Stay happier, healthier and in better shape with these simple tips….

ways to boost your health

Get more sleep

Cold dark nights make us want to get under the duvet earlier, and that’s a natural instinct we should go with, according to Jessica Alexander, a spokesperson at The Sleep Council, as it’s an opportunity pay off a sleep debt. ‘On average we sleep six-and-a-half hours a night, much less than the seven to nine hours recommended,’ she says. Having enough good quality sleep improves energy levels and makes managing weight easier.

Take vitamin D

Public Health England says adults should consider taking a daily supplement of 10µg (micrograms) of vitamin D in the autumn and winter. Lack of vitamin D can affect bones, the immune system and even mood so it’s worth toping up your levels when sunlight is too weak for it to be made in our skin. Boots Vitamin D 10µg tablets cost just £2.19 for a three-month supply.

Eat lots of soup

Soup is warm and comforting, plus it can help you stay in shape. ‘The water in soup adds weight and volume so that you can have a satisfying amount without too many calories,’ says Professor Barbara Rolls, a nutrition expert at Pennsylvania State University. When a group of people trying to lose weight were asked to eat soup at least four times a week for ten weeks they consumed 100 fewer calories a day on average compared with those who had soup less frequently. Canned soup, such as a bowl of Heinz Mulligatawny Soup is low in calories – and it counts as one of your five a day!

Stay active

Wrapping up warm and going for a walk or run will keep you energised and boost your mood (especially when you do it in daylight). You burn more calories exercising in cold weather too. If you know you’re going to stay sitting on the sofa without the right motivation, find a winter exercise buddy you can’t let down.

Boost your good bugs

About 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive system, so keeping a healthy gut is important to keep colds and flu at bay. Food like leeks, garlic, onions and bananas contain components that nourish our good bugs, or you can also eat probiotic foods, like Activia yogurt or Yakult drink.

Wash your hands

By washing your hands regularly with soap and water you’ll be less likely to fall prey to winter viruses like cold, flu or norovirus. The NHS advises that washing your hands properly should take about as long as singing Happy Birthday twice (around 20 seconds).