What to Do (and Eat) to Stay Healthy This Winter

Nutritionist Michelle Book shares her tips on how to not get sick during these cold, rainy days.

November 30, 2016

By Daniela Rodríguez Chevalier

Cold and flu season is here, but with office holiday parties to attend, multiple Christmas markets to visit and other festivities ahead, you certainly don’t want to get sick. A recent survey of 1,500 Canadians conducted by the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) revealed that the vast majority (95 percent!) of British Columbians believe their overall health impacts their level of happiness. We chatted with the CHFA’s in-house holistic nutritionist, Michelle W. Book, to get a few tips about how to keep the bugs at bay—and stay happy—this winter.

Top Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter:

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1. Eat Well!

Nutrition is a key element. “You really want to make sure you’re eating properly and getting enough nutrients so that your immune system stays strong,” says Book. According to the CHFA survey, tea, oranges and chicken soup are the most popular foods among British Columbians when they’re feeling under the weather. “It is also a good idea to incorporate spinach, peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts into your diet,” Book suggests. These veggies contain a lot of Vitamin C, which helps minimize the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms.

When snacking, reach for a good trail mix: nuts contain beneficial levels of selenium and Vitamin E that improve white blood cell count and boost your immune system. “And don’t forget to hydrate,” Book insists.

stylish bedroom interior design with black and white pillows on bed.
2. Sleep Well!

Seventy percent of British Columbians said lack of sleep is the factor that negatively impacts their health and happiness the most, followed by stress (59 percent) and lack of exercise (51 percent) as revealed by the CHFA survey. The percentage of adults who sleep less than six hours per night is currently greater than at any other time on record. “Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (at least six hours a night),” Book suggests, “otherwise your immune system will not be as strong as it should be.”

Athlete runner feet running on treadmill closeup on shoe. Jogger fitness shoe in the background and open space around him. Runner jogging training workout exercising power walking outdoors in city.
3. Exercise Well! (or just…walk)

You probably don’t want to get out of bed when you’re sick, but think of exercise as a preventive measure. Walk home from work or climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator. “It’s been proven that people who walk thirty minutes a day actually cut their sick days by half,” says Book. Exercising 30-60 minutes daily will help flush out the bacteria from your lungs, improve overall circulation, and release stress-reducing endorphins. So, basically…walk!

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