Winter is about to hit the Southern Hemisphere, which for some means it is cold and flu season without fail, whether you get the cold or flu every year or someone in your family does, and they usually end up sharing it with you. Whether you get a cold or the flu, you know you are in for a runny nose, sore throat, cough and congestion. A flu is different to the cold based on the severity of symptoms like fever, muscle aches and soreness, and fatigue. Either way, you end up in bed feeling very sorry for yourself and wondering why you didn’t start preparing for Winter sooner. As they say, ‘prevention is better than cure’ so start preparing for flu season now!
Start with what you eat and drink…
Diet and lifestyle plays a large part in our health, so start eating well and for the season. Try some of these tips this Winter.
• Drink ginger tea every morning – Ginger is a good immune booster, as well as being warming, and stimulates the digestive system. Use 1-2 slices of fresh ginger (preferably organic), and add hot water. Simple!! Add a small amount of honey for some sweetness and an extra immune booster. You can even add other herbal teas such as chamomile, chrysanthemum, peppermint, lemon etc. to change up the flavour and add some more benefits. If you are in a pinch you can buy a pre-package ginger tea from your health food store.
• Start adding warming spices to your food – cook with ginger, garlic, chili and onion to warm you up and fight off illnesses.
• Stop eating those cold foods – love your summer salad? In TCM salads are cooling and too much can damage our digestive system. In Summer they are great to cool us down, but Winter is when we want to nourish ourselves. Instead of a lettuce salad, try some roast or steamed vegetables.
• Start taking your vitamins now – We all know about Vitamin C, but also start taking zinc and Vitamin D. These three nutrients all support the immune system and can reduce the severity of colds. Probiotics are your good digestive bacteria, and are important not just for good gut health, but for your immune system. Start taking a daily supplement especially if you have been on antibiotics.
• Dress warmly – Wear a scarf to protect your neck, as the neck area has a number of acupuncture points, and is susceptible to Wind and Cold. Ensure to dry your hair thoroughly before stepping outside into the cold.
• Stay hydrated – It is important to ensure you stay hydrated even in the cooler months. Drink warm water, as again cold water can damage your digestion and cool you down too much.
• Rest – This can be the hardest thing to do, but it can also be the most beneficial. Allow yourself time to stop and enjoy life. Ensure you are getting good quality sleep, as poor sleep can reduce your immunity, increase anxiety and stress and of course cause fatigue. If you aren’t getting a good night sleep, try some herbal teas, acupuncture, and a few nanna naps.
And in case you do get sick, here is a great cough syrup, courtesy of Dr Mercola.
Honey Lemon Cough Syrup
Lemon helps promote health by quickly alkalinizing your body, and honey will kill most bacteria while soothing your throat. This is a perfect choice for a quick cough remedy.
• Put a pint of raw honey in a pan on the stove on VERY low heat (Do not boil honey as this changes its medicinal properties).
• Take a whole lemon and boil in some water in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes to both soften the lemon and kill any bacteria that may be on the lemon skin.
• Let the lemon cool enough to handle then cut it in slices and add it to the pint of honey on the stove.
• Let mixture cook on warm heat for about an hour.
• Then strain the lemon from the honey making sure all lemon seeds are removed.
• Let cool, then bottle in a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
This syrup will keep for 2 months in the refrigerator. To soothe a cough, take 1/2 teaspoon for an 11kg. child and 1 teaspoon for a 22kg. child, about 4 times a day, or as often as needed. Adults can take 1-tablespoon doses.