5 natural ways to beat the bugs this winter

We are fast approaching winter and it’s that lovely time of year where you can enjoy hats and scarves on long walks, getting snuggled up by a log fire and restful early nights as the days become shorter. Sadly, along come those pesky cold and flu bugs too.

Preventative action is always wise, so keeping yourself fit and healthy through the colder months is imperative. Poor lifestyle choices such as bad diet, inactivity and stress can lead to a weakened immune system and leaves your body wide open for bugs to invade and have a party! The following tips will help keep you healthy and reduce the risk of infection.

Number One: Healthy diet

Ensure you get a good dose of nutrition by eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of vitamin C from fruit and veg is essential. Include lots of leafy greens, broccoli, kiwis, citrus fruits and berries. Dairy tends to cause more mucus so if you are suffering from a cold, its best to use dairy alternatives to help reduce snot and phlegm. 

Number Two: Plenty of fluids 

Always drink plenty of water, I love adding lemon and ginger to one part cold and two parts hot water for the following benefits:

  • Lemon provides vitamin C, staves off hunger, cleanses the digestive tract and hydrates you quicker. (always cover the fresh lemon in cold water before adding the hot or you will destroy the vit c)
  • Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory so can reduce muscle soreness, arthritis pain, helps fight infection, eases digestion and can improve brain function.
  • Warm water hydrates you quicker as you are more able to absorb at body temperature.

Number three: Add turmeric to everything!

Turmeric is another great powerful anti-inflammatory super food which is said to prevent cancer, so adding fresh organic root or ground powder to currys’, stews, soups or smoothies is a great idea. Turmeric has many benefits, including:

  • anti-aging which is particularly great for winter time when your body needs an extra boost
  • may ease symptoms related to arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer and other chronic disease
  • boosts mood and reduces depression – beat the winter blues!

I like to make a paste to keep in the fridge and either have a teaspoon a day on its own, or make a really delicious warming Ayurvedic bedtime drink by adding it to almond or other non-dairy milk and warming it through.

Make the paste by mixing 1/2 cup of mineral water with 1/4 cup of 2 parts organic ground turmeric and 1 part ginger powder in a saucepan and heating for about 6 minutes or until thick. Then add 3/4 tsp of black pepper and 2.5 tbsp organic coconut oil. When ingredients are fully mixed together, take off the hob to cool and transfer to a glass jar to store in the fridge. (you need the oil and black pepper for the body to take on the turmeric so don’t leave out!) This can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.  

Number four: Make sure you get outside

Once winter sets in, we definitely spend more time inside in stale working or home environments with central heating or air conditioning where bugs are rife. Be sure to take a walk in your lunch break, get outside for a bike ride or whatever takes your fancy, getting that fresh air in your lungs is so important to keep you vibrant and healthy. Being in nature is also good for your well being as it reduces stress, lifts your mood and helps you feel refreshed.

Number five: Sweat it out

If you get a cold, you can use these two remedies to raise your body temperature to ‘sweat out’ the bugs:

  • Run a hot bath and add Epsom or Himalayan rock salts, a few tsp of ground ginger powder and essential oils (I like peppermint and lemongrass to invigorate or you can use lavender for relaxation or eucalyptus to clear blocked nose)
  • Use a sauna or steam room to sweat it out, although not so good for others in the room if a local facility! The above method has the same effect and you can do it at home.

In addition to the above, its a great idea to keep active through the winter. Usually our yin energy is predominant making us feel like we want to become hermits and cosy up on the sofa in the evening. It’s good to honour this energy to a certain extent, but do keep active by adding in some cardio (running, brisk walking or cycling outdoors is ace!) and yoga to keep the body moving and joints fully mobile. Our bodies are built to move, so keep active and you will rest better 🙂

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