Winter Vitamins and Tips for Health
Preparing for a healthy winter
As a naturopath I get asked a lot at this time of year what we can do or take to keep ourselves in abundant health through the winter.
As the saying goes “by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”. Preparing your body for the winter will help you sail through those dark days and cold nights with a vital force that is hopefully able to throw off any germs it comes into contact with.
These are my basic top tips:
Fresh air and exercise
Whilst it might feel less tempting to go for a walk or head to the gym, the importance of having some time out to clear your head, breath in some fresh air and get the blood moving is imperative to keep our immunity strong. Take at least 30 minutes of the day to walk preferably with an incline to really get the blood moving.
Whilst this isn’t one for the vegetarians, the benefits of chicken soup should not be forgotten. It has been a wellness tonic for centuries and for good reason. It contains important minerals that are easily absorbable such as magnesium and calcium and phosphorus. It also contains the amino acid cysteine which can thin the mucus in the lining of the lungs so it can be expectorated more easily. As always supporting our gut improves our immunity which this is good for too.
Try and eat at least once a week.
During the winter months it can be harder to notice when you are dehydrated as you don’t sweat as much. Good hydration flushes out toxins from the body, maintains efficient bodily functions and keeps the body energized. Drink herbal teas containing turmeric, ginger, rosemary and cinnamon as these are warming and help keep the natural fire of your stomach burning and invigorated.
My preference is always to try and get your essential vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet but this can be harder to do these days due to poor soil quality, synthetic inputs and long air miles. Finding a local organic grower for your vegetables is ideal and helps you eat more seasonally, supporting your body with the food it should be eating at that time of year.
When that isn’t available you can incorporate the following supplements:
We are often told to eat lots of garlic during the winter to keep us healthy. By eating garlic all the time its effectiveness at combating colds and flus is reduced.
Ideally you want to be eating it just as you start to feel a little run down and eat a lot of it! Using a raw garlic clove as a suppository is also a quick way to help your body fight back as well as knocking on the head any lingering urinary infections.
You can of course supplement with garlic capsules if you don’t like the garlic breath!
You only have to take a walk in a park or along a country lane and you can see the abundance of berries presenting themselves in September. This year seems like a bumper year indeed.
These are natures immunity larder. Each one is packed with antioxidants that pack a punch against colds and flus.
Pick blackberries and whortleberries for freezing or eat straight away topped on cereal and smoothies. In last week’s blog I shared a recipe for elderberry syrup.
You can of course supplement Vitamin C and my all-time favourite brand is A Vogel chewable tablets made with food source sea buckthorn berries, acerola berries and passion fruit for a complete vitamin. Unlike most Vitamin C on the market which is made with ascorbic acid (a synthesized version) this is food based so more recognizable by your body.
Vitamin C helps our iron absorption which is a bonus too.
That bright circle in a sky, our friend the sun shines less frequently over the winter so we cannot make as much Vitamin D. Vitamin D maintains healthy bones and muscles as well as supporting positive mental health.
If you supplement with about 600iu per day it helps our body maintain the summer levels we are used to.
Zinc has been shown to help reduce viruses replicating so taking it within 24 hours of starting to feel ill can reduce the duration of the cold or flu. About 75mg per day is recommended.
I suggest you use like garlic.
Stay tuned for more health and wellbeing tips and ideas over the next few months.
Stay well x