are most likely to be exposed, like your hands and face. Also remember to bundle up to prevent the impact of stinging winds, and avoid unnecessary time outdoors when conditions are especially harsh.
Fast Facts on Turmeric
As a root native to Southeast Asia, turmeric has played a role in Chinese and Indian medicinal traditions since ancient times. Here are some other facts you may not know about this botanical:
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With overscheduled days full of early-morning conference calls and endless to-do lists, it’s impossible to avoid the stress that comes with working hard. Hand-in-hand with all that pressure, a lack of quality sleep can lead to aches and pains, stiffness, sore muscles, tingling or numbness in your extremities, general fatigue, as well as an increased risk of getting sick. If you’re stressed and experiencing trouble sleeping, these tips can help ensure you’re getting the rest you need to improve your sleep health.
3 Steps Toward Better Sleep
(Family Features) With overscheduled days full of early-morning conference calls and endless to-do lists, it’s impossible to avoid the stress that comes with working hard. Hand-in-hand with all that pressure, a lack of quality sleep can lead to aches and pains, stiffness, sore muscles, tingling or numbness in your extremities, general fatigue, as well as an increased risk of getting sick.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, the average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep a night. In fact, a survey by Mattress Firm showed a correlation between stress and those who receive less sleep than recommended.
Twice as many stressed people get fewer than five hours of sleep each night compared to those who are not stressed. What’s more, those who are stressed are five times more likely to experience insomnia at least once a month.
The proper amount and quality of sleep can have a dramatic impact on your life. If you’re stressed and experiencing trouble sleeping, these tips from the sleep experts at Mattress Firm can help ensure you’re getting the rest you need to improve your sleep health.
Minimize technology use before you head to bed. The survey found that quality of sleep is negatively impacted because of stress-induced technology use. For example, those who are stressed are 60 percent more likely to watch TV an hour before bed, more than twice as likely to post to social media an hour before bed, twice as likely to check email an hour before bed and more than 40 percent more likely to sleep with their phones next to their beds.
Ensure your body is getting adequate support. What felt comfortable to sleep on eight years ago may not provide the support your body needs today. Your weight, pressure points, ailments, etc. can change over the course of time, so it’s important to check the mattress tag. If it’s more than 8 years old, it is time to replace it. Another way to make sure your body has the proper support and alignment is to figure out your sleep position and select the right pillows to support your body. This can help alleviate tossing and turning, and provide a more comfortable night of sleep.
Avoid nighttime snacking. About 24 percent of extremely stressed people indulge in a snack an hour before bed, according to the survey. There are many food and drink options that encourage a good night’s sleep more than others, such as tryptophan-rich foods like dairy, nuts and seeds, bananas, honey and eggs. Conversely, foods and medications with caffeine and foods with high-fat content should be avoided. The foods you choose are important, but also pay attention to the timing of when you eat and drink. Even fighting stress with an afternoon espresso can affect your ability to sleep hours later when your head hits the pillow.
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(BPT) - Whether it's battling the rampant germs of cold and flu season or maintaining wellness throughout the year, the immune system is your main line of defense. In order to feel good as often as possible - and recover quickly when you don't - it's important to keep your immune system strong.
"The immune system is the part of the body that monitors both internal and external environments," says Dr. Chris Oswald, certified nutrition specialist and chiropractor in Hudson, Wisconsin. "It's important to understand that both too much immune response and too little immune response, including inflammation, is not good, so maintaining that happy medium is the name of the game."
To achieve that "happy medium," Dr. Oswald recommends incorporating five simple steps into your daily routine:
Support natural sleep cycles
"Sleep is the time when our bodies repair and rejuvenate, so it is something to not be taken lightly," Dr. Oswald says. "Generally speaking, the older we are the less sleep we need, but for adults 7-9 hours is usually the sweet spot."
He says a good way to know if you are sleeping well is if you fall asleep within 30 minutes of lying down and you are able to wake at approximately the same time every day without an alarm clock.
"It is also very important to maintain regular hours as our body's circadian rhythms do not like to be disrupted," he adds.
Eat fermented and unprocessed foods
Dr. Oswald says the body's microbiome health has a huge impact on the immune system. The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that inhabit the intestinal tract, creating a mini-ecosystem.
"Every bite of food we eat impacts microbiome balance, so it is important to eat foods that promote its health," he says. "I like fermented foods and foods that are minimally processed or as close to their form in nature as possible. When the wrong foods are eaten, certain microbiota are able to 'gain strength' and offset the health promoting benefits of other more beneficial organisms."
He adds that dietary fiber is also very important to maintaining the health of the microbiome. Additionally, foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as DHA and EPA help boost the immune system.
Use supplements to support digestive health
"The digestive tract is a barrier to the outside world which selectively allows molecules to pass through," says Dr. Oswald. This is why a healthy gut is a big part of overall health - it filters out the bad while keeping in the good.
Eating plenty of probiotics in foods like yogurt and kefir helps maintain digestive health, but it can be difficult for the average person to get enough to make an impact. "Supporting digestive health with a comprehensive probiotic supplement such as Nordic Naturals Nordic Flora Probiotic Daily is a great foundational health strategy for everyone," Dr. Oswald says.
Move your body
"Higher levels of fitness are definitely associated with improved immune function," says Dr. Oswald. He recommends high intensity interval training (HIIT), where you alternate short periods of intense exercise with brief rest periods.
"I like people to choose any activity they like and have a nice gentle 5 minute warm-up followed by up to six 100 percent work intervals for 30 seconds with 60 seconds of rest," he says. "Once complete with the circuit, a five minute cool down completes your workout in 19 minutes or less."
Embrace mindfulness and meditate
Dr. Oswald says both acute and chronic stress have an effect on the immune system, which can potentially decrease your resistance to illness. One easy way to combat stress is to try to meditate every day.
"Meditation is a very powerful option and I firmly believe that all should find some way of increasing mindfulness," he says. "It is important to remember that meditation is different for everyone."
Meditation can be sitting quietly with eyes closed, staring at a flame, walking in the woods, etc. Try something that feels right to you that allows you to relax and be mindful of the present.
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