Winter Health Preparations - Five things you can do now
By Stephen Eddey, Naturopath and Nutritional consultant with Australis Natural Health College, as featured on Mouths of Mums.
With winter on its way, bringing with it the possibility of passing around cold and flu bugs in your household like a hot potato, Stephen Eddey, has come up with a list of five things your family can do now to get ready for colds and flu season.
1. Fresh-picked olive leaf extract
Fresh-picked olive leaf extract has been traditionally used to support the immune system and relieve symptoms of colds, flu, sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections. Antioxidants such as polyphenol act as free-radical scavengers, helping to quench free radical activity which is the cause of a weaker immune system and inflammation. Oleuropein, the most well-known polyphenol has been shown to be one of the most powerful antioxidants because of the unique way it works in synergy with the other antioxidants found in olive leaves. Fresh-picked olive leaf extract is a powerful antioxidant with five times more antioxidant activity than the equivalent amount of Vitamin C [i]. It is also a simple way to get your daily dose of oleuropein and may assist in keeping you and your family protected from the dreaded cold and flu this winter. It is advisable to choose olive leaf extract which is ‘fresh picked’ to ensure the olive leaves are processed at its freshest resulting in the highest quality and potency.
You’ve probably heard this countless times, but the truth is, you can’t underestimate just how important sleep is to you and your family’s body. Most of us simply don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, which can wreak havoc on the immune system. Consider sleep a detox for your brain – sleeping, not just resting, restores and replenishes your body allowing for overall improved performance.
3. Plan your snacks
Sometimes when it’s cold and you and your children might be starting to feel run down, you could be more inclined to reach for a quick and convenient snack because you think it will give you an easy boost of energy. Remember that packaged snacks, (even if they’re from the health food isle in the supermarket!), are often loaded with sugar and preservatives that are of little to no benefit to your body. It’s important to sustain the body with the right food and fuel, all year round. When that mid-morning slump or 3pm craving hits, be ready by planning your snacks in advance, and pack healthier options like fresh fruit and nuts that will leave everyone feeling fuller for longer and assist with more stable blood sugar levels. Your body and mind will thank you.
4. Eat your greens
Green leafy vegetables are full of phytonutrients, which fight illnesses like the flu. Try incorporating some sort of green vegetable like broccoli, kale or spinach into every family meal, even breakfast. A diet rich in vitamins and minerals is vital when building a strong immune system, and green leafy vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals like iron, which will help with your and your children’s energy levels when you’re feeling a bit under the weather.
5. Keep moving
Keeping your body moving is essential even in the colder months. Taking a pass on exercise may increase your risk of catching a cold, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Medicine[i]. Researchers found the incidence of colds were lower in women who worked out five days a week for 45 minutes. Go outside for a winter stroll in the park or a walk by the beach with your little ones to catch some fresh air and winter sunshine. If it’s too cold to get outside, try yoga (there are yoga classes for kids as well) or a fitness class. If you think you may be getting sick, switch to light-intensity exercise but try to keep active if you can.
Always read the label. Use only as directed. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare practitioner. [i] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20204249