How To Beat The Winter Blues

Winter is here and we find ourselves under the weather more often than before. Not only do we experience more colds and flus, the risk of the winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), increases too. BioCeuticals naturopath and practitioner educator, Emily Seddon shares her favourite tips to get you through the depths of winter.

winter-bluesimage via pinterest

Licorice

Not only does it provide a delicious flavour, licorice has been used in traditional western medicine to deliver soothing, antiinflammatory effects on inflamed throats and sore mucous membranes – making licorice tea a perfect choice to sip on when you feel a sore throat creeping on!

These demulcent properties also act on the digestive tract, and may assist in relieving symptoms including bloating, burping, abdominal fullness and digestive pain.

Additionally via its action on the adrenal glands, licorice root also modulates cortisol – our stress hormone – helping to improve resistance and responses to stressful situations.

Is there anything this herb can’t do?

Zinc

Zinc gets striped on our faces over summer at the beach (and at the cricket), but is equally important throughout the cooler months for two reasons: nervous system and immune responses.

Zinc is involved in neurotransmitter and hormone production and function. It’s essential for our moods, for sleep and for modulating the brain and body’s response to stress.

Don’t let yourself get low!

Impaired immune function can also be sign of a zinc deficiency. For more information on zinc deficiency, or to find the zinc supplement that is ideal for your individual needs, ask your healthcare practitioner for their recommendation.

Echinacea

The beautiful cone-flower is a well-known immune-modulating herb that works wonders for the common cold. But did you know it can also help your skin?

Echinacea is a lymphatic herb. In traditional medicine, the lymphatic system is closely linked to the health of our skin. If lymphatic function is impaired, a subsequent build-up of waste materials can contribute to skin issues including eczema, dermatitis and oedema.

Echinacea stimulates the lymphatic movement and drainage, thereby removing problematic waste material, supporting immune function and keeping your skin healthy and radiant.

Naturopath’s hint: Dry brushing also stimulates the lymphatic system.

Vitamin D3

Known as the sunshine vitamin, your D3 stores can drop rapidly over the winter months and, similar to zinc, it’s essential for adequate immune function and hormone production.

Studies have found that people with the lowest levels of D3 were 11 times more likely to suffer from stress and mood conditions than those who had normal levels.  Likewise, low levels of D3 are associated with increased risk of respiratory tract infections, like colds and flus.

Managing your stress

 Some stress is inevitable in our lives, however you can stop it from zapping all your energy. A few stress-busting options include:

– Taking some time out for you with mindfulness, meditation or massage (even if it’s only 5 minutes).
– Withania, siberian ginseng and rhodiola are all adaptogenic herbs. They help to balance the body and its reaction to stress.
– Get moving! Try gentle exercise such as yoga, Pilates and tai chi as rigorous exercise may increase stress within the body.
– Support your adrenal health

The adrenal glands produce hormones that help the body regulate energy production, amongst many other processes.

When your adrenals are working harder in times of physical activity, mental or emotional stress or when you’re battling an illness, they burn through more magnesium and vitamin C than usual. In these times of extra demand, you may need and benefit from taking more of these nutrients.

Ask your healthcare practitioner to recommend a high quality supplement that is ideal for your individual needs.

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3686844/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23527013

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