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6 tips on staying healthy through winter

The icy mornings and short days have hit Melbourne hard. With it, we become more susceptible to infection and depressive symptoms

Read below for my top 6 tips on staying well throughout the winter months.

1️⃣. Sleep. During winter, the increased darkness increases melatonin secretion in the body promoting sleep onset. Sleep supports promotes rest and repair of the body. In a season renown for infections, sickness and disease, enjoy this protective effect and try to get a little more sleep. Aim for 8 hours a night to support immune function.

2️⃣. Opt for complex carbohydrates (i.e. not sugary foods/drinks) when you get those carb cravings! Fewer daylight hours have an impact on carbohydrate cravings. Sunlight increases serotonin levels in your brain, but so do carbohydrates. Research suggests this may be why we crave carbohydrates during the winter as a way to improve mood. Whatever your cravings, whether pasta, pudding or a steaming hot chocolate, don’t deprive yourself completely of foods you love. Look for healthy alternatives e.g. substitute your white pasta with a wholemeal + add a palm sized portion of protein along with it.

3️⃣. Don’t forget the protein! Although carbohydrates are totally cravable they are notoriously unsatisfying. Protein helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduce those sugary carb cravings. Enjoy a source of protein at each meal to regulate bloody sugar and optimise immunity.

4️⃣. Stay social. Although winter can tempt us to stay indoors and become isolated. Ensure you head out with friends at least once a week to keep spirits high.

5️⃣. Over eating in winter has been linked closer to opportunity and mindset rather than physiology. Staying home more increases your opportunity to indulge and snack. Set boundaries around snacking for example keep kryptonite foods out of sight and consider a “less is more” approach.

6️⃣. Don’t forget the endorphins! Winter weather is renown for depressive symptoms associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder. Regardless of the weather, rug up and get outside to break a sweat. Exercise will help improve mood and battle the effects of stress on the body.

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