We are commonly asked at this time of the year for ideas and tips to stay healthy whilst it is cold and damp.
Is the question, ‘what to take?’… a herb, a remedy?
Maybe, but is that actually a truly helpful level of advice?
Here are some of our thoughts and opinions below, different ideas and concepts to consider incorporating. Coupling the darker percentage of our day, the potential stress and culturally busy emphasis over the winter months, it is a time when we can experience the areas of us that most require support.
By noticing the messages and signs we receive from our body, mind and spirit, we can choose to re-balance and avoid the labyrinth of suppressive, compensation measures that are quick fixes with a potential kick-back. By respecting the shift in the environment around us we can tune in and maintain resilience and strength from a centred place.
Respecting our physical form
How we choose to spend or conserve our energy is important to consider so we are able to adequately care for our immune and nervous system.
Hydration with clean water assists adequate detoxification and prevents stagnation of waste products in our cells as well as intestines. When it is cold outside, try tepid or warm water, with a pinch of unrefined sea salt for mineralisation or some lemon juice to assist the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder aiding digestion. Hot teas are soothing but remembering the concurrent importance of pure water.
In the Traditional Chinese health system, the kidney and adrenal energy are regarded as the storehouse of reserve energy or life-force. Winter is a time for restoration and regeneration ready for spring, so enjoy extra rest and sleep, slowing down the hurry.
Maintaining a balanced gut micro-biome, assists the strength of the immune system. Be aware of tendency for acidity at this time of year with sugary, rich, processed foods and alcohol which may encourage an imbalance of gut bacteria which may then signal the craving for more sweet things. By not eating foods that the individual is sensitive to, the gut lining remains calm and natural healing is enabled. If our intestines are irritated, then the immune system that protects us across this membrane can be over-worked, in the long term becoming depleted and exhausted. This stress can divert the response from acute needs as they arise.
To assist immune strength, eating mineral rich green vegetables can reduce overall acidity from festive foods. Eating good sources of omega 3 essential fats like oily fish, nuts/seeds and avocados can also provide essential building blocks for the immune system.
Noticing any mucous congestion in either nasal/lungs/urine or bowels, can offer the opportunity to make choices to reduce congestion in the body that hampers the natural defence processes of the immune system. Avoiding immune suppressors like excess alcohol, refined sugar, processed vegetables oils, lack of sleep and stress can support a healthy immune system and enable the hundreds of liver processes to not be overwhelmed.
Reducing EMF/Wifi/mobile exposure allows our cells to cleanse and repair without potential electrical and magnetic interruption. Consider ways to reduce your exposure, placing distance between devices and humans, remembering the vulnerability of children in developmental years, remembering the unseen influences around you and if you’re with the people you love, switch off.
Sulphurous foods like onions, chives and spices assist the liver and the pungent nature also helps keep the lungs clear of mucus that easily builds at this time.
Cook warming soups, stews, hotpots, longer cooking times provide warmth for our kidneys, retaining nutrition and nourishment that can be more easily assimilated by our digestive system
Cooked oats if tolerated contain beta glucans for immune support, they also have a yang energetic so are warming for the winter.
Additional alkalinity and minerals can be enjoyed by incorporating seaweeds, either dried flakes or nori sheets. Seaweeds also provide many of the essential sugars that feed and build our immune system.
Topping up on immune supporting vitamins and minerals can be helpful like zinc from pumpkin seeds, oysters and ants, selenium from brazils and poultry, the family of B vitamins, and Vitamin D from raw grass fed dairy, eggs, fish.
Noticing our environment
Look out for mould in your house, keep your home warm and dry. Using a dehumidifier may really help as well as allowing air flow.
Keeping ourselves warm is less stressful especially for our reserve kidney energy.
Nature’s health supportive gifts
Higher doses of Vitamin C when needed can be useful especially when sourced from whole foods like camu camu, acerola berries and rosehips. There is substantial research demonstrating the effectiveness of synthetic Vitamin C in acute cases for short term use.
Tree mushrooms like cordyceps, reishi and coriolus have been shown to contain anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal compounds. The also provide the polysaccharides (essential sugars) that may assist our immune system to work more effectively. See our selection of mushroom extracts in our shop.
Other supportive natural gifts are oregano oil, clove, colloidal silver, ginger, garlic and apple cider vinegar.
Many traditional herbs can be used for specific circumstances, for example, pau d'arco, cats claw and echinacea, but always bear in mind any medical conditions you may have or medications you are taking. Seek medical advise where appropriate.
Lung and sinus congestion can be assisted with the essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, sage or Olbas oil steaming.
Exercise in fresh air by going for a walk each day, movement and stretching keeps our lymphatic system able to drain toxicity from our tissues.
Rebounding on a mini-trampoline is really helpful.
By exposing our skin to daylight we can continue natural production of Vitamin D and serotonin to avoid low mood, low serotonin may lower immunity
Sweating in the sauna may boost immune function by increasing core body temperature, heat also liquefies the lymph fluid to assist detoxification, keeping our channels clear, which in turn takes the strain off the other organs of elimination that have to be processed through the liver and kidneys.
Community and nourishing our soul
By responding and not reacting, by breathing and maintaining calm, presence we can have greater control over our exposure to stress.
The value to being among those we love is a great tonic, time to relax, laugh and enjoy good company.
Embracing the new year
Introspection and meditation, to reflect and plan for changes can foster hope for the future.
We each stand before a new day, every day, so why not shape it and create a new vision for yourself in 2018.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is intended for educational, informational and awareness purposes only, and is copyright protected to Soul Integrity Ltd partnering with the Health Wisdom Institute. Through our services and educational material, we have no intention of offering any diagnosis, treatment or cure for any condition or disease, but rather to support the natural self-healing and re-balancing ability of body, mind and spirit through awareness and knowledge. Full responsibility remains with each individual for the decisions made about their own health and life.