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Remember when your mom used to tell you to put on a jacket when heading outside in cold weather so you don’t catch a cold? Your mom was right about a lot of things, but on that bit of advice, she was just plain wrong. And although some of mom’s wisdom really was backed by doctor recommended insight, there are plenty of winter health myths that deserve to be busted once and for all.
MYTH: You lose most of your heat through your head, which is why it’s important to wear a hat. (You lose heat through lots of different parts of your body, not just your head.)
MYTH: You don’t need sunscreen in the winter. (Nope. Just because it’s cold outside, that doesn’t mean the sun isn’t emitting UV rays.)
MYTH: You shouldn’t exercise in the cold. (While this is a nice excuse to stay indoors and pack on a few winter pounds, getting outside in the winter isn’t bad for you. In fact, it’s GOOD for you!)
So now that we’re aware of a few cold-weather myths, what can you do to stay healthier in the winter? Below are some things I’ve been doing to keep my family’s health in tip-top shape this season:
SLEEP RIGHT AND EAT RIGHT – To keep your immune system in firing on all cylinders, be sure to get plenty of rest and eat a healthy, balanced diet. One of my go-to dietary staples in the winter are smoothies. They’re easy to make, they’re delicious, and they’re loaded with vitamins. (See the “Very Berry Smoothie” I made below. The recipe is at the bottom.)
WASH YOUR HANDS – Washing your hands is important throughout the year, but it’s even more important in the winter when communicable diseases like the cold are running rampant. Also important: Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and be sure to use plenty of moisturizer to prevent your hands from drying and cracking (which can make you more susceptible to illness).
USE PROBIOTICS – Probiotics are the “good bacteria” your body needs for digestive system balance. You can get them in many yogurts, but you can also take probiotics in daily caplet form. During the winter (and throughout the year), I use a natural probiotic called insync from CVS. It’s a gradual release probiotic that’s doctor recommended and filled with six natural probiotics.
- 2 cups of mixed berries
- A handful of fresh spinach
- 1½ cups of Greek yogurt
- 1 cup of milk
- Blend all ingredients until smooth