I usually dread winter, but these healthy and wellness tips from leading Melbourne naturopath Tim Altman has me looking forward to making the most of the chilly months ahead!
Enjoy the benefits of sauna
Take advantage of the contrast between the cold of the environment and the warmth of indoors by embracing the fantastic health benefits of saunas. Whilst not widely understood or used in Australia, saunas have been extensively used in Scandanavia, Northern Europe, Russia and Japan for thousands of years. Research has indicated they offer benefits including:
Great for detoxification
Boosting the immune system and preventing colds and flus
Glowing, clean and healthy skin
Improved recovery from exercise
Increased muscle power and concentration
Generalised feeling of well-being (post sauna)
Two saunas a week will make a huge difference. Either conventional saunas or far-infrared saunas can be used. Many saunas also come complete with light therapy facilities which are also fantastic for preventing the winter blues (often referred to as SAD).
Consult your health or medical practitioner for information on healthy and safe use of saunas.
Engage in regular short bursts of exercise
Whilst the shorter and colder days make it difficult and less inviting to be outdoors for as long as in the warmer months, regular short bursts of exercise (i.e. 30minutes, 5-6 days per week) will be great for your energy levels and metabolism – and therefore your waistline.
Embrace delicious seasonal foods
Many of the winter fruits and vegetables have incredible health benefits including prevention of cancer and heart disease. Citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, whilst green leafy vegetables, including cabbage, kale, spinach, lettuce etc., are probably the richest in nutrients of any foods in the vegetable kingdom. They are high antioxidants, vitamins A and C, folic acid and the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron.
Other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts are also high protein and are also extremely rich in many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Take a vitamin D supplement
Recent research has indicated that a majority of Australians are deficient in vitamin D (especially over winter) – manufactured in the skin when in contact with sunshine (UV rays), vitamin D plays a vital role in utilization of calcium and phosphorous for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis. It also plays roles in cardiovascular health, the immune system and prevention of some cancers.
What are your best tips for surviving winter?