The winter season can be cold and beautiful, but it is called “cold and flu season” for a reason! Many people associate winter with sickness, and not always just the cold and flu. Stomach “bugs” and mysterious, annoying illnesses seem to plague families in the winter. How can you avoid them? Is there anything you can do to prevent these nasty bugs from bothering your family this winter?
Yes! There are some things you can do to boost your family’s health and help keep illnesses at bay. Here are some tips.
Rest and Sleep
Many families have schedules that keep everyone running during the day and up late at night. But resting and getting enough sleep are very important for staying healthy. While it’s understandable that some nights are late nights, it’s not a good idea to make staying up late and being sleep deprived into habits. Help your children balance activities and homework so they will get to bed on time.
During the winter, there is not the abundant produce that we have in the summer. But there are still whole, healthy foods that are available and affordable. Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat pasta are readily available in the winter. Other healthy foods you can include in your family’s winter meals include:
* Winter squash
* Sweet potatoes
* Dried fruits like raisins, dried apricots, apples, figs, dates, cranberries, etc.
* Citrus fruits
* Frozen vegetables and fruits are more affordable and nutritionally similar to seasonal, fresh produce.
* Salmon and other fatty fish are good sources of fish oil, which is considered important for immune system health
* Greens like kale and collards
Vitamins and Minerals
It may help a lot to have everyone in the family on some sort of vitamin and mineral supplement. What supplement is best depends on everyone’s age and lifestyle; generally, a vitamin and mineral supplement that corresponds to family members’ ages should be fine. Make sure the supplement includes Vitamin D3, a key vitamin in fighting off illness, sources say.
Get Outside When You Can
The weather is not bad all winter. Whenever there is a sunny or milder day, get the family outside to get some winter sunshine and activity. Fresh air is a nice break from germ-laden, indoor air, and sunshine exposure helps your body make that important Vitamin D. If there’s snow on the ground, have snowball fights and build snowmen, and go sledding if you have the right kind of terrain. Winter hikes can be fun, too.