Seven ways to stay positive during a time of healing
Winter is known as the prime cold and flu season but there are some ways to help reduce your chances of falling prey to the germs. Part of the reason we are vulnerable can be traced to busy holiday schedules filled with shopping, planning dinners and staying out late. Healthy eating and exercise are forgotten during this busy season and our immune systems can be compromised. After the holidays, the short days and long nights can increase depression, which affects our ability to ward off illness. Taking intentional steps to keep your immune system healthy is a way to reduce infection risk.
Here are eight ways to improve your chances of avoiding illness this winter.
Choose fiber over carbs
When the weather outside is frightful, high carb foods seem delightful. When you eat a sweet treat, your serotonin levels rise and your brain makes you feel happy. However, too much sugar curbs the immune system cells’ ability to attack bacteria and can lead to illness. In contrast, soluble fiber found in foods like apples and nuts can boost your immune system function and, as a bonus, reduce inflammation.
Include Omega 3 Fatty Acids
This type of healthy fat found in fish, nuts and plant seeds can help fight depression and reduce inflammation. These two factors can keep you active during the cold dark winter months. The more active you are, the better your body operates and your risk of infection is lowered. Salmon, sardines, tuna and other fish are great sources and many foods like juice and bread are fortified with Omega 3 fatty acids.
Spice things up
Move beyond salt and pepper and cook with onions, garlic, ginger and cilantro. These all improve the function of your immune system. Turmeric is another good choice since it serves as a powerful antioxidant and reduces inflammation.
Warm up with a cup of tea
Many organic teas can help you stay healthy. Lemon and chamomile tea can ease feelings of depression and help with sleep, the time when immune cells are produced that fight disease. Green tea provides antioxidants which can keep your blood vessels healthy.
Make a pot of soup
Soups and stews are not only great comfort food, they can also be excellent ways to add vegetables to your meals. Load up the stock pot with kidney beans, chickpeas, soy beans, lentils, carrots and other vegetables that provide valuable nutrients for your body. Be sure to include mushrooms which have naturally occurring antibiotics that fight off illness.
Get off the couch
Binge watching movies during the winter can be comforting but it will not keep you healthy. Make an intentional exercise plan each week to keep active. Take a walk at the mall on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, go to exercise class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Make a plan and stick to it to help ward off illness.
There is a link between mood and health. When depression sets in, a person becomes more susceptible to stress and illness. Winter can be isolating, so make plans to get together with friends to see a movie, go to lunch or just visit. Stay busy with uplifting tasks like planning a vacation. Researching places to visit when the weather is sunny once again can lift your spirits.
Wash your hands
This simple act is an important part of staying healthy. The surfaces, objects and people you come in contact with everyday can hide germs and bacteria. Frequently washing your hands can limit the transfer of those nasty things into your body. The CDC suggests lathering up your hands with soap while humming at least two rounds of “Happy Birthday” to yourself to make sure your hands are clean.
Weathering the winter months
Fighting off illness during the winter months can be even more challenging if you are recovering from a medical procedure or event. For this reason, many people choose a short-term care facility during a time of recovery.
One of the premier locations for short-term care is Whitehall of Deerfield. Spacious, well-appointed rooms with an array of amenities deliver the feel of a hotel getaway. Guests at Whitehall of Deerfield can choose from a variety of healthy meal options that can be enjoyed in beautiful dining rooms or in the privacy of their room. The dangers of depression are reduced by the many diversions and settings offered at Whitehall of Deerfield. There is no need to venture out into the ice and snow when all your needs are taken care of by an attentive staff including a concierge. Even your daily newspaper is delivered to your room each morning along with a cup of hot coffee.
In addition, all medical concerns are carefully addressed in a safe, germ-free environment. A skilled nursing staff is available around the clock and doctors are also always on call to take care of any medical needs. This attentive, specially trained therapy and medical staff members provide one-on-one rehabilitation—and will monitor and deliver all medications and medical care. Instead of worrying about the long winter months, consider a stay at Whitehall of Deerfield. For more information or to make reservations for a short-term respite stay, visit www.whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.