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Stay well this festive season

By the GHA Health Promotion team

Christmas is a hectic time of year and many people feel tired and sluggish during winter.

This is due to the lack of sunlight, which disrupts our sleep and waking cycles.

Some top tips:
• Spend time outdoors in natural daylight as much as possible
• Get a good night's sleep
• De-tress with exercise or meditation - get out with the whole family to try out a new activity (ice skating or taking a brisk winter walk on the beach or through the park). Regular exercise helps control your weight, boost your immune system, and is a good way to break the tension that can build if the family is constantly cooped up inside the house.
• Eat healthy- When it is cold and dark outside, it can be tempting to fill up on un healthy comfort food. Try and include five portions of fruit and veg a day.
• Winter vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips can be roasted, mashed or made into soup for a comforting winter meal for the whole family.

Explore varieties of fruit and veg that you may not normally eat. If you find yourself craving a sugary treat, choose a juicy clementine or satsuma instead. Milk and dairy products such as cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are great sources of protein, vitamins A and B12 and calcium, which helps keep our bones strong - choose semi-skimmed, 1% or skimmed milk – rather than full-fat – and low-fat plain yoghurts.
Eating a warm bowlful on a cold morning is a delicious way to start your day; it also helps boost your intake of starchy foods and fibre. Oats also contain lots of vital vitamins and minerals. Make your porridge with low-fat milk or water, and avoid adding sugar or salt. A sliced banana, berries or other fruit will add flavour and help you hit your 5 A Day target.

• Avoid consumption of alcohol in excess but make sure to keep hydrated with enough water.
• Refrain from smoking
• Ask your local pharmacists for advice on coughs, colds, sore throats, aches and pains.
• Make sure your medicine cabinet is stocked adequately and check the sell by dates.