1. Keep Warm
This may sound obvious (it is winter after all)... but keeping warm is not just for comfort - it's essential for your immune system to function at its best. Did you know that just a small drop in your body temperature can lower your immunity and make you more susceptible to cold viruses and illness?
We instinctively reach for those delicious, comforting foods in the winter time - heart soups and casseroles, but many of us aim for a healthy diet with plenty of raw, fresh fruit and vegetables and these do not always give us the warmth we crave and need during the winter months. We suggest starting cold meals with a small bowl of soup or a cup of greet tea. This can warm the digestive system and helps to keep us cosy too!
2. Start Your Day Right
Feeling sleepy or sluggish? A warming, cleansing hot water with lemon juice up waking is our way here at Westlab HQ to start the day. In winter, we add a touch of Manuka Honey, Ginger and Cayenne Pepper which are thought to help strengthen the immune system. Delicious and warming!
Later in the morning you can follow this with a super greens smoothie. Our favourites include a delicious blend of apple, spinach, lime, kale and avocado, with a sprinkling of micro-greens, spirulina or seaweed.
3. Fresh Air and Exercise
Getting out into the fresh air is crucial for maintaining our Vitamin D levels - which is essential for well being and healthy immune function. The long winter nights cause most of us to retreat to our cosy blankets and firesides once we get home for the evening and heading back out can seem unappealing.
Getting out first thing in the morning or at lunchtime for a brisk walk or run is much more enjoyable and achievable and give us that essential sunlight our body needs. Even just 15 minutes a day can have a profound effect on body and mind.
4. Nourish Your Gut
More and more research is indicating that the key to a healthy immune system is a healthy gut. So if you want help fighting those winter bugs, make sure you nurture your good bacteria.
Aim to reduce your sugar intake and include fermented foods in your diet such as Sauerkraut, Live Yoghurt or Kefir. You can up your intake of immune boosting seasonal foods and spices such as Beetroot, Cinnamon, Bone Broth, Apples and Sweet Potatoes. We're feeling hungry just thinking about it all...!
5. Sleeping Like Our Furry Friends
There's a reason why many animals hibernate during winter time - it's completely natural to do so. Even our ancestors used to spend this time of year sleeping more, their daily routine dictated by the natural daylight. Give yourself permission to sleep more in the winter and head to bed a little earlier than you do in the summer - you may find yourself more energised and well rested each day.
Our favourite way to end the day is relaxing in a candlelit, warm, magnesium-rich salt bath. We accompany this with a soothing night-time tea and a small, light snack such as an oatcake topped with a teaspoon of nut or seed butter. This Magnesium and Protein boost before bed is thought to help stabilise blood sugar and encourage a restful night's sleep.
Sweet dreams all!
Take the challenge and add all or any of these Winter Wellness tips to your daily routine, then let us know how you got on after 2 weeks - we'd love to hear from you!