Healthy Holistic Tips for Winter

Simple Tips for Staying Healthy During the Winter Months

Winter

(Courtesy and credit By Melissa Furneaux - http://blog.alchemyelixir.com/)

• Get a good night’s rest; In addition to a healthy immune system, adequate sleep is linked to balanced hormone levels, clear thinking, improved mood, radiant skin, and weight management. While everyone is different, most people need about 8 hours per night. If this is unrealistic for you, focus on the quality rather than the quantity of your sleep by making your bedroom a tranquil environment and eliminating sources of light or using a sleep mask.

• Drink water! Staying hydrated is important year round, but particularly during this time of year, when there is a good chance that we are consuming more coffee and alcohol at social events, both of which dehydrate the body. In addition to staying hydrated, adequate water intake will promote balance within the body, help your liver and kidney’s to flush toxins, and decrease sugar cravings. While everyone is different, 8 glasses per day is a good goal to aim for. 

• Garlic is particularly beneficial for the immune system, as it promotes warmth and moves energy throughout the body. Specifically, most of garlic’s benefits seem to be attributed to sulfur-containing compounds. To get the greatest benefits, try eating it lightly cooked, or raw if it is not too intense for you.

• Fermented foods have been an important part of traditional diets around the world, but are commonly lacking in North American diets. It is estimated that up to 80% of our immune system is in our G.I. tract. Foods like traditionally prepared yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi , and miso contain probiotics that promote intestinal balance by allowing “good” bacteria to flourish.

• Try to take some time for yourself during this busy season, even if it’s only a few minutes each day. Pay attention to the first signs of a cold, and listen to your body. While short term stress is a very helpful adaptation, chronic stress (>2 weeks) decreases memory, lowers immune activity, and will lead to adrenal fatigue, among other things.

• Lemon and apple cider vinegar are both very cleansing and alkalizing, promoting a healthy pH balance within the body. This will also support the growth of healthy bacteria, as many problem-causing bacteria thrive in a more acidic environment created by stress or excess sugar and meat. Try drinking hot lemon water in the morning, incorporating either into dressings and sauces, or sipping on lemon water throughout the day.

• Ginger is antibacterial and stimulates the immune system to act against invaders. With its warming nature and pungent flavour, it has a particular affinity for benefiting the lungs and respiratory system. It is also an excellent remedy for nausea. Try making a simple tea from chopped, fresh ginger.

• Lets not forget the importance of exercise and fresh air, as poorly filtered office air is the perfect environment for spreading germs. Exercise releases mood-boosting endorphins, increases immune cell activity, circulation, and helps you excrete toxins via sweat.

• Zinc is essential for many aspects of immune function, including infection-fighting T-cell, NK cell, and lymphocyte activity, as well as being directly involved in antibody production. It is found in oysters, shellfish, meats, eggs, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Pumpkin and squash seeds are especially good sources. As with everything, moderation is key, as too much zinc may actually decrease immune function.

• And last but not least remember to laugh! Every cell in our body is physiologically affected by how we feel! Finally, if you do find yourself feeling under the weather, only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary since they will lead to imbalances in your GI tract. Following a course of antibiotics with probiotics can also be extremely beneficial in rebalancing your system. There are also many herbs available to support the immune system, including Goldenseal, Echinacea, and Astragalus. Herbs are powerful and work synergistically; A professional herbalist can help you find the most appropriate combination to fit your needs. Hopefully you’re now feeling a bit more prepared to face the upcoming few months strong and healthy! Happy Holidays, everyone!

(Courtesy and credit By Melissa Furneaux - http://blog.alchemyelixir.com/)