We all want to have tremendous energy and vitality to feel good and get things done, right? Especially in winter, when we have fewer day hours and colder temperatures that drain our energy.
As winter is approaching, keeping our energy levels steady may seem harder to achieve at this time of the year. However, it’s not impossible – simplification and prioritization can help us stay on top of things and avoid energy losses. Start by looking at your daily routine, become more aware of what’s making you tired or have that afternoon sluggishness.
As long as what you can actively do about it – here is your winter energy toolbox!
1. Nutrition – you are what you eat. Do you fuel your body right? Do you get quality nutrients from your food? Do you get at least 50% vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants in your diet? Antioxidants and especially vitamin C (citrus fruits and juices, green vegetables) may help boost your immune system and fight colds, although studies are inconsistent and the effects are dose-dependent.
Science Daily shows that larger doses of vitamin C may lead to a greater reduction in common cold duration.
However, consume it rather from your foods than by taking supplements with vitamin C. And get it daily, and not just at the start of the cold symptoms, as Harvard Medical School advises.
2. Water – are you drinking enough water? This means drinking 2-3 liters of liquids per day, including water, tea, smoothies, soups, fresh juices. Especially during the cold season, it’s important to drink warm beverages that will keep you warm, hydrated and the body can absorb better.
Drinking enough water can benefit your skin, muscles, joints and overall body, and boosts the energy levels and improves circulation. Water also helps the body absorb nutrients better and flushes away toxins, helping fight off potential colds and infections specific to the cold season.
Also, hot liquids help with digestion by supporting regular bowel movements. They also help fight off colds simply by keeping you warm in winter.
Dehydration can cause dizziness, increased stress and anxiety. You may also need to drink more water if you are a heavy coffee or green/black tea drinker since they have a lot of caffeine that is known to promote dehydration.
3. Drink more coffee or caffeinated beverages – research from Harvard Business Review says that up to 5 cups of coffee/day (or a total of 400 ml).
Another article from Harvard School of Public Health named “Caffeinated or not, coffee linked with longer life” shows that the compounds in coffee show potential health benefits, the most notable being an increased life span. The study analyzing data from about half a million Britons found that coffee consumption was linked to a 14% decrease in mortality rates, during the 10-year study period. An interesting finding is that it doesn’t matter if coffee is caffeinated or not, it’s the overall composition that matters – good quality coffee, freshly grounded and well-prepared, to keep its most nutrients. This is good news even for people suffering from heart diseases since they have a choice too – the decaf option – that may promise the same health benefits. Apparently, an increased quantity does not seem to offer additional health benefits.
So, the good news is that up to 5 cups of coffee daily is acceptable unless you have a particular condition (such as suffering from heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers) and your doctor advises otherwise.
4. The cold temperatures outside – simply do not put yourself in a position to get a virus. Winter is always linked to increased cases of colds and flu, by increasing a person’s risk of contracting a virus or compromising their immune response. But since you cannot avoid cold weather altogether and sometimes exposure to moderately cold weather can boost your immune system, the key is to stay warm. And of course, try to avoid crowded places, with still air, which is a favorable environment for viruses to multiply.
5. Get more sleep – of course, sleep is important, but sleep quality is priceless. It promotes good energy levels, a stronger immune system, temperature, stress and mood regulation. It influences good physical and mental health. For most adults, 7-9 hours of sleep are ideal, but its quality is the most important thing. However, it’s hard to define sleep quality. Pay attention to how you feel in the morning – you should feel rested and energized. Never underestimate the power of sleep for restoring your body’s functions. A few quick tips for a quality sleep are a relaxing bedtime routine, a good mattress, the room temperature and air quality, reducing the use of electronics with at least 1 hour prior to sleep. Ideally, go to bed at the same hour every night, before midnight. It appears that every hour of sleep before midnight is worth two-three hours after midnight. Again, focus on quality, not quantity.
“If you’re looking to avoid the cold or flu this fall, make time for sleep!”, The National Sleep Foundation also advises. Their polls conducted in the US show that two-thirds of adults experience frequent sleep problems, which prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep.
Now, imagine the compound effect that all these factors may have! After all, winter does not necessarily equal colds or flues. Prevention is better than cure, so start by focusing on these 5 things that can improve your energy levels and give your immunity system a boost!
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