Eating a healthy diet is just part of the picture. Dr. Hark has other tips to help you stay healthy:
Wash your hands. Your hands come in contact with germs throughout the day. The best way to get rid of them is by washing your hands thoroughly. This is an important part of food safety, too. Wash your hands before preparing meals, after handing raw meats and before serving foods. Make sure everyone at the table has washed their hands, as well.
Get enough rest. The National Sleep Foundation says most kids don't get enough sleep, and many adults don't either. When you don't get enough sleep, you are more likely to get sick. If you're having trouble getting a good night's sleep, it may help to avoid eating late at night, or just have a bedtime snack.
Get your flu shots. Dr. Hark says that it doesn't matter whether you are young or old, getting a flu shot is a good way to prevent the flu. Vaccination is even more important for the elderly and people with respiratory conditions.
Get some exercise. There is strong evidence that people who exercise don't get sick as often. Exercise is important all year, even in the dark and cold of winter. Dr. Hark suggests having a plan to keep active in the winter, such as walking on a treadmill, using exercise videos, jumping rope, or going to the gym. And don't forget to bring your workout gear when you travel; many hotels have workout rooms and swimming pools.
Thanks to Dr. Hark's suggestions, getting a cold or flu doesn't have to be an inevitable part of winter.
Interview with Lisa Hark PhD, RD, director of Nutrition Education Programs of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, December 3, 2007.