Prevention is Better than Cure

Prevention is Better than Cure

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Cold and Flu Fighting this Winter

Boosting your immune system all year will reduce your risk of catching colds or worse the dreaded flu during the colder months. Flu season peaks in the months of January and February within the UK and can cause serious illness for the young, old and at-risk groups. If you fall into one of these categories it is recommended you receive the flu jag. However, we can take steps to help ourselves by leading a healthy lifestyle by eating a nutrient dense diet, getting plenty of exercise, ensuring adequate sleep and keeping stress levels low.

Here are some of my top tips to help you boost your immune system this winter.

Eat your veggies Keeping your body well-nourished helps with more than just weight control; it also supports your body with energy, digestion, immune function and disease prevention.  One of the most significant things you can do to start implementing an immune-boosting diet is to add fresh, whole foods when possible.  Start with vegetables because they’re one of the foods that are typically missing in most diets (or we just don’t get enough of them) there are so many benefits for your overall health and well-being by consuming at least 5 servings of vegetables each day. Green fruits and vegetables are a nutritional powerhouse and contain lots of the vitamins (including A, C, K and folate) and minerals (even calcium!) we need every day. This includes magnesium and iron, which are highly beneficial for fighting tiredness and energy slumps. Leafy greens like spinach are also a good source of vitamins A, C and K, for strengthening your immunity, supporting your eye health and even helping other vitamins to be absorbed well. An array of green vegetables to choose from include: kale, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, celery, broccoli, cucumber, artichokes, leafy greens (lettuce varieties, collards), peas, and green peppers just to name a few. It’s not just veggies that add more greens to your plate though – don’t forget about your fruits such as green apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, limes, avocado. Foods from the yellow/orange group are also packed with vitamin C, a natural immune booster. Try pumpkin, oranges, pepper, cantaloupe, mango, squash, sweet potato, papaya, pineapple, carrots and lemon. Stocking up on citrus fruits during the colder months or start the day with a half lemon squeezed in some water each day all year round to boost your immunity.

 

 

Eat enough protein Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones. Protein is found in both animal and plant foods such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy products, legumes, grains and some vegetables. Try to include protein at each meal to feel the benefits.

 

 

Good Fats Consuming sufficient amounts of fat in the right forms and proper proportions have been shown to offer significant health benefits.  Among other things, it can strengthen the immune system. Healthy fats are found in foods such as meat, eggs, nuts, seeds, and oily fish, like salmon. Purchase the highest quality you can if your budget allows.

Other good fat sources include olive oil, coconut oil and avocado (i.e. olive oil as part of salad dressing; coconut oil for cooking, baking and more; and avocado in smoothies or on your sandwich or salad). Remember you only need to eat a little of these to get all the benefits from fat.

 

 

Exercise reduces infections Moderate workouts temporarily rev-up the immune system by increasing the aggressiveness or capacity of immune cells. That may explain why people who exercise catch fewer colds.

Reducing stress There is a growing amount of research on the effect of stress on our physical bodies. For example, feeling overly worried can trigger stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline/epinephrine. It can also activate the “fight or flight” part of our nervous systems (called the “sympathetic” nervous system). When these are activated, they can physically suppress our immune systems, and make us more susceptible to infections. Try including 10 minutes of yoga or meditation each day to help reduce stress levels.

Improve the quality of sleep Poor sleep can lower immunity. If you seem to get every cough and cold going, your sleep habits may be to blame. Researchers deliberately exposed people to the common cold virus to see how likely they were to go on to develop a cold. Participants who had been sleeping for less than 7 hours per night had lower immunity and were almost 3 times more likely to be impacted. Even a small sleep debt has been linked to lower immunity.

Wash your hands regularly wash your hands to ensure you are not spreading germs. Germs can live for up to 8 hours on any surface, so getting into the habit of washing your hands after your morning commute particularly if you travel by public transport, after using the bathroom and avoid touching your face as much as possible.

 

 If you are struggling to implement any of these changes to your diet and lifestyle, please book a free consultation call with me and see how I can support you.

Best wishes,

Christy x

5 Quick and Easy Self-care Tips for Busy Women

5 Quick and Easy Self-care Tips for Busy Women

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For busy women, self-care can feel like an unaffordable luxury. Self-care is often advertised as long weekends spent at the beach, a trip to the spa, or even hours spent on exercise. In reality, though, self-care can be anything (small or big) you do to give your body attention.

Which is why the following self-care tips won’t take more than 10 minutes of your time while still having a big impact on your body and mind.

Touch your toes and stretch

It’s easy to ignore the stress in our spines. But the truth of the matter is that when we spend long hours hunched over the computer, curled up on the couch or picking up after the kids, our posture and body take the backseat. It won’t take more than ten minutes to step out of your chair and touch your toes, but the stretching will do your aching joints and body some long-lasting good.

While you’re at it, stretch the rest of your body as well. Perhaps you can look up a yoga posture, or you have a stretching routine in mind already. Whether it is advanced or basic, any kind of stretching will keep your body functioning well despite periods of inactivity. Touch your toes, extend your arms and gear yourself up physically and mentally for whatever task is at hand.

 

Massage and moisturise

We tend to link massage and fancy lotions to a day at the spa, not many of us have the time or budget to indulge in frequent spa trips. But that’s okay because no masseuse will know your body and your preferences as well as you do!

Use a natural lotion such as organic coconut oil or avocado oil (don’t be afraid to indulge in your favourite) and rub it mindfully into your arms and shoulders, or even across your legs. Spread the cream or oil gently and thoroughly and use your hands to massage over your body across areas that you might not realise are aching. You might come across some sudden sore spots, it’s important to focus on those for a moment, rubbing in the lotion. You will be relaxed and energised and your skin will benefit greatly from the extra moisturising.

Phone a friend

At a time where connectivity options are abundant, it’s funny how disconnected we actually are. The troubles of everyday life can be exhausting and drain us of all the time and will to socialise beyond what is absolutely necessary. During our free time, there are personal things we need to tend to that make socialising take a back seat. But to truly care for ourselves, we need to nurture social and emotional aspects as well.

While it’s easy to pick up your phone and send a text, take ten minutes out of your day to chat with a friend or family member. You benefit just as much as they do. Simply talk about your day and maintain the feeling of being connected. Your support system can help relieve stress and help you to maintain a healthy mindset through your shared bond.

Drink two additional glasses of water today

Water is that little magic potion we all too often ignore: it relieves fatigue, clears skin, detoxes your body, improves digestion, and prevents cramps. And yet we often forget to hydrate, or hydrate so little we get headaches as a result. Not only will drinking two glasses of water help you hydrate, it will also give you much-needed time to get away from your technological devices and focus on your surroundings.

Drink the water slowly and savour the break from your work before you dive back into it. Take it in slow sips if you need to, and be sure to follow this tip regularly to met your daily requirement of H2O. Try to follow the sensation of the water as it trickles down your throat as this will help you take your mind off of the stress and daily chaos of your life for a few seconds. Not a big water fan? Add a little squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to add a touch of flavour. Better yet, grab a jug of water and put some sliced fruit such as strawberries and mint for a delightful way to get your water in.

Play with your pet or go for a walk

Whether it’s a furry friend or a tank full of fish, scientists have proven the health benefits of animals at every turn. A pet of your own means a faithful companion. And in addition to that spending time with a pet is a proven way to lower blood pressure and increase oxytocin levels.

The enjoyment from pets can be calming and repetitive motion of petting your companion (or even staring at a fish tank!) will help soothe you. Don’t have a pet? Go for a walk to your local park, just taking in the sights of other dogs and animals has the same impact on your wellbeing.

Self-care isn’t just about facials, eating your greens and getting your hair done. It’s also about the soul food that fuels you and the small things that make big impacts on your overall wellbeing. By practising these 5 tips, you get to spend 10 minutes away from whatever it is you do each day and you get to separate yourself from the chaos and stress of your daily life. There is so much more to achieving a happy healthy body and mind than diet and exercise!

If you would like to have a chat about how I can support you to achieve a healthy balanced lifestyle, then please book a free telephone consultation at a time that suits you best.

Wishing you health & happiness,

Christy x