Nutrition | How to stay healthy in winter

17/01/2015

via fashioned by love | Sogni e risvegli, Vanity Fair Style August 2014 (photography: Pamela Hanson, styling: Sciascia Giambaccini)
I spent a few minutes thinking of the perfect name for this post, but at the end decided that simplicity is the way to go in this case. The tips will be simple, too, but if you follow them you may find yourself spending a lot of time enjoying the season and all the good things it brings, rather than sitting in bed with a box of tissues.

Without further ado, lets talk about nutrition, the immune system, lifestyle habits and the environment - the four essential elements that can have a major impact on your health, chances of catching a cold or flu and, should the worst happen, recovering as quickly as possible.

via fashioned by love | Sogni e risvegli, Vanity Fair Style August 2014 (photography: Pamela Hanson, styling: Sciascia Giambaccini)
CENTRAL HEATING & HYGIENE

* Indeed, we all need a warm house to live in, no question about that. However, turn the heat too high and you are likely to create a perfect environment for the germs that just cannot wait to multiply and affect you. The air and heating also tend to make the mucuse membranes inside your nose, mouth and eyes more susceptible to the invisible invaders.

The best solution is to keep the indoor temperature at a comfortable levels, say, around 20C and choose the clothes to wrap into for the extra warmth. Remember to open the windows a few times a day to let the air circulate. You may also want to use organic lip and nasal balms or, even better, raw virgin organic coconut oil (it's antibacterial and moisturising) to keep your skin moisturised and prefer it from cracking (any damaged skin is another convenient way for the viruses to sneak into the body). And get outside as much as you can! It's not just for fun, but for your health, too (and going out sunscreen free will stimulate the natural production of vitamin D, another anti-cold vitamin). 

* Wash your hands frequently. One study found that 50% people caught colds because they didn't wash their hands properly. Instead of relying on anti-bacterial washes that often contain hormone-disrupting triclosan, choose organic washes containing marshmallow root, oregano, olive leave, grapefruit seed extract or colloidal silver. Anything with coconut oil is also brilliant. If you want to keep it simple and reliable, go for Dr. Bronner soap - a fabulous multi-tasker!

via fashioned by love | Sogni e risvegli, Vanity Fair Style August 2014 (photography: Pamela Hanson, styling: Sciascia Giambaccini)
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

It is a very intelligent mechanism capable of fighting many viruses and invaders. A weakened immune system will increase your changes of catching a cold or flu, to make its health a priority and look after it well.

* Avoid stress. People who are under stress are more likely to become ill during winter according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Stress is well-known for having a negative impact on our immunity as it causes the loss of vitamins and minerals required by the body during the challenging times. Find a way to relax - maybe start your day with some yoga or meditation, lit up an organic scented candle, use a few drops of lavender oil in your shower or put a few drops on a pillow (This Works Deep Sleep can be your little helper in a spray form).

* Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep is known to weaken the immune system. A double-blind controlled study in Psychosomatic Medicine found persons who suffered from disrupted sleep had decreased levels of natural killer cells indicative of a weakened immune system. 

Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night. A 30-minute nap during a day (if your schedule allows such a luxury) can also be extremely helpful. 

* Stay active. Exercise raises the body's level of natural killer cells and may reduce susceptibility to upper respiratory infections. Exercising for 20-30 minutes is perfect. Remember that long sessions of intense training lasting anything between 60 and 90 minutes are a form of stress, so if you overdo it, you will also increase your chances of catching a cold.

Remember the "hygiene rule" whenever you hit the gym because the air and surfaces may contain the germs to avoid. Always wash your hand and never touch your face whilst exercising (unless you already washed your hand, of course).

* Don't overburden your immune system with toxins from cosmetics, make-up and common household products. Switch to organic and natural - there's so much choice out there, it would be a shame not to.

via fashioned by love | Sogni e risvegli, Vanity Fair Style August 2014 (photography: Pamela Hanson, styling: Sciascia Giambaccini)
NUTRITION

* As the cold season approaches we often find ourselves eating more comfort and stogy foods rather than salads and bright coloured vegetables. At the same time the foods we do eat might have lost some of the vitamins and minerals due to seasonality and storage. This is why it is vital to make sure that your diet contains a variety of brightly coloured fresh vegetables and fruit to give you plenty of vitamin C, a nutrient required for the healthy immune system.

* Also enjoy some food sources of zinc - a mineral known for its ability to strengthen the immune system. Good options are cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds, shellfish, tahini, sesame seeds, crimini mushrooms, spinach, asparagus, venison, turkey, natural yoghurt and miso.

* Eat a few raw brazil nuts every day to top up your selenium levels. Various studies have shown that the immune system becomes stronger if you supplement your diet with selenium. It also seems that selenium supports the cells called cytokines that send important signals to the immune system.

* Add garlic to your meals. The little guy is famous for its antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal properties. The latest scientific research says that slicing, chopping, mincing or pressing garlic before cooking will enhance its health-promoting properties by releasing a powerful compound called allicin (the one responsible for the garlic'y aroma and its "bite"). To maximise the amount of allicin, leave the chopped garlic to sit for about 15 minutes whilte preparing the rest of your ingredients. Remember that garlic isn't suitable for everyone, so if you take any medication or have digestive problems or allures, always check with your doctor first.

* Use your secret weapon against the cold also known as probiotics. The tiny bacteria that go under many complicated names and live in your gut may have a positive preventative effect against the colds. Many studied have pointed out that you don't need to take them in a form of a supplement to increase the effect. Instead find them in natural organic yoghurt, organic kefir as well as miso and fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut.

On a side note: nowadays many doctors rely on antibiotics prescribing them routinely to people who don't need any, say, when they have a cold or feeling "under the weather". Yes, I do believe the antibiotics are important and can safe lives, but there should be a valid reason to take them.

I often see clients who have been on and off the antibiotic medication because they couldn't "shift an infection" or common cold. The reason is that the antibiotics wipe away not only the bad bacteria and viruses, but also the good ones, too, leaving the immune system weakened and open to any potential harmful invaders. If you were on antibiotics, once or several times, relying on the food sources of probiotics in order to restore the gut flora may not be enough and you will need to discuss a possible probiotics supplement with a nutritionist. Don't choose it yourself, though - it is only the professional who will be able to select the right one for you taking into consideration the type of bacteria your body needs as well as the quantities and quality of it.

* Another secret weapon is raw coconut oil - take some every day in its natural state. It's antibacterial and helps the liver to rid the body of toxins.

* Avoid refined carbohydrates - sugar, white rice, white flour, semolina, cous cous, white pasta etc. as they rub your body off essential nutrients whilst not delivering much in return. Sugar, sweets, sweet drinks, soft drinks, alcohold and anything refined suppresses the immune system, weakens the virus-fighting white blood cells and promotes inflammation. As a result you may find it difficult to shift even the most common cold or will find yourself catching them several times a season.

Needless to say, any processed foods should be forgotten, too. Your body is too precious to be fed with junk.

Go for the nutritious kinds of carbs instead, especially brown rice, quinoa, oats and millet. Your can replace the sweets with fruits (including a little organic dry fruit), raw chocolate made with a little agave nectar or a little (1 tsp daily at most) raw honey. I do realise that honey is a kind of sugar, but the raw kind (or Manuka honey if you can't find the local one) is antimicrobal and antibacterial and can do wonders (I can tell you more about the honey in one of the future posts). 

* Chicken soup made with whole organic chicken and vegetables - the broth acts as an anti-inflammatory remedy and also helps to clear the mucus. Many Russian families have relied on this solution for centuries and it really does work. Choose green and bright vegetables rather than the starchy ones (celery, onion, cabbages, Brussel sprouts, broccoli should make the main bulk. If you have to have potatoes, go for the sweet ones - use my vegetarian idea, just replace the stock).

* Use cinnamon, ginger and turmeric in your foods - they are antibacterial, warming and add amazing flavour to the dishes.

* Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water and herbal (not fruit!) teas. And if you do catch a cold, increase your fluids.

See... It's pretty easy to be healthy - all it takes is a bit of discipline and some positive attitude. 

Photo source: Sogni e risvegli, Vanity Fair Style August 2014 (photography: Pamela Hanson, styling: Sciascia Giambaccini)

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing this. Much of the time, articles informing their readers of ways to be healthy are just jumbles of words arranged to form lies, confusion, and material that has not been researched correctly, if at all. This article was informative, clear, and its content will be pretty easy to apply to life. Thanks!

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  2. Dear Natalia, I appreciate your wise guide and I must say I mostly abide by it, except for garlic, which I really can't stand, and stress, which I have too much of! Tons of love dear, hope you are well and happy!
    Baci,
    Coco et La vie en rose - Valeria Arizzi

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  3. so cute.. ;0))

    xoxo

    new post
    www.live-style20.blogspot.com

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  4. Great post! I found all of this info really interesting and helpful. And, even though it is summer here, I think it's important to follow a lot of these suggestions year round! Definitely pinning this :-)

    Kisses from Buenos Aires xx
    http://amateandarottweiler.blogspot.com.ar/

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  5. Amazing tips! I definitely need to stock up on some coconut oil as my skin is becoming increasingly dry :( X

    THEFASHION-JUNKIE

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  6. Да,Вы абсолютно правы,Наташенька!
    Действительно очень просто быть здоровым,соблюдая все эти правила и гигиены и питания,движения и отдыха.....
    Теперь дело за малым-посмотреть на все эти доказательства по-настоящему серьёзно и перестать лениться....
    А та к же понять,что у нас всего лишь одна жизнь и намного приятнее быть спокойным,радостным и здоровым нежели наоборот!!!
    Так прекрасно подобраны фото к теме,модель-само совершенство и именно такой можно представить себе "Nutrition"girl!

    Чистого и уютного Вам воскресенья!:)

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  7. Хочу еще раз поблагодарить за на полнейший и очень нужный пост Вас,Наташенька!
    Я стараюсь следовать многим из этих советов практически всегда:)
    А та к же пронаблюдала,что регулярное употребление магнезия в комбинации с цинком помогает поддерживать иммунитет на уровне со многими другими факторами!
    Занесла себе этот пост в один из важных к себе,что бы периодически заглядывать и напоминать себе!

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  8. More rest, relaxation, regular exercise and eating more protein are my priorities.

    www.LUXESSED.com

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  9. post davvero interessante a presto

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  10. Great tips, but I can't stand garlic and I don't exercise. I am so bad!!

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  11. I'm going to incorporate more organic and vegan cosmetics in my collection.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

    ReplyDelete