How to stay healthy this winter!
Updated: Mar 12
Each year as the colder seasons hits, the sniffles begin, and before long there comes that period of time when 'that bug that's going around' comes around... and we wish it hadn't!
Fortunately there are a few things we can do to maximise our health and minimise our chances of getting sick this winter. Here are our top tips for staying cold and flu free!
#1 Do not over use your central heating!
This is our number one for a very good reason so don't ignore this tip! How you use your central heating could mean the difference between you staying healthy this winter or coughing and spluttering your way through your xmas roast!
An over heated home causes a reaction called Vasomotor Rhinitis; the process by which certain chemicals are released to cope with the new temperature. This reaction can quickly lead to sneezing and congestion, and we become primed for succumbing to colds and flu!
Minimise your use of central heating and ensure that at least twice a day the heating comes off, allowing the temperature to cool and the air to move. Feel some chill, put on an extra layer, and take a deep breath through those clear nostrils. Just try it for yourself, you'll be happy you did!
#2 Drink Chaga Tea!
Whole books have been written on this miracle medicinal mushroom, and so to keep our tips brief we've put some more information at the bottom of this list, along with a special offer for you to buy three months of Chaga (enough to see you through the winter!) from the LifeWell Lifestyle shop.
Chaga is hailed as King of the medicinal mushroom; a wild forest mushroom which grows for many years inside of a very small percentage of the world’s birch trees. Having gleaned the tree filtered mineral rich water and the phyto-nutrients passed on by the tree’s own process of photosynthesis, after around 7 years the Chaga emerges through the bark ready to be harvested.
By that time the Chaga has become one of the most nutritionally potent foods on the planet, topping the Orac scale of anti-oxidant containing foods – dwarfing the likes of Goji Berries, Acai Berries, Blue Berries and Cacao, by a long way!
Chaga is so mild in flavour it can be sneaked into coffee, hot chocolate, and even rice or quinoa!
#3 Bring in the berries!
Most of the sweet fruits we now consume were once smaller not quite so sweet tasting berries, before we bred them into more size and sweetness. Fruit may not be the most climate appropriate foods for us at winter time, but berries are different. With their dense pigments and nutrients, and lower sugar, they are an essential immune boosting treat to enjoy throughout the winter time.
Snack on berries alone or add some into porridge, served with a little raw honey.
#4 Don't over eat
Ok, there's several family meals to attend, we're not going to get this perfect! But the important thing is to not over eat in the evening. After you've had those big afternoon meals, keep it light in the evening. If you can go to bed with even the smallest amount of hunger, you'll be doing your body a huge favour; giving your digestive system a rest at night and allowing your body to better detoxify and rejuvenate during sleep. When you eat light at night, you awake more refreshed mind and body.
You don't need to be told again how beneficial meditation is, but we just want to remind you that as xmas approaches we tend to get busier keeping up with our obligations, and our minds start to speed up! When we fill up on thoughts and speed up in our minds, we can easily switch on stress in our body. Take some time every day to breathe, feel and be. Your mind will slow down and your body will return to a better homeostatic equilibrium.
More on Chaga...
Revered for millennia in Siberian herbalism and bursting into the awareness of the health food community in recent years by virtue of it’s unique and powerful nutritional properties. Chaga makes a delightfully vanilla tasting tea, and is so mild in flavour can even be used to cook soups or rice with, making it so effortless and uniquely economical to add this abundance of nutrition into your lifestyle. Used properly 100g of Chaga may last for around one month!
Chaga tea offers a wealth of immune-boosting effects. Firstly, chaga can help the immune system to prepare its defenses against pathogens. Polysaccharides found in chaga have been shown to promote the creation of white blood cells, one of the body’s primary means of defense. Chaga is also a source of vitamin B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin) and B5 (pantothenic acid), all of which have been used to boost immune function.
Chaga also supports immune function by eliminating harmful pathogens. Triterpenes found in Chaga are known to have antibacterial properties, able to eliminate a number of harmful bacteria. Other constituents in Chaga have shown antiseptic and even anthelmintic properties, meaning they can help to eliminate parasitic worms.
Chaga is also being researched for potential antiviral effects. Betulinic acid, one of its triterpenoids, is both antipyretic (helping to regulate a fever) and anti-inflammatory, thus helping to regulate immune response to prevent the immune system from overreacting to infection.
Interestingly, several of these beneficial constituents are not native to the mushroom itself, but are actually absorbed from the bark of the birch trees these mushrooms grow on. Birch bark has been known as an important natural remedy for immunity for centuries, especially in Siberia, and Chaga’s tendency to absorb its positive qualities combines the potency of two natural herbal remedies into one beneficial source.
Bonus tip - how to get the most Chaga for your buck!
Chaga is incredibly economical to use and great value. Simply add a chunk into a pan of simmering water until it turns brown but is still transparent, this will take just a few minutes. That same chunk can be used again and again.
When it is no longer making tea, add another fresh chunk in and break the first chunk down into smaller pieces. Over the next few uses those smaller chunks will release more Chaga tea! Once the new chunk is no longer making tea, remove the smaller chunks and repeat the process.
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