7 ways to keep healthy and fit this winter

7 ways to keep healthy and fit this winter

Author: Canadian Living


7 ways to keep healthy and fit this winter

He's back! Old man winter has returned and Canadians are sipping hot chocolate by the ice rink, building snowmen and sitting by a fire on chilly nights.

Although outdoor winter activities are a lot of fun, the colder months are often the time when our immune systems take a hit and coughs, colds and the flu becoming more prevalent. Fortunately, there are very effective natural steps that can be taken to fend off winter illness and increase your odds of staying healthy, strong and fit.

Staying healthy this winter means taking natural steps like these.

1. Wash your hands
One of the most effective ways to stay healthy this winter is to remember to wash your hands. This may seem like a simple step, but it is one of the most effective methods of kill germs that are passed on to you.

2. Opt for garlic
Garlic has been shown to be an intense immune booster, killing off several types of bacteria and viruses. Don't be shy to toss some extra garlic into your sauces, pasta and vegetables. Odorless garlic supplements are also available at most health food stores.

3. Boost your vitamin C
Research has shown vitamin C to be one of the most powerful immune boosting vitamins available. This water-soluble vitamin can be found in oranges, orange juice, broccoli and in other fruits and vegetables as well as in high quality multi-vitamins. Chewable or liquid vitamin C is also available in most health food stores. Ester C (a unique form of vitamin C that is buffered with calcium to increase absorption) is also available in several multi-vitamins or as a single supplement.

4. Drink plenty of water
In order to stay healthy and keep digestion strong, it is important to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. If you don't feel like drinking cold water, opt for a herbal tea that also offers plenty of anti-oxidant benefits, such as mint tea, green or white tea or berry teas.

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5. Remember your zinc rich foods
If 'C' is the super immunity vitamin, then zinc wins the prize as the super immunity mineral. The richest food sources of zinc include beef, lamb, pork and salmon and as well as dairy products, whole grains, beans, nuts and nut butters, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Zinc lozenges are also widely available (and very effective for sore throats) in most health food stores.

6. Avoid overdoing it on refined flours or sugars
Too much white sugar and flour will not only contribute to weight gain, but can also crash your immune system. Instead of products with white flours or sugars, substitute breads and baked goods made with whole grains and natural sweets such as fruit or fruit juice.

7. Keep active
Continue your exercise routine through the winter to stay fit, boost your immune system function, decrease stress and keep your weight down.

If you have exercise equipment at home, fitting in a 45 minute work out three to five times a week should not be a problem. Otherwise, invest in some fitness DVDs, a gym membership or bundle up and go outside for a winter walk. For those of us on a busy schedule, fitting it all in can seem difficult. I recommend waking up an hour earlier during the week and maximizing weekend workouts.

Your nutrition, exercise and supplement regime can help to boost immune system function and keep you healthy and strong this winter. Wishing you a wonderful winter season!

Read more:
Expert tips on staying flu-free
Should you get a flu shot?
The 5 best antioxidant-rich foods

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Dr. Joey Shulman DC, RHN is author of the best selling book The Last 15 – A Weight Loss Breakthrough and is founder of The Shulman Weight Loss Clinic. For more information, please visit


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7 ways to keep healthy and fit this winter