The drop in temperature in Winter increases your appetitie as your body fights to stay warm. When you're cold in Winter you'll most likely find yourself searching food. Eating helps generate heat, increasing your body temperature and keeping you warm in Winter.
Not only that but less sunlight means the stores of "feel good" serotonin levels in our brains can become depleted. This can lead to us seeking out carb-rich foods that boost serotonin production.
These two factors contribute to our tendency to overeat during winter, however the rich comfort food we crave are often loaded with fat which can have an adverse affect on our immune system. Healthy eating can benefit our immune systems, helping us fight off infections such as colds and flus and reduce the duration if we do succumb.
Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and beat the winter blues.
- Make sure you keep drinking enough fluids, a great way to do this in winter is by warming yourself up with a steaming hot cup of tea
- Vegetable laden soups are a nutritiously filling way to stay warm and keep healthy. Including good sources of carbohydrates such as sweet potato or pumpkin will help curb those carb cravings without the added calories
- Zinc rich foods like fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, milk and cereal can help fight infections while probiotic rich foods like yoghurt are a great snack option and have the added benefit of boosting your immune system
- Citrus fruits are in abundance in winter and studies have shown that Vitamin C found in these foods may make colds milder and shorter
- Make sure you have a good breakfast - one that includes wholegrains and lean protein is the best way to go. Wholegrains can prevent swings in mood and increase serotonin levels while protein helps steady blood sugar and can improve alertness.
- Get 30 minutes of exercise a day. Even if it's just short walk or exercises next to the couch in ad breaks, exercise boosts immune function and will help stave off infections
- Keep energy levels up and cravings down with five small meals a day
- Get enough sleep - too little and not only are you likely to bail out of your exercise program but your immune system will be weaker and more vulnerable to viruses