8 Unexpected Ways to Stay Healthy This Winter
It happens every winter: You get a flu shot, you bundle up and you get plenty of rest. But somehow, the office bug catches up with you and you end up in bed for four days. Not this year. We checked in with Amy Kurtz, health and wellness coach and the author of Kicking Sick: Your Go-To Guide for Thriving with Chronic Health Conditions, about how to keep your immune system in top shape this winter.
Take a Probiotic
Even if you’re good about taking a multivitamin, including a probiotic supplement in your morning routine will increase your digestive health and boost your immunity. “The good bacteria will balance out the bad and keep your gut (which contains 70 percent of your immune system) in tip-top shape all winter,” Kurtz says.
Cut Back on Sugar
Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to scale way back on junk food. “You know what they are,” says Kurtz. “Processed foods and sugar, sugar, sugar.” Take your coffee black with a splash of almond milk, pack your lunch and dinner with dark leafy greens and have fruit for dessert. You’ll thank us in April.
Sip Bone Broth
Looking for a warm, satisfying lunch that’s also great for your immune system? Meet bone broth. “It’s rich in vitamins and minerals and doesn’t tax your immune system, so it’s one of the healthiest things you can put in your body,” Kurtz says.
Take a Hot Bath
What’s the one thing you do all summer long, but rarely do in the winter? (No, not drink daiquiris.) Sweat. “Your perspiration contains salt, ammonia, urea, trace minerals and metals, which all increase your overall toxic load,” Kurtz explains. Sprinkle a warm bath with Epsom salt and lavender, then soak to sweat it all out.
“Reducing stress is particularly important during flu season,” Kurtz advises. “Exercise keeps your immune system healthy, but don’t overdo it.” Try yoga to relieve tension and get your heart pumping simultaneously.
Sanitize Your Phone
News flash: Your cell phone is the germiest thing in your life, and you touch it all. Day. Long. Use a screen cleaning wipe, or a solution of one part rubbing alcohol and one part water on your phone once a week to keep it from getting you sick.
Drink a Mocktail
Why does your throat feel so scratchy in the winter? Blame it on the dry heat blasting through your radiators. “Drink even more than you think you should,” Kurtz advises. “And if you’re bored with the taste of H20, make a mocktail.” We’re loving this Italian Bramble (courtesy of Artful Desperado) with frozen blackberries, juniper berries and rosemary.
Spice Up Your Supper
In the winter, Kurtz suggests stocking up on three spices: oregano, turmeric and garlic. Oregano is a strong antifungal antioxidant that supports immune system health, turmeric has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and garlic provides cardiovascular and antimicrobial benefits, so use them liberally in all your winter recipes—like this salmon bowl with turmeric-tahini dressing.