5 Tips To Stay Healthy Through Winter

The nights are starting to draw in, it is getting cold and wet. After work, all you want to do is crawl back home and snuggle in front on the TV. Someone in the office has got the sniffles and you know that you’re next. What can you do to prevent the lurgy attacking you? To a certain extent it’s a myth that ‘if it’s going around, you’ll get it’. You can optimise your own health with the below 5 simple steps so that the lurgy doesn’t get you!

  1. Positive Mental Health

If only it was as simple as saying ‘be happy’ and it happened. I know life is not that simple. However, it is scientifically proven that a happy and healthy mind lowers the cortisol (stress hormone) in the body that can take over and stop everything including our immune system working.

Practical steps:

  • Meditate – download a great app like ‘Headspace’ and challenge yourself to meditate for 10 minutes a day for 10 days. Or, come and have a relaxing Yoga Massage with me.

  • Find purpose in life – find work, a hobby or pass-time that you’re passionate about.

  • If you’re not mentally happy, go and seek counselling. This is something I have hugely benefitted from in my life and when you find the right counsellor it’s a real game changer.

  1. Sleep

It is now almost trendy not to sleep. ‘What you have time to get 8 hours sleep a night?’… you worry your friends are thinking, ‘God he’s a lazy f**k’. In fact, in my opinion I think this is a skewed social view of what success looks like. Why should running yourself into the ground give you the bragging rights?

Rant over – sleep… and sleep in total darkness! Why? Sleeping in total darkness = melatonin production in the body. Melatonin is one of the body’s most powerful antioxidants and will help soak up lots of nasty free radicals.

Practical Steps:

  • As above, sleep 7-8 hours in total darkness

  • Go to bed before 11pm, to help your natural circadian rhythm (just the body’s natural rhythm)

  • Get into a night-time routine (I feel for you shift workers out there!!)

  • Inhale lavender essential oil and put it on your feet before bed (this is where your biggest pores are, thus the best absorption point). This helps reduce cortisol in the body and gets you into a deeper sleep.

  1. Limit your ‘Toxic Load’

What does this even mean? Well, anything such as smoking, drinking, eating processed food and recreational drugs will all act as ‘free radicals’ or ‘toxins’ in the body. These things can weaken your immunity as you need more of the ‘goodies’ as listed in points 4 and 5 to soak them up.

Practical tips

  • It’s coming up to the festive season and we are all going to more social occasions than usual – but do you really need to drink alcohol every time you go out socially? Drink a glass of water between each glass of wine – small tweaks can make a big difference.

  • Do some batch-cooking on a Sunday so when you’re busy in the week you don’t run straight to the processed food in the supermarket.

  1. Gut health including good gut integrity and bacterial balance

Because of the above, lots of people have what we call ‘leaky gut’, which is where the digestive system becomes permeable and open to things including viruses and bacterial infections. Therefore, you need to heel the gut with supplements like Glutamine and Slippery Elm.

Also, the good bacteria in your gut are of vital importance when wanting to maintain optimum health as they are the first line of defence when fighting off the baddies. Research suggests we should have about 80% good bacteria and 20% bad or ‘opportunistic’ bacteria. However, when this ratio is out of kilter the good bacteria can’t fight off the baddies anymore and we are more susceptible to getting ill.

Practical tips

  • Take Glutamine and Slippery Elm supplements to heal the gut – this one is a good one.

  • Eat fermented foods to restore the good bacterial balance (fermented veggies, kombucha, kefir, tempeh, miso).

  • Take a probiotic capsule

  • Cut out processed foods, sugar and alcohol as this feeds the bad bacteria.

  1. Eat a balance diet

What is a balanced diet? Defining this has come under some scrutiny and I know this is different for everyone. However, if you need somewhere to start and you’re still working to government guidelines listen up! The government food pyramid will not give you optimum health – you’re better using the BANT Food Plate as a guide.

Practical Tips

  • Eat organic where possible – the pesticides can disrupt your immunity

  • Eat 6 portions of vegetables and 1 portion of fruit a day

  • Drink 2 litres or more of water per day (preferably warm in winter)

  • Make sure you are eating healthy fats and protein as shown in the attached BANT food plate – proteins and fats are needed to make antibodies which are so vitally important in immune health.

  • In Winter you will need to supplement (well I know I do!). With my clients I often suggest Mediherb Echinacea and Radiance C (by Pure Synergy).

This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but a great start. If you have some more complex underlying condition, then please seek professional guidance.

Disclaimer time: The information provided on this site should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this site. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals

#winter #health #fitness #nutrition #wellbeing #paleo #vitmains #minerals #naturopath

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