• Caroline O'Hagan

Winter is coming....get ready with these tips

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

Apart from the obvious winter that is coming (YAY!! if you aren't a Game of Thrones fan, I apologise), our actual winter is coming. It may not feel like it right now; here in Queensland we are at the beginning of what is apparently going to be a high 30s heat wave (when will summer end?!) but it will soon be chilly and lovely and cool again....for a really short time.

It's not really the cold weather that makes us get cold and flu's and infections, however - our immunity is not magically lowered because the temperature is - in fact, we tend to get sick more in the winter because we close the windows restricting fresh air flow, we put warm clothes and blankets on ourselves, giving any bugs we have caught a delightfully cosy breeding ground, we tend to stay indoors more, not getting as much valuable vitamin D, or grounding ourselves on the frosty floor, and in sharing indoor space with others - like in shops or movies - we expose ourselves to other peoples germs possibly more than in summer time.

We wish..... but it's nice to dream!

Personally I am not one for having the house closed up, at any time of year. Come visit me in the middle of winter and you will find most of our windows open. We choose to rug up instead and enjoy wearing warmer clothes, while keeping the fresh air coming. In the summer we avoid air conditioning as much as possible, despite having 4 units in our house, choosing to manage with fans and fresh air as much as we can. If the airborne germs get trapped inside, thats when they have time to float around looking for a host, so keep the windows open when you can, and try to clear the air every day at least.

Diffusing essential oils that have anti-microbial properties can help too, but shouldn't be relied on entirely. Make sure you have fresh air flow in the house, all year round, but especially winter, to avoid bugs and germs!

Get outside as much as you can to get sunlight and fresh air. This seems like a no-brainer but many people will hide inside and keep away from the cold. Studies like this one, have shown that cooler temperatures are great for the metabolism, increasing the appetite, while also activating the burn of "brown fat", so getting out into the cold and having a brisk walk or doing some form of exercise is great for you, and you may even lose some weight as a bonus!

We sleep better in cooler temperatures, so try and resist the temptation to make your bedroom too warm at night. Opt for blankets that keep you just warm enough but not hot. Again, we like to have a window cracked at night, while having a lovely cosy blanket on the bed.

According to National Geographic, shivering for 15 minutes has the same benefits to the body as exercising for an hour!

So letting yourself get cold every now and then is a good thing - but not too long, you don't want to get too cold and end up with hypothermia! You should never get so cold that your own body cannot regulate your temperature back to a safe amount, within a few minutes - so if you decide to try this, be sensible and make sure there is someone with you!

Be sure to stock up your natural medicine cabinet!

My top tips for strong immunity in the cooler months (and all year round to be honest!) - Vitamin C! If you get sick, you can up the dosage (talk to me first) because vitamin C only stays in our bodies for about 6 hours after taking. Its necessary to take a dose 3 times a day at least, if you are sick, but for maintenance or preventative measures, taking 1g of Vitamin C each day is excellent for your immunity.

In the winter months, we have an abundance of citrus fruits here in Australia, so be sure to stock up with seasonal Oranges to eat or make juice while they're cheap! We are lucky enough to have citrus trees on our property, and we juice oranges and mandarins most days. It's wonderful.

We also have lemons, and if anyone has the slight indication there might be a cold coming, its straight on to the hot honey and lemon drinks for them!

I only ever use Raw Local Honey that I usually get straight from the bee keepers themselves, at markets, nurseries or similar places.

Into a cup of near boiling water, squeeze the juice of 1/4 of a lemon, and 1-2 tablespoons of honey and stir. Optional - add a few slices of fresh ginger.

This is a beautiful soothing drink, which will help boost your vitamin C and immunity, the honey can provide some immunity to local pollens and allergens, and will help with a sore throat and cold while rehydrating fluids lost from sneezes and coughs! Have a few each day while you are unwell - replacing caffeinated drinks is preferable, as they are inflammatory and can prolong the life of a cold.

There are plenty of lovely herbs that will help you to recover faster from a cold, infection, virus or flu, so if you are sick and would like some herbs to help you feel better, contact me to arrange an acute consultation.

My favourite herbs for colds and winter bugs include Echinacea, Andrographis, Golden seal and the incredible Elderberry (the syrup you can make from fresh berries, is packed with anti-oxidants, vitamin C and is a powerful healer). But vitamins and minerals are super important too - apart from vitamin C, adequate Zinc is necessary (for so many things) to keep your immunity at optimum levels. Eating a rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables is important all year round, but even more so in the winter when our bodies need all the help they can get, to fight off the nasties.

If you or your family regularly suffer with colds and infections, coughs, flus or bugs in the winter (or any time of year!) then please do give me a call to arrange a consultation. My name is Caroline and my number is 0433280621. We can skype for an hour for just $99 or you can come and see me from $120.

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