It’s hibrrrrrnation time. Are you one of those people who claim, “I get sick once or twice EVERY winter”, and so you just sit idly by, waiting for the bugs to come and take you out? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way! It’s not actually about how persistent the bug is — it’s more about you being strong enough to throw-off their attacks.
The more you can do to fortify yourself over the winter period, the less likely you are to succumb. And, if you’re healthy, should you fall prey to the bugs, you are more likely to put up a good fight.
Read on to find out how following simple dietary and lifestyle guidelines, as well as arming yourself with 1–2 immune ‘big guns’ such as Vitamin C & Slippery Elm, can help you fend off the ‘lurgy’ this winter.
Don’t be so snivelling
During winter, you really need to hunker down and support your immune defences. It is recommended that you put some fundamentals in place:
- Consume hearty & warming food (soups, stews and casseroles)
- Keep your anti-nutrients to a minimum (sugar, smoking, caffeine, and alcohol)
- Drink adequate amounts of filtered water or herbal teas
- Wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face (particularly your eyes, ears and mouth)
- Get regular exercise (of mild-moderate intensity)
- Get outdoors whenever possible (dress warmly)
- Get to bed — early!
For added immune-health insurance, it is advisable to invest in a good quality multi vitamin & mineral (or Spirulina), and take some immune support such as Vitamin C, Echinacea, or a probiotic.
When the bugs come calling
Unfortunately, despite all your best efforts it’s still possible to catch something. But the good news is that if you have followed the fundamentals above, your version of it may not be as severe or last if it could have. Also, keep in mind that the best way to fight winter bugs is to rest. Convalescence is necessary for a quick and complete resolution of immune challenges.
Note: The best-case scenario is that these ills and chills only last for 2–3 days, after which you should return to full health.
At the first sign of feeling unwell you should:
- Rest — try to move around as little as possible
- Eat a bit less than normal, and aim for easily digestible soups, broths, stews, so your body can focus on recovering.
- Keep up your fluids (filtered water, soup, or broth)
- Avoid all types of sugar (this includes fruit juices and honey)
- Keep warm (to raise your body temperature)
- Ramp up your immune support: increase your dosage to 3–4 times the amount that you would normally take.
Taking Vitamin C is like sending a warning shot to bugs
This winter, instead of reaching for a number of different, highly specific, single-action treatments why not simply take a ‘decent’ daily dose of Vitamin C? Many people take this vitamin infrequently or only as required. They think it’s only uses are to help simple health conditions or for aiding iron absorption. You should actually use Vitamin C on a daily basis — as it has many beneficial actions in the body.
Vitamin C has the ability to perform a myriad of synergistic actions within your body. In addition to being good for general health & wellness, using this vitamin regularly can assist you with the following:
- Ills & Chills: Respiratory health, seasonal immune challenges or responses to environmental irritants
- Feeling ‘blue’: Vitamin C is also helpful to support normal blood pressure & cholesterol, to heal wounds, to make energy and to fight free-radical damage.
The recommended adult dosage:
The optimal amount of Vitamin C has been shown in research to be:
- 1 to 3g = daily maintenance dose
- 4 to 6g (or more) = a short-term therapeutic dose
Healthy mucous membranes equals a healthy immune response
Slippery elm is very soothing to the mucous membranes. Among other beneficial uses, if you drink a preparation of this herb it is wonderful for hoarse or dry tickly throats and tight chests. It is a must-have herb in your home-remedy kit.
Note: Take any medications or supplements away from this herb (by approximately 2 hours), to ensure they are correctly absorbed.
Alternatively, you could take a liquid extract containing herbs such as marshmallow, thyme, horseradish, cayenne and ginger. This will help to support your chest & lung health, assist airway clearing, and support relaxation of your airways.
Please note: If you follow this general health advice but still find that you’re suffering from continued poor immune function, then consult your Naturopath or Medical Herbalist. You may be suffering from another health concern that is impacting negatively on your immune health such as poor gut function, low thyroid activity, prolonged stress, or lymphatic issues.
TAPS No: PP9955
By Lisa Fitzgibbon, Naturopath & Medical Herbalist
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath + Medical Herbalist. She draws on her professional training + experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice. Lisa writes the popular health blog: www.lisasaid.so.
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