1. Warm Foods & Spices
In traditional chinese medicine (TCM), cold ‘dampens’ the spleen, which is the organ believed to be involved with digestion. During a colder, damp season, it is important to decrease the ‘cold’ foods and include warming foods. Spices are also a great adjunct to this. Including spices such as ginger, cinnamon, cayenne can improve circulation and aid digestion.
2. Vitamin D
During this time, the sunshine mostly hides behind a cloud of grey skies, and levels of Vitamin D can plummet leading to SAD – seasonal affective disorder. It is essential to supplement with a high quality Vitamin D all winter long to keep your mood and health in top shape.
3. Dry Skin
Many people find that their skin cyclically changes every winter. Amongst the many benefits of fish oils, essential fatty acids are an excellent way of nourishing your body from the inside out. Quality of all supplements, but especially fish oil, can vary greatly. Make sure you are purchasing from a quality health food store or practictioner, otherwise you may be doing more harm than good.
4. Infrared Saunas
During the cold wet months of winter, an excellent way to warm and detoxify your body is sitting in an infrared sauna for approximately 20 minutes. Infrared saunas penetrate your body 4-5cm and helps detoxifies your cells. Always make sure to shower with soap afterwards, as the fat soluble toxins released via sweat will be reabsorbed if not bound by the saponins in soap.
5. Greens Drink
‘Green’ drinks help bind toxins and heavy metals in the body. They basically at as a courier system to deliver unwanted heavy metals & toxins to the right exit of your body. My favourite brand, because of quality and delicious flavour, is ‘Green’s First’.
Winter can be a time of retainment. Keeping digestion flowing is essential. Fiber is a binding agent and also acts as a ‘courier’ for excess hormones and other unwanted materials. If toxins are delivered to the intestines to be removed and have nothing to bind to, they will be reabsorbed. 2 tbsp of freshly ground flax seeds in a glass of water at night is an easy, palatable way of getting the beneficial fiber and lignans that bind to excess estrogen.
7. Herbal Teas
Coffee wrecks havoc on the adrenal glands, especially if they are already depleted, which in today’s society, is almost ubiquitous. Another great alternative is herbal teas. Depending on the blend, they can be a warming, energizing, or soothing. Yerba mate and green tea are great energizing alternatives to coffee.
Digestion can become more sluggish during winter and old flare ups can reappear. When this occurs, the nutrients from food and supplements will not be as well absorbed nor utilized by the body. An old remedy of 1 tsp of apple cidar vinegar before each meal can be used to aid with digestion. The smell and taste is not pleasant, however, it’s benefits make it worth it. You can add it to a small amount of water if desired.
Fall is a time to focus on foods that were grown during the few previous summer months and are meant to carry us through the winter. Choose these winter foods more often and less of the summer, tropical fruits and vegetables.
Vancouver Naturopath: Vancouver Naturopathic Doctor Krista Moyer