Autumn is truly here with winter just around the corner. It certainly takes an adjustment to get used to the shorter days and colder temperatures. There’s good and bad that comes with this change. It’s a time to get excited for cooking up broths, stews, turmeric lattes, hot chocolates and sticking on cosy sweaters and getting ready for Christmas. But it’s also a time for colds & flu, itchy or dry skin and stiffness/achy muscles & joints. Plus for many, more darkness also equals low mood. If you’re like us, you’ll appreciate that there are a few things you can do to help prevent the not so great things. This blog post looks at just that; tips for helping your body adjust to the cold weather.
Tips for Helping your Body Adjust to the Cold Weather
Get More Light Exposure
Humans, along with other animals, follow the 24-hour circadian rhythm. This means our bodies respond to light and darkness and hence why long before we had alarm clocks we would naturally wake as it got brighter and go to sleep when it got dark. The kind of light we’re exposed to falls into two types: blue light and red light. Blue light stimulates us to wake up while red light helps your body to prepare for sleep. The shorter days mean there is less blue light to
Add a little spice
We can all do with a little spice. Seriously though, adding spices to your food is the single easiest way to boost the nutrient density of the meal. Most herbs and spices also contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. Spices come in many forms but they generally carry similar benefits of helping with inflammation, immunity, skin health, gut health and more. To give just a few examples:
- Cinnamon is associated with helping balance blood sugar, is microbial and contains one of the highest sources of disease-fighting antioxidants. So add it to your porridge or over some chopped apple slices.
- Turmeric contains curcumin, a cancer-fighting compound. It helps reduce inflammation and help with joint health. Shave fresh turmeric into soups/stews, juice it or even add it to your rice. Or give these cashew turmeric bombs a try.
- Garlic is one of those ingredients that goes with everything. It’s great for an immunity boost.
- Thyme is a potent antimicrobial and can help promote healing. Plus it goes great with a roast!
A hot bath
Sometimes you just need a time out to yourself. But adding Epsom salts can really help to ease the aches and stiffness in your muscles. Plus it’s that perfect meditative ‘time out’ moment where you can switch off, light some candles and relax after a hard day. No time for a bath? Topical magnesium spray can help too.
Eat your veggies
One of the best ways to boost your immune system is by eating your veggies. Don’t stop with just the greens, incorporate all the colours! Not only does it help add fibre, but vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help keep your immune system healthy. So load up your soups and stews and get stuck in. Try this rustic salad, or winter veggies bean stew.
When the cold weather hits, there’s nothing quite like a warm bowl of soup or stew. There’s a number of benefits to having more of these meals. First, you’re adding more vegetables and second, the meal is pre-digested in the process of cooking and so easy on the digestive system. Bone broth, in particular, is one warming meal to eat more of for a host of reasons. If you’re someone who makes their own broth, you’re adding amazing nutrients including:
- collagen to protect bone health and help with strong hair and nails (to name just a few, there’s lots more)
- gut health supporting nutrients collagen, amino acids like glutamine and gelatin.
- minerals and electrolytes to help support circulation, immunity, heart health and more
Read more about bone broth. Make one batch and use it in a variety of ways: drink as is, freeze into ice cubes and use as needed in cooking, freeze in larger batches and reheat for a handy snack or pre-meal warmer. The slow cooker is amazing for bone broth and stew type meals in general.
Contrary to what some think, honey contains an awful lot more than just sugar. In fact, there are over one hundred compounds including amino acids, minerals and vitamins. Darker honey is typically higher in bioactive compounds and show greater antioxidant activity.
Hopefully these tips for helping your body adjust to the cold weather help you!