Winter can be a cruel mistress with a frosty temperament. The season brings shorter, colder days leaving us more likely to stay indoors and more susceptible to picking up germs. But it’s not all doom and gloom. With cooler days come hot tea and fuzzy socks, roaring fires and good books. To be prepared is to have a wonderful winter. Below are our favourite home remedies for a cold and flu-free winter, to keep you in tip-top shape come summer.
Honey is a time-honoured ingredient for soothing dry coughs. There are many ways to use honey, from teas to a straight teaspoon. Mix honey and lemon with hot water for a warm and soothing drink. For night-time relief, try a glass of hot milk with added honey before bed.
If honey is not to your taste, give ginger a go. Possessing many health benefits, ginger remedies may provide soothing relief from an irritating cough. One of the easiest ways to use ginger is to cut a piece of fresh ginger, sprinkle it with salt and chew on it for a few minutes. Granted, this is not for everyone. To enjoy ginger in a milder form, cut into small pieces and place in a small saucepan. Add about a cup of water and bring to the boil. Strain the liquid and stir in a teaspoon of honey for a soothing drink.
Turmeric is often used for both therapeutic and protective purposes. Add small amounts to hot milk or lemon and honey drinks for extra protection and relief. Alternatively, make your own tea formula using this South Indian recipe:
It’s important to practice good habits during winter in order to be proactive against illness. These can be as simple as making a commitment to eat more fruits and vegetables, keeping moisturised, and staying hydrated. Another tip is to avoid hot baths or long showers as they can dry out the skin, causing irritation. Switch to mild or unscented soaps and avoid beauty products containing alcohol. It’s also important to not forget about sunscreen – the sun is still damaging even in winter!
In conjunction with maintaining healthy habits, introduce these superfoods to your diet to give your immune system an extra boost: olive oil, grapefruit, avocado, carrots, broccoli, and almonds. Use extra-virgin olive oil in salad dressings or as a moisturiser. Grapefruits contain vitamins and antioxidants which are great for anti-aging, start by drinking fresh grapefruit juice. Avocados are not only delicious but can work wonders for the skin. Use them to make face masks or try avocado oil to combat itchy winter skin. The humble carrot is full of nutrients and can benefit you in terms of eyesight, anti-aging, glowing skin and cleansing with its high fibre content. They say ‘B’ is for broccoli and for blissful health. This popular vegetable is wonderful for bone health, regulating blood pressure, heart health and detoxing. Try not to overcook, and lightly steam instead. Almonds pack a punch in terms of healthy fats, fibre, protein, and vitamin E. Health benefits include lowering blood sugar levels, reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, and promoting weight loss.
Colour therapy suggests that wearing bright, warm colours tricks your mind into believing that it is warm outside, or that you are covered in warmth. Although there is no scientific evidence to back this up, it certainly can’t hurt. At the least it may lift your spirits on a dull, gloomy day!