The shoulder seasons of Autumn and Winter months are often when our immune systems take a big hit with coughs, colds, the flu and ‘walking pneumonia’ becoming more prevalent. There are some very effective natural steps that can be taken to fend off winter illness and increase your odds of staying healthy, strong and fit.
1. Wash your hands
One of the most effective ways to stay healthy this winter is to remember to wash your hands. This may seem like a simple step, but it is one of the most effective methods of kill germs that are passed on to you. Add some lavender oil into your soap.
2. Go the garlic
Garlic has been shown to be an intense immune booster, killing off several types of bacteria and viruses. Don’t be shy to toss some extra garlic into your sauces, pasta and vegetables. Garlic, horseradish, vitamin C tablets are easily obtained from the health food shop.
3. Boost your vitamin C and Zinc
Research has shown vitamin C to be one of the most powerful immune boosting vitamins available. This water-soluble vitamin can be found in oranges, orange juice, broccoli and in other fruits and vegetables as well as in high quality multi-vitamins. A good Zinc and C supplement is very useful to have in the cupboard.
4. Drink plenty of water
In order to stay healthy and keep digestion strong, it is important to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. If you don’t feel like drinking cold water, opt for herbal teas with ginger, cinnamon, peppermint and Echinacea.
If ‘C’ is the super immunity vitamin, then zinc wins the prize as the super immunity mineral. The richest food sources of zinc include beef, lamb, pork and salmon and as well as dairy products, whole grains, beans, nuts and nut butters, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Zinc lozenges are also widely available (and very effective for sore throats and ulcers) in most health food stores.
6. Avoid overdoing it on refined flours or sugars
Too much white sugar and flour will not only contribute to weight gain, but can also crash your immune system. Instead of products with white flours or sugars, substitute breads and baked goods made with whole grains and natural sweets such as fruit.
7. Keep active
Walk, swim and yoga your way through life. Continue your exercise routine through the winter to stay fit, boost your immune system function, decrease stress and keep your weight down.
Do you know the difference between a cold and flu?
Remedies for Colds and Flu
• YEP – IT’S AMAZING TEA!
• YEP tea is a classic blend of botanical herbs, which have traditionally been used by herbalists to support the immune system. The delicate combination of elderflower, yarrow and peppermint,
work synergistically to help reduce the duration and severity of a cold or flu, and support healthy respiratory function. A soothing blend, offering refreshing tones of mint and elderflower
• YARROW is a natural anti-inflammatory, and an antiseptic. ELDERFLOWER contains Volatiles Oils (Menthol) which act as a cooling agent to calm the body’s internal thermometer.
PEPPERMINT Is a mildly anesthetic on mucous membrane and helps the body to ‘sweat’ out the toxins
• Recipe: Pour boiling water over the herbs and then add honey, preferably manuka, fresh lemon and ginger – it’s like a wonderful warm hug.
• Winter Essentials
• Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin A, Cod liver oil (Vitamin A Omega 3 – jumpstart immune)
• ‘Feed a cold, starve a fever’ let the appetite dictate itself
• Signs of heat (fever, dryness of mouth, thirst, sore throat): Watery foods: cooked fruit and vegetables
• Signs of colds and chill (runny nose, mild fever) soups, with garlic and ginger, stews and teas
• Chicken Soup and bone broth for nourishment, rest and recovery, excellent source of minerals add some Brazilian/ Tapioca cheeseballs
• Sore Throat
• Zinc Lozenges
• Saline = 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water can settle itchy throat
• A throat spray/gargle made up from propolis (tincture) and thyme (tea), add sage to boost the effect
• Sage/Thyme tea = with ACV and Honey and excellent gargle
• Licorice, Myrrh, Golden Seal tea, gargle and drink
• Hot lemon and barley lemon drinks to soothe
• 3 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of warm water and gargleACV or Lemon juice in half cup of boiled water and gargle
• Mostly importantly – do NOT soldier on – Rest, Sleep and Recuperate
Maxine is a naturopath, nutritionist & medical herbalist with over 15 years clinical experience. With undergraduate and post graduate qualifications in Herbal Medicine, Nutrition and Health Science, areas of special interest are paediatrics, women’s health, cancer support and pyrrole disorder. Healthy Heights is a independent apothecary in Balgowlah Heights on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, pop in for a warming cup of tea and a chat. www.healthyheights.com.au