Life can be complicated enough at times. But our health and well being doesn’t need to be. By making things easier, especially when it comes to living healthy and happy lives, we are able to flourish and thrive in life, not just survive.
Winter can sometimes have us feeling a little off kilter. Are you feeling a little extra stressed? Or run down? Has your fitness been falling by the wayside or has your diet been a little ordinary? All these things may be placing an extra heavy load on your your immune system. Your body may then be at risk of not being able to ward off and defend itself from foreign invaders that make us feel unwell.
Therefore, preparing your immune system to withstand this winter’s lurgies begins with a just few simple, but key foundations. We like to call this the Winter Wellness Quadrant. Here’s what it looks like:
1. Rest and restore
AKA sleep and relax! *Did you know that without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines? These cytokines are a particular type of protein that targets infection and inflammation in the body. Aim for seven to eight hours of sound sleep each night, preferably getting to bed before 11pm to restore energy and allow your immune system to regain its strength and resilience.
Being stressed reduces immune system function and steals energy and nutrients from your immune system, leaving you susceptible to infections. By making sure you incorporate regular time-out doing anything that helps you restore and rejuvenate. Do what works for you! Spending time with friends and family (even if it is via virtual means at a distance at the moment), incorporating meditation and/or calming mindful activities, getting some ‘green’ time walking outdoors, immersing yourself in nature or playing with pets in the backyard. The key here is ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY! Breathe in calmly and out fully.
2. Hydrate and nourish
It is no surprise that eating beautiful fresh fruits and vegetables is the cornerstone of health at any time of the year. But when winter comes around, certain foods, as well as how how your food is are prepared will be your super power during winter.
Aim for at least two serves of fruit and three cups of vegetables daily. Minimum. And furthermore, by filling your plate with a big rainbow of colour gives you an extra boost of nutrients and antioxidants to help build strong immunity. Eat more warm and nourishing foods a leaning toward lightly cooking your vegetables, is a great option in winter. A nice hearty vegetable soup can help break down mucus that often comes with colds and flus.
Eliminate or reduce foods such as refined sugar and refined carbohydrates, dairy, wheat, processed foods, and alcohol, that can negatively influence immune function.
Favour foods rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. Go for a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots as well as garlic, ginger, onion and chilli to help fight off illness, warm you up and reduce inflammation and to boost your immune system to help fight viruses and bacteria.
A word on water
Your body needs water to function properly at any time. And our immune system relies heavily on the nutrients that we carry in our blood stream. Being dehydrated can hinder those nutrients getting to where they need to be.
3. Move and flow
Our physical and energetic body is naturally slowing down and preparing for hibernation, deep rest and warmth during the winter months. And according to Erica from Gracewood Massage during these chilly days, it is even more important to keep the blood circulating and prana (life force) flowing.
Exercising regularly and remaining active doesn’t just make us feel good, but according to our friends at Metagenics, it also reduces the frequency of contracting a cold by up to 46%. However, moving doesn’t have to be strenuous heart pumping HIIT session. We are talking about movement, moving your body. Getting your blood flowing. This can be a walking, skipping rope, strength and weight training. But it also means stretching and yoga, dancing, or playing golf, or even dry body brushing, infared saunas and massage. Yes, you read right! Did you know that massage is a must during Winter? As mentioned, we need to keep the body flowing, moving and free from stagnation, and relaxation massage is the ultimate solution to poor circulation, dry skin, tired muscles and sluggish/fatigued energy levels. We say yes to that!
Boost your essentials
Winter essentials and immune nutrients are key for cold and flu prevention. Having an immune first aid kit, to keep you and your family well will be your secret winter weapon. You might like to consider including some of these:
Zinc: This key mineral assists your immune system in functioning optimally, and helps to reduce the severity and duration of a cold or flu.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C supports healthy immune function by enhancing the activity of your immune defence army of white blood cells; also reducing severity and duration of symptoms.
Probiotics: These friendly bacteria live in your digestive system and enhance health, and even immunity. Probiotic strains, Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM), Bifidobacterium lactis (HN019) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001), have been scientifically proven to enhance immune responses. By providing healthy gut immunity, you are providing the best defence against inhaled and ingested pathogens.
Andrographis: This powerful herb stimulates the body’s natural immune response, and significantly reduces the duration of colds. You or your loved ones can take this herb as a preventative to keep your immunity strong; it can also be used acutely as soon as you get cold symptoms
A word on supplementation
It is very important that you do not take any herbal or nutritional supplements without the guidance of your health care professional. Certain nutrients and herbs can interact with medications, other nutrients, and can also be toxic if taken incorrectly. Our aim is to provide you with the highest quality care possible. Which is why only stock herbal and nutritional supplements that are practitioner only, therapeutic strength and clinically effective. Do you need some assistance with your immunity this winter? Book in with Candace Borg for a 15min mini consultation to ensure you are providing your body with what it truly needs to stay well.
During these uncertain times, our team of qualified practitioners are here to provide you with any help and support you may need. Click on the Our Team or the Contact located at the top of this page to get assistance. Stay safe, stay well.