Natural ways to stay well and keep healthy this winter….
As the colder months arrive and you start to feel the inevitable onset of the sore throat, snuffley nose and aching head, don’t reach straight for the Beachams and bravely soldier on. You owe your body more than that. Sometimes a good night’s sleep and a little help from Mother Nature is all you need to keep the bugs at bay. These few things are my absolute must-haves for a healthy winter season.
Liquid Echinacea: The power of Echinacea has been lauded for a few years now, and not without good reason. Its healing properties can really help boost your immune system. However, as with most things a bit trendy, it’s now available everywhere in very diluted forms, making its super-power appear rather diminished. The key is to buy it in liquid form, ensure it is very good quality and take it with a little water three times a day, whenever you are feeling run-down or under the weather. And keep taking it once you’re well for a week or two, just to give your body that extra boost it needs.
Top Tip: Look for local, independent health food stores with well-informed staff who have picked their suppliers based on the quality of their products.
Apple Cider Vinegar: I am almost evangelical about how brilliant apple cider vinegar is. Not only are the health benefits plentiful, but crucially it contains something called ‘the mother’ – protein molecules with living nutrients and good bacteria which have numerous health benefits, and is what gives this vinegar its cloudy appearance. Diluted in hot water with honey it is a wonderful tonic for colds and coughs, and especially good for sore throats. I’ve even found it great it treating recurrent tonsillitis. During tough winter months, or when you’re run-down, drinking it every morning can be a great way to boost your immune system.
Top Tip: Make sure you buy raw, unfiltered vinegar, as this is what ensures it is enzyme-rich and packed with healthy nutrients
Garlic & Manuka Honey Sandwiches: Yes, really. Get good quality, rye bread, spread honey on two pieces, crush some garlic, sprinkle it over the honey, make a sandwich – and enjoy. The power of garlic and honey together is pretty potent, but the effects are worth it. The crushed garlic releases allicin, which is a powerful antibacterial component which can help prevent or shorten a cold, while the honey has anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties, and will boost your immune system too.
Top Tip: Look for raw, organic Manuka honey with a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating of 10+ or more; try to use organic bread and garlic too
Lysine: For anyone who regularly gets coldsores this is a complete lifesaver. Lysine is an essential amino acid that fights the herpes virus that causes coldsores – we get it usually from red meat, fish and dairy products. However, when a coldsore is threatening, you need more of it than your diet can provide. I take a lysine supplement whenever I start to feel run down, have a cold or feel that tell-tale ‘tingle’. Then I keep taking it – one to two pills every four to six hours – until the danger has passed.
Top Tip: You can buy Lysine in pill form in most health food shops, but again try to steer clear of the high street and look to local independents where quality is usually better