Doctor shares important tips on how to avoid winter illness and stay healthy

A doctor has shared a series of helpful tips on how to stay healthy this winter.

With cold weather and dark nights drawing in, seasonal illnesses are likely to spread over the coming weeks.

Eating healthily and exercising outside can be harder to maintain as the weather worsens but it is important to give your body the best chance to keep infections at bay.

With that in mind, following recommendations from health professionals can help keep you in peak condition over the winter.

Liverpool Echo reports that Dr Qian Xu, an A&E Doctor and Medical Director at REDjuvenate Medical, has provided six bits of advice to winter-proof your health.

Start with sleep
A lack of sleep makes your body more susceptible to illness and increases the time it takes for you to recover if you catch the dreaded winter flu.

Make sure you sleep for at least seven to nine hours a night in winter, allowing your neurons to switch from awake to sleep and start sending signals to your organs that it’s time for rest.

Drink plenty
During winter, it can be hard to drink enough fluids.

This is a biological impact of winter; your thirst reduces to help the body conserve heat.

However, hydration is key to fighting off infections and should always be prioritised, so drink at least two litres of water a day.

Eat the right foods
Eating the right nutrients becomes even more important to your body as you try and fight off colds and flu.

The best approach is to shift your diet with the seasons and choose seasonal produce.

They tend to be grown locally and are naturally rich in the vitamins and minerals your body needs in the season.

Move more
Exercise is key to good health no matter what time of the year.

We often find ourselves stuck sitting at a desk, barely moving for hours on end but you must stay active.

When we exercise, our body releases cytokines that help regulate inflammation.

Vital vitamins
Vitamins cannot be created in our bodies – we have to obtain our vitamins from our diet to help our body function normally and protect ourselves from the threats of germs and illness.

These supplements that can help you fight off the winter flu:

Vitamin D: The sunshine vitamin. Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight.

Vitamin C: Strengthens your body’s immune system. It won’t help you keep an immunity against the dreaded cold and flu, but it will reduce the severity of any cold you may catch.

Vitamin B: There are many B vitamins, each bringing your body different benefits, from maintaining your cell health to making you feel energised.

Iron: An often overlooked mineral. It is responsible for producing haemoglobin that is responsible for carrying oxygen around your body.

See the light
You should try to spend as much time outside in the few lighter hours as possible, whether this is a walk at lunch or just a quick dash outside.

It all helps to keep your body healthier in winter.