Looking to ensure you’re eating clean and doing all you can to remain as healthy as possible with winter around the corner? With covid concerns still lingering and the weather becoming much windier and colder, ensuring that you stay on top of your diet is important to remain healthy, productive, and energetic… and not let those dark clouds bring your spirits down! A study of 2,000 UK adults
found that winter was a recipe for illness, dips in mental health and low motivation.
With winter approaching, our bodies must work a little bit harder to keep warm and our immune system needs all the protection it can get from nutritional rich foods. During this time our cravings can kick into overdrive because of our body temperature lowering, we’re inclined to eat more because consuming food helps generate more internal heat
and ultimately helps to raise the temperature back up! However, this can lead to poor diet choices. Throughout winter the average person put on between 7 to 12 pounds
- Christmas and New Year’s being a factor too though. Nutritionist, Barrie Wolf-Radbille, states how winter has us learning more towards carbs: “As soon as temperatures drop, our appetite goes up for high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods
-- stews, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese -- the dishes that make us feel warm and cosy.” Here’s some of our suggestions for safeguarding your health and well-being over the holiday season:
Fight back against the winter blues by consuming more Vitamin D
With the sun being far more elusive and the days getting less bright, consuming enough foods rich in vitamin D will work well to keep you in a good mood
! And as our source of the vitamin is greatly diminished without much we can do (it is the sun after all) we need to supplement our reduced intake with plenty of foods rich in vitamin D to stay as healthy as possible!
Fish (cod, tuna and salmon) as well as eggs, avocado, red meat and fortified foods are ideal for incorporating a good dose of vitamin D into your diet! Other benefits include improving lung function and also brain, immune and nervous system function
Winter weather can increase those carb cravings - pick the good ones!
When it gets chilly outside, we tend to crave carbs more and more. Hormonal changes in the body occur common with many individuals during colder seasons (changes to the ghrelin and leptin hormones
) which induces the body to feel increased hunger and feeling less satiated.. It can be easy to succumb to cravings for cake, pastries, and chips! Over winter, on average we consume an extra 90-200 calories
If you want to embrace carbs in a healthier, more nutritious manner that will keep you feeling great throughout winter, ideal foods to go for include: whole grain breads, beans, parsnips, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole oats, quinoa and buckwheat. They’ll give you a little serotonin increase
over the dark months, fuel your central nervous system
and boost your energy levels
Stay hydrated with plenty of water and embrace healthy teas
Ensuring that you’re drinking enough water over the winter months is important for a number of different reasons. A lack of water in your system can dry out the mucous membranes
in your sinuses and lungs which reduces the body's abilities to fight infections and is needed to ward off impurities in the body. Plus, when you’re dehydrated, you’ll easily become more fatigued and less productive. Drinking enough water daily will help sustain your energy levels, especially with the days getting darker earlier and earlier.
Exploring healthy teas is another useful option for boosting your health over the winter months. A nice, hot and healthy tea can work wonders to warm up your muscles and organs and promote healthy blood circulation
. One great option that has a lot of fantastic health benefits is matcha (ground up green tea powder) which has to be consumed on it’s own or with milk in latte form. As well as its capabilities of flushing toxins from the liver and boosting brain function
, matcha is very high in catechins, which is a naturally occurring antioxidant. Antioxidants combat compounds in the body which cause cell damage and disease.
Keep on boosting your immune system with tons of Vitamin C and Zinc
Increasing your Vitamin C intake is highly beneficial for building up protection for your immune system and reducing your chances of getting sick from common colds. Foods that are particularly high in Vitamin C include: grapefruits, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and red peppers. It also improves blood flow and helps to prevent dry skin
Foods high in zinc also help to strengthen your immune system by regulating immune response to infected cells within the body. Lamb, beef, spinach, oysters, chicken and dark chocolates are all high in zinc and will give your immune system an extra boost to stay healthy and maintain a balanced diet.
Explore foods and recipes that have antibacterial properties
Food such as garlic, onions, leeks and chives are great to consume over winter because they’re able to fight off pathogens
(in short, any organism which can cause disease) and generally provide disinfecting, antibacterial properties within your body!
Garlic in particular has long been used for preventing seasonal colds
, you can even get garlic pill supplements if you’re not a fan of the taste.
Mushrooms also are handy for fighting against pathogens because they have strong antimicrobial qualities
- which covers all microbes, so not just bacteria
but viruses, fungus, parasites which can all cause infections in the body. They’re also a source of antioxidants.
Learn more about Nutrition
If you’re looking to take a deeper dive into all things Nutrition, why not explore The Training Room’s online course selection! There’s plenty to choose from in our Health and Fitness offerings
, such as our Personal Training course that includes:
Active IQ Level 2 Certificate in Gym Instructing
Active IQ Level 3 Certificate in Personal Training
These courses can be completed part-time, full-time or done entirely online!
Or, if you’re gravitating more towards the Nutrition aspect, don’t worry! The Training Room has a Nutrition course that could spark your interest:
TQUK Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Nutrition and Health
Focus Awards Level 4 Certificate in Nutrition for Weight Management and Athletic Performance
Our Nutrition course is entirely e-learning based and although there is a set schedule, there’s an option to complete modules at a faster pace if you so wish.
You’ll receive excellent tutoring and career support along the way, find out more today!