Are You Winter Wellness Ready?

October 19, 2018

After a long hot summer and a mild autumn, it seems a bit of a shock to the system to suddenly find that the mornings are chilly and all of a sudden, people are coughing and sneezing all around us. As the weather changes it is a good time to give take time to look at your diet and lifestyle to see where and how you might want to change things around. We automatically change our wardrobes as the seasons move on, so why not our supplement regimes and lifestyle?

On average, an adult will get one or two colds a year, children can get up to ten! Households with children in school or day-care can get around twelve colds between them. So, if you can’t avoid it, making sure you look after yourself so that you recover quickly is important.

Why do we get colds in winter? There are many theories as to why, one of the most obvious being that we spend more time indoors and in close proximity to others. One simple prevention method could be to get outside more, also as some researchers feel that viruses are susceptible to ultra violet light, it may help kill off the viruses. As there is less daylight around in the winter, do try and get out for a walk on a crisp sunny day, your immune system will thank you.

Warm, centrally heated homes, workplaces and public transport can dry out the mucous membranes of the nasal passages, making them more vulnerable to viral infections. Lower humidity and colder weather also allows viruses to survive better.

Many germs and viruses will be in unlikely places, you are far more likely to pick up a virus from a door handle or handling money than you might think. A simple solution is to wash your hands regularly. Use hot water and soap or a hand wash and dry your hands thoroughly. This is a great habit to get children into and important for anyone that works with lots of people such as in shops and schools.

As the days get shorter, it might seem there are fewer opportunities for getting fresh air, if this is the case, aim for a 20 minute walk during a lunch break. Getting exposure to daylight helps our mental and physical state. A brisk walk can help the circulation, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk.

At this time of year, we need to keep our nutrient levels topped up to cope with the seasonal changes. In the winter the demands placed on our immune systems increases. Give yourself plenty of nutrients through your diet and use food supplements to eliminate any shortfall.

Easy ways to increase your nutrient intake is to plan ahead and take a packed lunch to work, rather than rely on ready made sandwiches and fast food. Making a batch of vegetable soup that you can take in a flask or heat up at work, will provide you with vitamins and minerals, plus slow release carbohydrates to keep energy levels up through the afternoon. Follow it with a live yoghurt or a piece of fresh fruit. Your body and your wallet will thank you!

Keeping hydrated is also important, especially if you are in a centrally heated environment. Drinking water or herbal teas, will help you feel less tired and also supports healthy skin. Try herbal teas with warming spices such as cinnamon and liquorice for a delicious caffeine free drink. Use a mate or green tea for an afternoon lift and a chamomile or lemon balm based one to help you relax in the evening.

When it comes to supplements, you may want to look for extra support for the immune system during the winter months. A good multivitamin is always a good idea, especially if it contains antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E along with selenium and zinc. You can also use more specific supplements that will focus on zinc, vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Along with nutrients to maintain a healthy immune system, there are certain herbs that you may find useful too. Although many people are aware of echinacea, it is best avoided if you are allergic to daisies or have an auto immune problem. Other herbs with a long history of use include the South African Geranium, Pelargonium which has been traditionally used for coughs and colds. Andrographis paniculate is another plant that research suggests can help reduce the number of days you experience a cold, if taken at the onset.

So, what can you do? Have a look at all the supplements you may have been taking over the last few months. Do you need to freshen up your regime to include more winter wellness support? Think about what you are eating, have you got into a rut with a takeaway fast food lunch every day? Think about making a soup or salad to have at lunchtime. Look to nuts, seeds and fresh fruit as snacks that will provide nutrients, rather than sugar laden biscuits and cakes.

What are you drinking? Could you improve on the amount of water you are drinking? Are you relying on coffee for a caffeine hit to keep energy levels up? Try to cut down if you are drinking more than normal and use Green Tea as a pick me up drink.

And don’t forget to look at the supplement regime and diet of your family, it is a good opportunity to get everyone heading in the right direction and have a winter full of wellness.

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