Being a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I am often asked about health especially in relations to our gut or digestion. In our affluent society like Australia, we are well supplied with food and information therefore at times it overwhelms us with so many choices or opinions from the laymen to the experts.
June is our wintery windy days or the common cold/flu season. Because we don’t slow our body down over winter, instead continue to do as we do in warmer seasons, our bodies are exposed to the environment compromising our immune system.
Winter is the focus on our immunity to resist bugs or viruses forcing us to stop and rest. Our immune system originate from our gut health, hence if we maintain good gut health, chances are we will have enough immunity to ward off winter infections. It begins with what we put into our mouth to the stomach.
So what is the best plan to build our resistant?
We are naturally drawn to warmer foods, hot drinks, slowly cooked foods over the winter, that’s a good start. If your health is in reasonably good state, just think of adding a few of these suggestions in order to keep it healthy.
Eat more white vegetables such a cauliflower, white turnip/parsnips, kidney beans or black beans enhances the adrenals, sea vegetables helps thyroid function which in turn affects the kidney/adrenals and metabolism. Good quality salt is a must, such as celtic sea salt or Himalayan salts are essential for kidneys. Winter is all about the kidney element.
For maintenance of good health avoid cold raw foods like salads, take advantage of slow cookers to make lots of soups, casserole or stews. Make use of plenty of garlic, ginger, turmeric in cooking. If you feel the cold then drink a fresh brew of ginger, turmeric tea by seeping a slice of fresh ginger plus sliver of turmeric in hot water. Ginger has the ability to heat up the internal organs quickly and clear the body of coldness. Fresh herbs work much faster than tea bags.
If you have arthritic conditions or inflamed joints, avoid the winter mandarins or oranges as they are too acidic for the blood. But they are fine if you do not have inflammatory complaints.
If you have a chesty, phlegmy cold/flu, avoid all dairy and wheat products and bananas as they increase the production of phlegm slowing down your healing. Hilde Hemmes have a great herbal tea called Elimo Cough which helps shift the phlegm.
If you have persistent dry or wet cough keeping you awake, try using a vapouriser with added 5-10ml of colloidal silver, essential oils of eucalyptus or blends of breathe easy oils to help the lungs clear of any infections, loosen up phlegm and help to ease the cough.
If there is a temperature the best is to avoid the cold outside, have a very hot shower, crank up the electric blanket, then sweat it out under the sheets. This is a good chance to allow the immune system to kill the bugs and eliminate it by sweating it out. But be warned you will feel better but may feel weak from using up so much immunity to fight the bug!
If there is only a feeling of coldness, or a head cold with no sore throat, again avoid the cold outside, try to get the body to come back to the normal warm temperature by use of heating such as electric blankets. Also a simple brew is to boil up an orange (cut up into pieces including the skin), a piece of ginger, 2 cloves garlic, a small fresh chilli, 1 teaspoon of honey, 2 cups of water. Boil for about 10 mins then drink the juice. You may need to do it 2-3 times until you start to feel the body easing with the coldness. All ingredients are heat producing, neutralising the “cold” in your body.
All suggestions are using readily available natural food sources and are relatively harmless to try.
Hope some of these suggestions help you to maintain good health over the cooler months ahead!
Until next time, stay healthy, slow down over winter and away from the cold as much as possible. Do what bears do, that is hibernate as much as possible!