It seems like the first chilly mornings of the season bring sniffles, watery eyes and tickles to the throat. Soon, the muffled sounds of coughing are rampant in the grocery store, shopping mall and maybe even your yoga class (!!). Cold and flu season is inevitable as the climate changes throughout the year, but what if there were some simple tricks to give you and your immune system an extra layer of protection? Well, we’ve got ’em! Here are a few “no-brainer” tips to maximize your health throughout the winter.
The first line of healthy defense is warmth. When you’re chilly, your body prioritizes where warm blood is sent so that vital organs are preserved and supported. Unfortunately, your immune system is not something that our bodies consider as essential to immediate survival so fresh, health-giving blood is diverted. When we stay warm and cozy, our immune system is supported, leaving us less susceptible to germs! Grab a pair of extra thick socks (or two) and a soft hat if you’re out in the cold and recharge with a hot coffee or tea frequently!
If keeping warm is our first line of defense, staying hydrated is number two. By keeping fluids moving in and out of our bodies, we can encourage our body to flush out potential infections, essentially detoxing the body. See how many benefits a hot cup of tea will give you?!
Along with hydration, we can warm and detox the body from the inside out by eating certain foods. Spices, including cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and cayenne increase warmth from within when consumed. These spices are also great at flushing out stagnant fluid in the body.
Make sure to include fresh greens in your diet too! When we consume sunshine (green leaves = chlorophyll = sunlight), we’re providing ourselves with tremendous amounts of vitamins and minerals that leave us healthy and strong.
Try stirring some fresh greens into a warm bowl of soup with a splash of turmeric and cayenne! The greens will wilt a little but you’ll still benefit from all the nutrients. (See – all that chicken noodle/matzo ball soup your parents used to give you really was working!) If soup isn’t your thing, try mixing some warming spices into a freshly pressed juice or smoothie – just as yummy!
It sometimes seems as though exercise is the answer for everything, right? When we exert ourselves, our bodies produce so many feel-good hormones that in turn change our brain’s chemistry! With this newfound mindset, our outlook shifts and sometimes that can strengthen our immune system. Have you ever noticed that you tend to get sick less when participating in moderate exercise regularly? (Beware that too much exercise will actually increase your risk of infection because you’ll be taking energy away from your immune system!)
Another benefit of exercise is detox! When we sweat, we’re providing our bodies with yet another way to get rid of toxins and potential invaders – a win all around! We can help with this one – check out our Manhattan Beach and Berkeley yoga schedules!
Winter is traditionally a time of hibernation, a time to slow down a little and take advantage of shorter days and longer nights. Make sure you’re providing your body with adequate rest and maybe even a little extra love. If you do feel a little tickle in your throat or sniffles begin to come on, rest!
And if all else fails, vitamin C and zinc can work wonders! A personal favorite of mine is elderberry flower extract, taken at the first sign of illness, and Echinacea tea.
I’m fairly certain you’ve come across these remedies time after time – but a second reminder never hurts! Do you do something to stay healthy? We want to know!
Our favorite picks for classes and workshops this month:
Special 90-minute Yin + Yang Yoga on Sunday, December 13th with Matt & Chelsea Rothert (pre-registration not required!)
Yoga, Wine & Chocolate Workshop on Saturday, December 12th with Linda Baffa and Chelsea Rothert. Details + registration here!
Yin Restorative every Wednesday at 7:30PM with Chelsea Rothert (pre-registration not required!)
Sound-Infused Yin Workshop on Saturday, December 12th with Kari Jacobsen and Missy Felsenstein. Details + registration here!
New Year Detox: Mindful Cleanse over 3 Saturdays in January with Ai Kubo. Details + registration here!
Candlelight Yin Relaxation Yoga every Wednesday at 7:30PM with Kari Jacobsen (pre-registration not required!)
Also, always remember to listen to your body and consult a doctor before beginning a new or strenuous exercise or dietary routine. These guidelines are not to be used to treat or diagnose any medical conditions and are meant for educational and general information purposes only.