As the temperature drops and the dark days descend upon us, the winter months can affect us all emotionally and physically. Listening to your body and following the cycles of nature is imperative for staying well and happy during the winter months.
The National Health Service calculate that 7% of the population suffer from a form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, although this figure is estimated to be much higher as most people don’t seek help. SAD is prevalent in winter and is linked to decreased exposure to day light. It is a recent condition, one that was unheard of 70 years ago. The extra hours in darkness can be an indication of poor health as we become more detached from nature manifesting illness/ disharmony in different ways.
Rest In Chinese medicine, winter is believed to be connected to the kidneys which are involved which adrenal function (energy) and water. When the days get shorter so should yours, so ensure that you get adequate sleep. Winter is a time to rest your adrenal glands, detox, conserve energy perhaps introducing meditation and do gentle exercise such as walking. Eat your evening meal as early as possible and ensure that is isn’t too heavy.
Fresh air Utilise as much day light as possible, especially if your suffering from SAD. Sunlight triggers the release of a feel good neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin which helps to uplift mood. Sunlight also helps to produce Vitamin D which is a key element for a healthy immune system.
Preventing illness First and foremost do as your mother said and “keep yourself warm” wearing hats, scarfs etc. Regularly wash your hands for 30 seconds in a natural soap containing tea tree. Be aware of objects that can harbour germs such as computer key pads and mobile phones. One of the most damaging components to the immune system is sugar; research has shown that sugar can significantly reduce the activity of white blood cells for up to 5 hours after ingesting a carbohydrate rich meal or bar of chocolate severely depressing the immune system.
Enhancing the immune system Garlic has been referred to “Russian Penicillin” due to its powerful anti bacterial properties. Incorporate it in soups and casseroles.Eat foods rich in carotenes such as dark green vegetables, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers. Carotenes enhance white blood cells and protect the thymus which is a major gland in the immune system. These foods also help the body to detoxify eliminating toxins from the body.
Vitamin C has renowned properties for enhancing the immune system; food sources with a high content include peppers, kale, broccoli, cabbage, spinach and oranges. Zinc is a potent mineral for immune function and deficiency results in an increased susceptibility to infection rich sources of zinc include; pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, buckwheat, green peas, turnips and garlic.
Keeping Warm Introducing foods such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and chilli peppers can help to stimulate the circulation having a warming effect.
On the detox retreat I will be delivering the nutritional talks and can answer any questions that you may have about nutrition and general health and well being.
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