As the chill of winter settles in and the flu begins to go around, here are some natural fall and winter health tips that will help get you through.
- Eat warm foods and drink warm drinks. This is a great way to heat up your core temperature and get you going in the morning.
- Invest in fleece and good winter outerwear for both yourself and your kids. This damp cold is hard on the joints and muscles, so keep them protected.
- Continue with your exercise routine; move it indoors if needed. A trip to your gym’s hot tub or steam room after your workout may be good incentive to get there and get moving!
- A small dose of the herb Astragalus in tincture or capsule form may be a good option for you to help stave off the winter colds and flu. Another alternative is a blend of medicinal mushrooms (like shitake, reishi, maitake, etc.). Please speak with your doctor before beginning any herbal medicine, as there may be interactions and contraindications.
- The herb St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is traditionally used as a mild anti-depressant for seasonal affective disorder. It’s bright yellow flowers are indicative of how it can increase one’s ability to have a “sunny disposition.” Again, please speak with your doctor before beginning any herbal medicine, as there may be interactions and contraindications.
- Vitamin D deficiency has been recently shown in research to be associated with breast cancer, colon cancer, MS, and heart disease. Most of us in the Pacific Northwest are deficient, so ask your doctor for a Vitamin D test (25-OH Vit. D) to check your levels. Most adults in this area can take 2,000 IU’s daily safely, even if levels are unknown. Kids should also get Vitamin D, but ask your doctor for safe levels based on the child’s age. Nursing moms will give about 10% of what they take to their babies.
- Plan a trip to somewhere warm and sunny if you can. Getting away from the Pacific Northwest rain and gray skies does wonders for the psyche in the winter.
- Look forward to longer days and increased light as the winter progresses. Enjoy the snow however you can, whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, or just sipping tea by the fire and watching it fall. It’s a beautiful time of year.