As an active person I initially struggle to adjust to the slower pace of Winter. However, every season serves its purpose and as our natural instinct to hibernate takes over, we should shift gear into restorative mode. Our bodies are innately intelligent so taking time to tune-in to subtle signs of change will enable you to optimise your health and wellness throughout the chillier months.
SIGNALS & SOLUTIONS:
Slower Digestion – it is important to stimulate our digestive fire through our food to warm us from the core and fuel us.
Eat easy to digest foods – opting for warmer, softer foods (think slow cooking!) eases up the pressure placed on our digestive tract. We require adequate protein (both plant-based and animal), healthy fats, vegetables and warming herbs & spices for optimal nourishment.
Increasing bitter foods (such as bitter greens, lemon, ginger) encourages the secretion of digestive juices, or supplementing with a digestive enzyme may be of benefit to some.
Eat Slowly & Mindfully – What many of us forget is that digestion begins in the mouth, our saliva is loaded with enzymes that begin the breakdown of our food making nutrients more available for absorption in the gut. Take time to chew eat bite mindfully, sit in a quiet place and remove distractions.
Impaired Immunity – In winter we see a natural peak in colds and respiratory infections. Maintaining a healthy immune system assists in prevention of infections and reduction of severity and duration of symptoms.
Seasonal Eating – eating as nature intended will ensure more nutrient dense produce that delivers the vitamins & minerals we need for the season such as Vitamin C, carotenoids (beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A), bioflavonoids and zinc.
Protect your microbiome – 70% of our immune system lies in our gut. Maintaining a healthy bacterial balance through the use of probiotics and fermented produce encourages beneficial bacteria to flourish and fight pathogens.
Herbal Medicine – I am a huge advocate of supplementing with herbs to protect and heal.
Dry, Cracked & Irritated Skin – If your skin feels ‘tight’ its most likely dehydrated. Dry air reduces moisture in the skin which is a common trigger for irritating conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Ensure you’re well hydrated – our bodies respond better to warmer fluids in the colder months, drink your water at room temperature or opt for herbal tea (non-diuretic teas count towards hydration). A rough guideline is 30ml per kilograms of body weight, with additional water added to rehydrate following exercise or illness and to support detoxification.
Increase Essential fatty acids – EFAs support the fatty membranes surrounding cells, they also reduce inflammation. Increase your intake of deep sea fish, olive & coconut oil, nuts & seeds, avocado and flax seeds.
Sleepiness & Sluggishness – Distinguishing a tired mind from a tired body is tricky one and takes some practice. Whilst I do believe we should adapt to the shorter days and longer nights, we don’t actually require much more sleep and we really do need to expend energy to make energy. Often it is our minds that overrule our bodies, so the lure of a cosy bed becomes hard to resist, morning workouts disappear and so do our summer figures.
Exercise & Movement – It is essential to reduce stagnation and congestion of fluid and energy within the body. Getting outdoors on sunny days will boost Vitamin D exposure which is essential for a happy mood, hormones and immunity. On cold/wet days, opt for indoor movement such as yoga, foam rolling and stretching that will stimulate flow. Tune in to your body, listen to what it needs and always remember that it is very rare that we regret exercising!
Dry Body Brushing – Our lymphatic system is critical for healthy immune function and removal of toxins and waste however; it doesn’t have a heart to pump it like our blood does so we need to manually stimulate it. Benefits of brushing include: improved lymphatic flow and drainage, increased blood circulation, exfoliate dry winter skin, improved detoxification.
If you would like more comprehensive guidance on nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle please contact me for a 1:1 consultation.