It’s not just you – there really is something about the change of season that can leave you feeling out of sorts. The colder temps and fewer hours of daylight make it hard to stick to your usual workout routine, you start reaching for comfort foods, and your mood starts to dip. When your body does not have the sunlight, it’s not uncommon to feel depressed or down or sluggish.
The icing on the cake is cold, dark days coincide with cold and flu season. The cold weather isn’t really to blame – one of the primary reasons people get sick more in the winter is because these viruses are simply more prevalent in the winter. And the viruses spread more easily because people spend more time inside.
But you don’t need to let winter win! Here are some winter wellness tips on how you can keep the season from dragging you down.
A happy gut is a healthy gut
A healthy gut is the ticket to a strong, resilient immune system. It’s not what you eat or even what you digest, it’s a question of having sufficient stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes and gut bugs to help enable proper absorption of nutrients.
These essential gut bacteria are your gatekeepers. Bacteria line the whole length of your digestive tract from your mouth to your anus. We call these bacteria ‘gatekeepers’ because they constantly monitor everything that goes into your mouth and decide what is friend or foe. You can liken them to a neighbourhood watch scheme, continually surveying and testing what is coming into the digestive tract, sending messages to the immune system to respond and act if a pathogen is detected. Ensure your gatekeepers are topped up by taking one of our Live Bacteria probiotic capsules twice daily before breakfast and before bed.
Quick-fire tummy troubleshooting
- Make mindful food choices – protect the lining of your gut to prevent toxins leaking through the gut wall and increasing the risk of getting IBS, painful bloating, constipation and food intolerances by eating foods that contain glutamine (the ‘glue’ that holds the cells that line the intestines together) – these include eggs, milk, and seafood.
- Avoid ultra-processed foods (UPFs) – UPFs will not support a healthy gut. If you don’t feed your gut bacteria with a good ‘fertiliser’ (aka prebiotics, which are found in fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and wholefoods), the bacteria will starve and die, and this can have serious health implications due to the intrinsic link between immune health and the levels of friendly bacteria in your gut.
- Chew, chew, chew! – Eat more slowly to ensure your food is properly broken down. This enables more of the nutrients to be absorbed through the gut wall and taken to the liver, where the liver distributes those nutrients to the cells of the body. Chewing also reduces bloating and acid reflux.
- Ditch the gum – avoid chewing gum as this can confuse and overstimulate digestion, creating too much stomach acid, leading to bloating and acid reflux.
- Work on your stress levels – stress hormones released into the bloodstream can slow down the bowel increasing the risk of constipation and bloating. In others, stress can cause diarrhoea and cramps. Find ways to manage your stress and get some all-important ‘ME’ time.
- Monitor your sleep – did you know that it takes just two nights of poor sleep to have a detrimental impact on your gut microbiome? Do everything you can to get a good night’s sleep.
Many of us are wondering what this winter is going to bring, and if we are going to have another serious outbreak of Covid-19, or at least a new variant that our immune system must contend with, so be well armed, ready and prepared. Complacency and lack of thinking ahead can catch you out and put you in bed!
If you have any questions about a digestive and gut health issue or would like to know which of our supplements will help you through the winter months, please get in touch.