The arrival of the cooler weather promotes an invigorating and refreshing shift in our energy but can also present a greater challenge to our immune system and our commitment to keeping fit and healthy.
Here are ten simple strategies to boost your mood, supercharge your immune system and keep you feeling focused and energetic the whole way through the winter months.
Salute the slow cooker: Winter is the perfect time to enjoy wholesome foods like soups and stews that are nourishing for the body and soul. Resisting the temptation to seek out processed comfort foods is easy with the help of a slow cooker. With minimal preparation time, you can wake up to a delicious breakfast or arrive home from work to the delightful aromatic infusion of vegetables, meat, herbs and spices. This economical style of cooking not only draws out the flavour in foods but also aids to conserve the nutrient-rich juices of the vegetables and meats.
Support gut health: Bone Broths can be prepared in the slow cooker or stovetop and are one of the top ways to heal the gut and support immune function. Rich in collagen, hyaluronic acid and glucosamine, bone broths are not only beneficial for the elasticity and repair of internal tissues but also for keeping your skin hydrated and looking more supple all year round.
Spice it up: Cayenne pepper adds a powerful kick to soups and broths and helps to stimulate your body’s circulation. This spicy herb also assists in breaking up and moving congested mucus and is therefore very helpful in alleviating symptoms of the cold and flu. It contains powerful antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E, which help support immune system activity. One of its most beneficial wintertime uses is its ability to promote weight loss by enhancing the metabolic rate and suppressing the desire to overeat.
Keep hydrated: As we turn up the heating systems it can be easy to become dehydrated as moisture is pulled from the air. Staying hydrated in winter is especially important to prevent the mucous membranes of our delicate tissues on the inside of our nostrils from drying out. The mucous membranes provide a protective barrier and secretions that help fight against the microorganisms that cause flu and colds. Drinking herbal teas containing ginger, turmeric and lemon is an excellent way to stay hydrated and are great for boosting immune health.
Herbal Therapy: Powdered herbal formulas like Living Valley Bodyguard enhance your body’s ability to fight disease and maintain optimal performance throughout winter. A spoonful daily with your yoghurt or smoothie is a convenient way to incorporate eight of the most powerful herbs used in traditional medicine. Withania, Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng and Licorice Root are particularly beneficial for enhancing immune function by modulating the body’s response to stress. Also included is Bacopa to promote greater concentration and memory, St Mary’s Thistle to support liver function and detoxification, Slippery Elm for its healing and soothing effect on the digestive tract and whole leaf Stevia for its antioxidant properties. Another powerful nutritional ingredient is pineapple core. The high levels of bromelain found in the core of pineapples have shown to modulate hyperactive immune functions thereby, helping to alleviate asthma and allergic symptoms.
Keep Active: Exercise enhances your immune system and increases levels of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin, which is often low during times of reduced sunlight. An additional benefit of winter training is that your body uses more energy to keep warm meaning you burn more calories. Be inspired by at home workouts on YouTube and Pinterest or get to the gym for a spin class with your workout buddy. Set yourself winter workout goals and aim to get your body in top condition ready for the big reveal when summer does eventually arrive.
Soak up the sunshine: Exposure to sunlight is a fantastic way to maximise serotonin levels and increase vitamin D in the body. Research shows that maintaining healthy levels of both of these hormones can really help elevate your mood during the winter months. Vitamin D can also be effective in the prevention and treatment of colds and flu. Even if you only expose your face and hands, try to get at least 20 minutes of sunshine a day.
Start taking Fish Oil: Supplementing with fish oil is also great for boosting vitamin D levels. Scandinavian countries that experience long harsh winters have some of the lowest rates of seasonal related depression that has been accredited to their higher consumption of seafood products. Fish oil is also a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, which have shown to play a beneficial role in boosting the immune system, reducing joint pain and stiffness and improving vigour and energy. Other good plant sources of omega 3 include chia seeds, walnuts and ground flaxseeds.
Get tropical: Coconut oil is another incredible oil to use in cooking and as a body and hair moisturiser during the winter months. It is an excellent energy source and can actually help burn fat and moderate your appetite. Just some of its incredible benefits include its antimicrobial and antifungal activities and its ability to improve memory and brain function.
Actively fight flu and allergies: Bee Pollen is rightly considered a superfood due to its incredible nutrient-dense properties and its antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial activities. These tiny golden granules are not only a powerful defence against colds and flu but they can moderate the immune system’s response to allergens. Bee Pollen has also proven helpful for relieving inflammation, protecting liver cells from toxicity, promoting healing and relieving stress. Just adding a spoonful to your yoghurt or smoothie can enhance your energy all day long.
As a part of our commitment to supporting your wellness this winter, additional health and fitness resources are available here. We have even included a bonus bone broth recipe direct from the Living Valley kitchen.
To access high-quality sources of the winter wellness products mentioned check out the Living Valley Health Shop. Or to chat with one of our friendly product assistants call 1800 644 733 and they would be happy to guide you through the essentials for staying healthy and happy this winter.