(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:
- Turmeric is a relative of the ginger root.
- Turmeric adds the yellow color to foods such as Indian curry and yellow mustard, and is often used as a dye for its rich pigment.
- When dried and ground, the underground stem of the turmeric plant can be used to make capsules, tablets, teas, oils and more.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (people in kitchen, woman lifting weights)