Beat the winter ills

Beat the winter illsIts winter, its cold!

Colds and flu are prevalent during this time

What can you do that is simple and easy to reduce the chances of getting sick this winter?

Enhance your immune system through our six point approach.

Take a couple of simple supplements.

And you’re on your way to better health!

As temperatures lower, so too can your immune system’s capacity to fight off the bugs that cause colds and flus. Exposure to public places such as shopping centres, using public transport, working in an office and/or having kids at school provide ample opportunities for the whole family to be exposed to others who are sick. Airborne pathogens, as well as those present on shared items (e.g. bathroom taps and communal kitchens) can pose additional threats. Altogether, a winter-weakened immune system combined with increased exposure to infection-causing bugs, results in the ideal scenario for a cold or flu to strike; leaving you coughing and sneezing, with a sore throat and feeling under the weather!

Enhance Your Immunity

Give your immune system a head start by incorporating these healthy habits into your diet and lifestyle:

  • Eat fresh fruits and veggies: Aim for at least two serves of fruit and three cups of vegetables daily. Eat different types to provide nutrients and antioxidants to help build strong immunity.
  • Eliminate inflammatory foods: Sugar, refined carbohydrates, dairy, and wheat can all be inflammatory and may suppress immune function.
  • Reduce stress: Stress steals energy and nutrients from your immune system, leaving you susceptible to getting sick. Enjoy the benefits of scheduling time out, relaxation and time spent in nature. Take a deep breath, pace yourself and relax.
  • Exercise regularly: Remaining active not only makes you feel good; it also considerably reduces the frequency of contracting a cold. It also reduces stress levels and helps your heart and circulation.
  • Sleep soundly: Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep each night to restore energy and allow your immune system to regain its strength and resilience. Nothing replaces good sleep.
  • Spend time doing your favourite things, such as reading a book next to a fire. You do deserve some time out to re charge your batteries.

Take some simple supplements

There are many options but here are some simple and effective ones

When you consider our immune system, there are some heroes in medicinal mushrooms that can help you. They are effective and may assist in either avoiding or shortening the infections that come with the flu. Their names? Shiitake and Reishi.

Vitamin C and zinc are nutrients that have been associated with winter ills for a long time and are very helpful. Take some for winter and be stronger and healthier.

Sleep Better Tonight – Or Risk Depression!

Insomnia can lead to depression and cause many other health issues, including chronic tiredness, lack of concentration, increased stress levels.

Sleep difficulty, called insomnia, can have many causes, including stress and anxiety and may be the first indication that your lifestyle needs adjusting. It coud be diet related, stress related, due to worrying thoughts.

Your mind turns to your busy day tomorrow and you wonder, “How will I get through the day without sleep?

However don’t despair, there are many natural strategies to help remedy sleeping problems

While your Naturopath would be your best solution, and you can be assisted with Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Nutrition, relaxation techniques and dietary and lifestyle changes, we can discuss some possibilities here to further help you understand how Naturopathy can help insomnia.

First of all, we do need good quality sleep Tissue repair, rest and the restoration of vital organs and body systems occur during sleep. Periods of insomnia can impede these processes, not only leaving you feeling unrefreshed mentally, but physically you will not feel optimally functional.

During times of stress and emotional difficulty, more strain is put on the physical and emotional reserves, increasing the need for proper sleep.

It’s during these times that you need assistance with natural therapies.

So what is insomnia?

Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep for the required length of time, that your body needs for proper rest and regenaration.

Insomnia falls into three sub categories:

Initial Insomnia: Difficulty in falling asleep, most commonly due to emotional disturbances such as anxiety, stress, depression, illness and pain.

Sleep disorders such as restless leg syndrome (involuntary muscle twitches that disrupt sleep) and sleep apnoea fall under the category of initial insomnia.

Sleep apnoea is a condition in which breathing stops periodically during sleep. This condition is usually seen in people who are overweight and sleep on their back.

Middle Insomnia: Waking during the night, again usually due to emotional disturbances such as anxiety or depression and may also be associated with pain.

Early Morning Awakening: Falling asleep occurs normally, but you wake early and cannot sleep again or fall into interrupted, unrefreshing sleep.

This is common in elderly people, who require less sleep, but may also occur as a symptom of depression or anxiety.

It may be difficult for you, without the help of a naturopath to determine the reasons for your insomnia.

However here are some suggestions from the natural therapy point of view:

Herbal Medicine

In addition to their medicinal properties, herbal teas are very useful due to the overall calming effect a cup of warm tea brings.

Following is a list of herbal sedatives and nervous system tonics commonly used to treat insomnia:

  • Passionflower
  • Lemon balm
  • Chamomile
  • Skullcap
  • Valerian
  • St John’s Wort
  • Vervain

Nutritional Medicine

A vitamin B complex supplement in the mornings can help to support the nervous system to assist generally with stress throughot the day, making sleep better at night.

When cramping or muscular pain is the cause of insomnia, a magnesium supplement is useful in reducing muscular spasm.

Diet considerations:

Tryptophan is an amino acid found in foods such as turkey, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, bananas, corn and dairy products. Tryptophan facilitates the production of serotonin, a chemical that is believed to have a role in relaxation and this in turn could assist sleep quality.

Meal size is an important consideration when taking measures to improve sleep. Avoid having a rich, heavy meal at night as a large amount of energy is diverted into the digestion rather than into rest.

The process of digesting a large meal activates the nervous system. Try not to eat less than two hours before bed.

An easily digested protein such as tofu plus a carbohydrate and vegetables makes an ideal dinner. Limit or exclude from your diet refined carbohydrates such as sugar and white bread.

Avoid caffeinated drinks and be aware of where caffeine may be found: coffee, tea, cocoa, cola drinks, energy drinks and chocolate are the main culprits.

Avoid Stimulants!

Caffeine is a stimulant that raises blood pressure and heart rate, directly working against the potential for a restful sleep.

Similarly, the nicotine in cigarettes is also a stimulant – this is despite the claim from many smokers that smoking helps them relax, which is only a temporary feeling of relaxation.

Alcohol is a type of drug that depresses the nervous system and is also not recommended to be consumed at any time. Insomnia is an additional reason to avoid alcohol.

Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise that raises the heart rate and causes you to sweat, such as cycling, swimming, dancing, team sports, aerobics, brisk walking or jogging at least four times per week for 30 minutes can be beneficial for insomnia.