Diabetic Living dietitian and diabetes educator Dr Kate Marsh shares her top tips for staying well in cold weather:
STEP ONE: Eat right
While following a well-balanced diet is a trusted prescription for general good health and wellbeing, a few key nutrients are particularly important for your immune system. Getting enough of these over winter may help reduce your risk of becoming sick or shorten your recovery period if you do end up in bed with a bug. So amp up your intake of:
- Vitamin C from citrus fruits, kiwifruit, berries, capsicum, tomato, broccoli and spinach.
- Zinc found in fish, seafood, lean meat and poultry, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds and dairy foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese.
- Vitamin A in yellow-orange and dark green vegetables such as carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato and spinach.
- Vitamin D from fatty fish, eggs and dairy. However, most of our vitamin D comes from the action of sunlight on our skin, so going for a walk at midday in winter can help to maintain healthy levels.
STEP TWO: Exercise regularly
A study has found that regular, moderate-intensity exercise (20 minutes or more five days a week) can reduce your risk of developing a cold by more than 40 per cent, and if you do get sick, the symptoms will be less severe. Moderate-intensity exercise (think brisk walking, cycling and swimming) gives the best results. Very high-intensity exercise, such as running, can be a stress on the body and may temporarily reduce your immunity. Get started by checking out our exercise physiologist-approved 7-day exercise guide!
STEP THREE: Sleep tight
Insufficient sleep can have a negative effect on your immune system. In fact, a recent study found that those who slept for less than six hours a night were more than four times more likely to develop a cold compared with those who managed seven hours or more. Struggling to get a good night's zzz's? Shape up your sleep with these top tips from our experts.
For more tips on staying well all year round, grab a subscription to Diabetic Living today!