As the days get colder and darker, we often tend to move less, eat more and not pay enough attention to keeping our immune system strong. It does not have to be that difficult to be proactive and stay healthy. Knowing the steps to take, of course, makes it that much easier.
Here are my suggestions to help keep you consistently healthy this season!
You may think that summer is the only time we need to think about hydration, but this is far from the truth. Our body is 70% water, and we constantly need to replenish. We even lose water in our sleep! With the cold, dry weather, furnaces turned on, and fireplaces lit up, we need to add moisture to the inside of our bodies. Many clients say they dislike water, but I recommend herbal tea at this time of year. Herbal teas are more beneficial than just plain water as they offer healing properties. They are warm, soothing and safe, especially if you are used to drinking from the tap! Try and choose a variety of herbs and aim for 2-3 litres a day. I often brew a whole pot, drink half, and fill my water bottle with the rest. You would be surprised how refreshing it is to have on hand later on. Always remember that the journey on the inside of our body translates to the outside. This means that when we hydrate more, the skin will reap the benefits!
Stay away from refined sugars.
Our body constantly struggles to digest processed foreign foods and those high in sugar. This makes every system in your body work harder, including the white blood cells of your immune system. We know 70-80 % of our immune system is in our gut. Excess sugar leads to inflammation, compromising our digestion and elimination, creating a weaker gut microbiome and making us more susceptible to the flu.
Stay Connected to your Circadian rhythm.
Our circadian rhythm is our internal body clock that allows us to flow with the rhythm of cortisol release. This means that the more we live according to daylight hours, i.e. rising with the sun and getting our work and projects completed by sunset, the stronger we will be able to deal with life’s stressors as we will not abuse the hormone cortisol. When we chip away at cortisol because we are working too late and not settling down as the sun sets, we tend to be more stressed and wired as cortisol reserves are lowered. The evening hours are for relaxing, reading, playing with pets, meditating, gathering with friends and family, and not working on projects. High cortisol demands lead to burnout and a weakened immune system.
Getting enough sleep is as crucial to your health as getting enough vitamins and minerals. When we skimp on sleep, we weaken our immune system. Between midnight and 4:00 am, the body detoxifies and repairs. Getting into bed by 10:00 and 10:30 ensures we can fall into that deep, restful sleep by those hours. If we constantly abuse these times, we will be more susceptible to catching the flu and viruses. Practicing proper sleep hygiene can also be instrumental in the quality of your sleep. The room should be dark, cool, and free of wifi. Your cell phone should not be your alarm clock!
Add more fermented foods to your diet, like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. These pre-biotic foods will contribute to a healthy gut microbiome, closely linked to immune function. Add vitamin C coming from food sources, not ascorbic acid. My favourite is Camu Camu. Vitamin D3 is also crucial, as we lose the precious rays from the sun. But do make sure that it is combined with K2 so that the calcium is directed to the bone, not the arteries!
Until next time,