With the first snows fallen and arctic air blowing across much of the country, I thought it would be good to repost this article about staying healthy in winter. I hope it's helpful. Please add any other tips you think of.
Here in Florida, summer lasted longer than usual this year. But for many people I know winter is well on its way. So here are some tips to help you in preparing for a healthy winter. (They're useful any time of year, but especially during winter.)
*Avoid unhealthy foods.
Winter is a key time to give extra support to your immune system, and diet directly affects the immune system. There's a very good article on the Beyond Organic Insider blog about the dangers of sugar, including how it damages your immune system. With the holidays coming, sugar is often the main course. So as much as possible, help your immune system by saying no to sugar. Try to avoid unhealthy foods in general, such as processed foods, fried foods, candy, sweets, sodas, processed dairy, etc. Keep eating healthy foods, and don't feel bad about not eating the cookies at every event you go to. =)
*Monitor your indoor air quality.
As people start using their fireplaces, smoke can be a problem. If you have cracks around doors or windows, aluminum foil tape is a great tool. Just peel off the backing and tape it wherever needed to keep out smells. We have it around both front and back doors. (It's also useful for covering up toxins you can't remove, such as the pipes we just had replaced in the bathroom.) You can find aluminum foil tape online. We usually order it from Foust.
Also try to air out your house often, whenever the weather is clear and dry. Indoor air can quickly become stale in winter. Keep it fresh as much as possible. Use these tips for eliminating any smells.
*Use foods as medicine.
Organic coconut oil is anti-viral, onions are anti-bacterial, and garlic is anti-fungal (many other foods fit in these categories as well). Besides cooking with these foods, you can use them other ways as well.
You can rub organic coconut oil on your feet if you're fighting a general viral infection. Or you can rub it on wherever a viral infection has localized - sinuses, throat, stomach, etc. (Just remember that a little coconut oil goes a long way. You probably only need a few drops, unless you have very dry skin. And yes, it makes a good lotion as well.)
Also, simply holding an onion in your right hand for 10-15 minutes can help your body fight off a bacterial infection. Likewise, holding a few garlic cloves in your right hand can help fight off fungal infections. In fact, many winter infections are fungal, even though they're often treated as viral or bacterial. That's one reason a healthy, anti-fungal diet is so helpful in winter. (Just be sure to throw away the onion or garlic after holding it as it is no longer safe to eat.)
*Be sure you're getting enough vitamin D.
Many people don't get enough sun exposure during the winter, thus are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Be intentional about getting sun on your skin and consider supplementing with vitamin D if necessary for your situation. This article has some helpful tips for keeping vitamin D levels up through the winter.
Continue exercising and doing lymphatic massage. The natural tendency is to slow down during winter, which is ok as long as you're still moving enough and getting healthy sleep. The body needs movement to keep the lymph flowing and the immune system functioning well. Find a form of exercise that works for you and keep at it.
Most of all keep smiling, laugh a lot, be silly, sing every day, have fun, and celebrate the special joys that come with the winter season. =)
What tips do you have for enjoying a healthy winter?