Top 5 tips for winter wellness
Updated: Feb 28
It’s late winter and several of my friends and family are off work at the moment with some kind of lurgy. It's everywhere right now, so I thought it would be a good time to think about how we can optimise our health during this difficult time of year (well I personally find it difficult with the shorter nights, colder weather and more time spent indoors!)
What can we do to either prevent acute illness occurring, or to reduce the duration of symptoms? Here are my top 5 tips!
1 Drink some tea (No, I don’t mean more of the caffeinated kind!). Staying hydrated with any tea is going to help and drinking a warm drink is much better for you than a cold one at this time of year. Two of my favourite everyday winter teas are:
Cinnamon, fresh ginger and cardamom: wonderfully warming and full of anti-microbial spices. Add lemon if you want a bit more zing.
Rosehip, elderberry and hibiscus: loaded with vitamin C and tastes delicious. I love elderberries and rosehips together - they are a great combination. Both have a long history in traditional medicine and are used in many different parts of the world. They are both rich in Vitamin C and contain anthocyanins. These compounds give the fruit their intense colour and have a protective role in the body as help to combat oxidative stress.
2 Try and eat a rainbow every day and don’t eat on the go. We all know that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is good but really how many of us do this well? Menu planning is a good way to make sure you have the right ingredients available to support your immunity. Avoid raw foods in favour of warming winter stews and broths.
3 Supplement with the sunshine Vitamin D. The evidence that this helps to boost immunity is overwhelming. Unless you work outdoors it is very unlikely
you will be getting enough in the British winter. My favourite Vitamin D3 comes in a spray. It is so easy to take - just 2 sprays gives you 2000iu and I take it at breakfast time so I remember.
4 Make time for self care. It is very easy for the work/life boundary to get a bit blurred especially if you are working from home. Taking a little bit of time out every day to nurture yourself feels great and will help you to stay well. It might feel hard to carve out the time - but it's SO important! My favourite things to do on a winter’s evening include relaxing in a lavender bath, lighting an aromatherapy candle and settling down with a good book.
5 Keep your natural medicine cabinet well stocked. You never know when an acute illness will occur and sometimes this can come on really fast! I have found that if you have some tools ready to go in your toolkit and you use these immediately it can definitely help. Ideally I will always have the following at home ready to go if I need them because they are proven to help boost immunity and reduce the duration of illness.
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and is involved in many different functions of the body. It is well known for helping with immunity and is an excellent anti-oxidant.
Our body cannot store vitamin C as it is water soluble; this means we need to make sure we are getting enough on a daily basis. Ideally we should be getting enough Vitamin C through our diet but there are times when it may be useful to take a good quality supplement.
Zinc is a metallic element that does lots of important things around the body. It helps to make new cells and enzymes, and plays an important role in processing the nutrients in our food. Zinc helps our immune system function properly, and plays a role in wound healing. Evidence suggests that if zinc is taken soon after cold symptoms start, the supplement can help shorten the length of colds.
Echinacea is especially useful during winter. Make sure you keep it close to hand! It can help stimulate the immune system, thanks to the natural plant compounds polysaccharides and alkamides. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and can decrease the frequency and length of a cold, and there may also be a preventative effect. Some think it’s most effective if
taken at the first signs of a cold, but it may also have an impact when your cold is in full swing.
Our bestselling therapeutic tincture is probably the most concenient way to take echinacea herb.
Echinacea is not suitable for children under 12 years old, pregnant and breastfeeding women or those with diabetes or an immune system disorder. In all these cases you should consult a doctor or herbalist before use.
In addition to keeping my medicine cabinet well stocked I also think about my freezer! If I am poorly I simply don’t have the inclination or energy to cook something nutritious from scratch. I just want something comforting and easy to eat - if I can pull some homemade chicken soup out of the freezer that’s perfect!