Updated: Oct 20, 2017
Easy tips for surviving winter
During Autumn and Winter it becomes especially important for us to look after ourselves to survive the onslaught of cold and flu season. If you are anything like me and most of the people I know, easy changes are the best option so here are six easy tips.
Garlic has an extensive list of benefits but can be particularly helpful in the winter. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties, especially when it comes to lungs, sinus infections and colds. Ideally one fresh garlic clove a day should be used. Mince the garlic and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes. Add to something palatable such as yoghurt or honey. Alternatively you can sprinkle the fresh garlic on top of your lunch or dinner.
It is advisable not to take high doses of garlic if you are due to have surgery or are on anti-coagulants unless under the supervision of a medical herbalist.
An apple a day (preferably organic)
As well as being a good source of vitamin C, apples are beneficial for your digestive system, both of which are integral to a healthy immune system. Apples are also rich in glucuronic acid, which helps decrease the recycling of hormones and toxins in the gut.
Get your vitamin D
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin and although it is in some food sources like oily fish and egg yolks, it is difficult to obtain sufficient amounts in your diet. Vitamin D is important for normal function of your immune system so for adults (19-70 years old) it is advisable to have 600-2000iu daily which you can get through a once a day supplement.
Echinacea can be helpful in managing colds, flu and upper respiratory infections. It is generally more effective to take Echinacea as a preventative remedy during the winter months rather than use as a treatment once an infection has started.
If you have an immune related disorder such us rheumatoid arthritis, Echinacea should not be used without the supervision of a trained medical herbalist.
Warming herbs such as ginger and cinnamon make wonderful, soothing throat teas, as they are packed full of anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial compounds. Place some sliced ginger and a broken cinnamon stick in a pot of water and boil for 10-20 minutes. Top off with a drop of manuka, organic or local honey and enjoy.
Supercharge your meals.
Use fresh or dry herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme on top of your meals. Not only do they pack in a flavour punch for salads, soups and anything else but they are full of anti-oxidants to help maintain a healthy you through the winter.
If you have any specific medical conditions or are taking prescription medication, it is always advisable to discuss with your doctor, pharmacist or a trained medical herbalist before taking any supplements or herbal treatments.