December 1, 2022
As always, we seem to have raced to December and the end of the year. Once again, we have had a year of many ups and downs and major changes on a global scale and for many, changes on a more personal level.
We are living in stressful times and it can be easy to forget to look after yourself, especially in the run up to Christmas when you may be spending a lot of time think of the welfare and happiness of others. If you are the one who ‘does everything for everyone’ or maybe you know the family member or friend who is that person, maybe it’s for the gift of a little self-care.
Taking a few minutes out of the day to do something you want to do for yourself can have a lot of positive benefits. It gives you chance to gather your thoughts, relax with a cup or tea or a really good coffee, five minutes breathing space, time to re charge your batteries.
Maybe use that moment to try something new that will also do you good, perhaps a herbal tea or infusion. There are so many to try these days, you are bound to find one you like. Fruity or spice, floral or more herbal, if you pick the right one, you can find a blend with help relax such as lemon balm or lavender, help you sleep with chamomile or hops or support the digestion with fennel and peppermint. Not only do you get the benefit of five minutes down time, the herbs can help you too.
At this time of year it is easy to get overwhelmed with so much to do, remember to take five minutes out and switch off for a few moments of calm.
Looking at what you eat can also have a big impact on your overall health and with the current cost of living issues, many of us find we are looking carefully at the weekly shop. Simple changes can mean you can still have nutritious and healthy meals without a big bill. It may take a little more planning and preparation, but in the long run it can be more economical and better for you. Use cheap and plentiful vegetables to make soups or bulk out meat based meals. Look for those wonky veg or the boxes that some supermarkets sell with fruit and veg that might be a little past their best. They can be great buys and help you extend your cooking repertoire too. There are plenty of recipes online to help you cut waste and work with what you have yet still create tasty meals in an economical way.
Supplements can play a role too. Some may consider them an expensive luxury, but again with some thought as to what you actually need and looking at good quality supplements with the nutrients in forms that are easily absorbed and utilised, can be an important part of your daily life. Anything that can help you stay well and live well, is a good investment.
During the winter it makes sense to look after your immune system with a healthy diet and supplements.
A healthy nervous system is so important if you find yourself getting stressed and anxious. B vitamins are needed for the nervous system to function properly and also play a role in reducing tiredness and fatigue, even if you don’t normally experience these things, they can suddenly become apparent at this time of year. Wholegrains such as wholemeal bread, cereals, brown rice and nuts are all a source of B vitamins, but if you feel you are not getting enough or not eating these foods, then a supplement is a good idea.
During December we also see very little sun and that can make you feel low or in some cases lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, where you experience depression due to the lack of light. In that case, it is not only B vitamins which are important, getting as much daylight as possible is also important. If you can’t get outside, a daylight or SAD lamp can help. A light box that you sit in from of for a set amount of time each day, to mimic exposure to daylight.
Lack of sun, means that during the winter months we are also missing out on vitamin D. The NHS recommends that people take a supplement during the winter. Not only important for bone health, research shows that vitamin plays an important role in mood balance and the immune system too. Available as tablets and drops, fish oil based and vegan forms from lichen are available.
After the last few winters, a healthy immune system is something we are all acutely aware of. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables can provide nutrients such as vitamin C which is important for immune health. If you are not very good at eating a regular amount, a supplement can help provide an extra intake. Vitamin C is water soluble, meaning we don’t store it in the body for very long, so a regular intake is important. Supplements can also provide bioflavonoids, a vitamin C co factor helping to absorb and utilise the vitamin C.
Zinc also supports a healthy immune system, you can find zinc in nuts and seed, red meat and shellfish. You can also take it as a supplement either alone, ideally with some copper in the formula too, or in a multi formulation. Zinc has also been suggested to help those who have lost a sense of taste or smell following a cold.
You might not imagine that your digestive system is a key part of your immune system, but a healthy gut microbiome, the good bacteria that is a key part of our digestive system, is responsible for around 70% of our immune system. So although you might think that taking a supplement of friendly bacteria is important to help with the excesses you might throw at your digestive system during Christmas, you will also be supporting your immune system.
Looking after your gut microbiome system not only helps your digestion, it also plays an important role in the functioning of your immune system.
These friendly bacteria help keep the gut clean, help digestion process and can even help produce some B vitamins, so try and add some yoghurt or other fermented foods or a supplement, to your daily routine. Your digestive system will thank you.
However you celebrate, or even if you don’t, take some time at the end of the year to give yourself a present. Think about what you are eating, take note of your supplements and get the best from them, take time to get outside and get some daylight and fresh air whenever possible and know that it is okay to take five minutes out when you need it.
We would also like to take a moment to wish you and yours, all the best for a healthy and happy 2023 from everyone at AOR.Back to Blog