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5 Health Tips To Prepare You For Winter

 

Autumn is already upon us: the leaves are falling from the trees, and the smells of baked apple cinnamon pies float by on cooler breezes.
As the weather gets cooler, susceptibility to illness such as colds and flus rises as the temperature begins to drop, we spend more time indoors, and the cooler air dries out the skin and throat.

This is when the wisdom of Chinese Medicine and more self-care can be extremely helpful in making seasonal adjustments. Below are 5 health tips to ensure good health with the changing seasons and the upcoming cooler winter weather.

1. Drink lots of liquids

Autumn and Winter can be quite drying, especially for the nose, skin, throat, and the lungs. When these areas get too dry, this is when they offer less of a defense against invading pathogens and bacteria and….hello sickness. Drinking lots of water and herbal teas can help you to stay hydrated and keep these certain mucous membranes lubricated.


I’ve been bringing in some Chinese Medicine tools and tips into my own personal health routine. In Chinese Medicine, it is recommended to stay away from too many icy and cold drinks, and instead opt for drinks that are of room temperate or warm, such as warm lemon water, juices (at room temp.) or a hot herbal tea. This is thought to better hydrate because it’s closer to our body temperature, plus warmer liquids can often feel better on a dry throat.

2. Eat nourishing and seasonal produce and foods


This may be the time to start moving away from salads and thinking about switching to more warming, easily digestible foods such as soups, curries, broths, grains such as rice and quinoa, and other well-cooked options. Both Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda principles teach that cold and raw foods can be quite hard on the body and digestive system as it takes a lot of energy to digest raw foods in cooler weather and may diminish digestive fire.
In my own personal experience, I spent two whole Winter and Autumn seasons eating mostly raw foods such as ice cold juices, smoothies, salads and raw meals (I considered myself a ‘raw foodie’). During this time, I was always cold, my immune system was extremely low, I became deficient in certain types of minerals and nutrients, and I could feel my body was calling out for more nourishing, grounding and warming foods. This is because of the high amount of raw foods I was eating in the cooler months. This may work for some, but unfortunately it did not work for me, which is why as the weather gets cooler, I am typically more drawn to warmer foods, I listen to my body, and naturally reduce my intake of salads, smoothies, and raw foods.

Chinese Medicine also recommends ‘eating with the season’ and eating plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables to nourish ‘Yin’. Yin is the feminine side of Yin-Yang and includes qualities of moist, sour and bitter, plus soft, cool and dark). Enjoy a bounty of seasonal foods and consider warming spices such as ginger, pepper, garlic and cayenne for an added digestive and immunity boost.

Some seasonal Yin-nourishing foods and beneficial warming foods during the cooler months include:
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Artichokes
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Root vegetables (yams, or sweet potatoes)
  • Cabbage
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Pumpkin
  • Almonds
  • Chestnuts

3. Spend time outdoors

I know, I know.. When the temperature drops and the sun is no longer overhead, the last thing you may want to do is spend time outdoors. Naturally, we might want to curl up on the lounge with a warm cup of herbal tea watching our favourite Netflix series. But just because the sun isn’t visible, doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get sun exposure, which increases Vitamin D production. Vitamin D is very important to the health of the immune system, and because we get little of it in the winter months, it’s best to start building your reserves now (and maybe even consider supplementing with a vitamin D supplement).

Also use this as an opportunity to take your workouts outside, whether that may be switching spin class for an outdoor bike ride, playing with your children in the outdoor playground, or doing yoga or HIIT training on a grassy area, now is the time to get outdoors to enjoy the Autumn weather, get some fresh air, and also boost your health.

Have bursts of daytime sun exposure for hormone balance, vitamin D absorption and overall health. Expose your skin to the sun for at least 10-15 minutes once or twice a day. If possible, have your stomach, arms and legs exposed.

4. Dress in layers and keep yourself warm

As the temperature drops, it is important to wear warmer clothes and consider dressing in layers (depending on your location). Too much exposure to the cold can leave the immune system weakened and can increase the risk getting sick.
Time to pull out those scarves, jumpers, boots, jackets and leggings you’ve kept stored away and find your perfect Winter outfit!

I also love using my Far Infrared Sauna even more during Winter. It keeps me warm and keeps my immune system strong. It's basically my bestie during the cooler months. Purchase your very own Kiva Wellness Infrared Sauna for your home from our online store here.

5. Stay active and continue exercising regularly

The winter season can often be a challenging time to stay active with colder temperatures and fewer daylight hours. For me personally, the warmer months is when I feel most naturally active and motivated to exercise. I’ll surf, go for beach walks or runs, But we shouldn’t let the cooler weather keep us from getting out, staying motivated, and getting exercise. Moving our bodies, exercising, and staying physically active can help boost our circulation, and keep our mind and body strong. There has also been emerging research showing that physical activity and exercise can also boost the immune system and keep the immune system strong.

 

We hope you enjoyed reading this blog. Do you have any of your own health tips for the Winter months? Please feel free to share them below, we'd love to know!

Read our other blog 'Supporting The Immune System Naturally'.