The season for colds and flus is well and truly upon us, as well as a dip in energy levels that come with the shortened hours of daylight. Here are some of my tips for staying in good health in the colder months:
- Eat warm foods: While salads and other cold, raw foods are nutritious, and good to include in moderation in warm weather, it is much better to focus on warm, cooked foods in Winter, think porridge, soups and casseroles. Doing this helps the digestive system work optimally and therefore allows for better nutrient absorption.
- Drink warm liquids: Following from the above point, keeping warm by drinking warm beverages throughout the day is a good idea - you can include hot water with fresh lemon and ginger, herbal teas and hot water with a little apple cider vinegar.
- Remember your hat and scarf: This is an obvious one, but sometimes easily forgotten. From a Chinese Medicine perspective we consider Wind and Cold as the climatic factors that can invade the body and cause illness, especially if we go outside in windy and cold conditions without wrapping up.
- Bone broth: Most of us know the restorative properties of a home-made chicken broth and every culture has it’s own version. There are many recipes out there, and indeed, I’ll put one up on the blog soon - but at it’s simplest it involves long slow cooking of bones of your choice with some vegetables added in too if you like. A great tip is to add some apple cider vinegar - this helps to break down the bones to release the nutrients.
- Find the balance: In Winter when we find our energy levels are not quite what they were at the height of Summer, it’s important to take adequate rest and get enough good quality sleep, but we can support our bodies by incorporating moderate exercise too; this will help boost circulation, keep you warm and support immune function.
- If you find yourself getting flus and colds throughout Winter you may be short on some key nutrients in your diet. As well as making sure you have a balanced diet it may be worth supplementing with Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D, all of which are essential to immune system function. Elderberry and astragalus are other traditionally used immune system boosters. Be sure to source a good quality supplement from a health food shop.
- Watch out for stress: If life is stressful, this can take quite a toll on the immune system. Look for ways that will lower your stress levels, be it meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage, or time with friends and family, and if life is busy schedule these things in as being as important as other commitments. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup, so make self-care a priority.
- And finally, acupuncture - Did you know that acupuncture can help you to recover from flus and colds much faster? And it also provides additional support to health through the Winter months.
To find out more, or to schedule an appointment, click here.