It is often assumed that we get a cold at this time of year because it is getting colder, but that doesn’t explain the cold that comes around in spring – the one we call a “summer cold”, does it? What is actually happening is that, as we move from spring to summer and summer to autumn, the rise or fall in temperature hits a sweet spot for bacteria and viruses; the change of season creates an ideal environment for the little bugs to thrive and spread like wildfire. Everyone I saw during fashion week was suffering and it was exactly the same when I was doing the shows; illness was part of the travelling fashion circus and with such close proximity and perfect conditions for growth it is easy to understand why. If you’re run down, you’re more likely to succumb to bacteria and virus invaders than if your immune system were on its A game, so here are some ways to keep up your strength.
– Prevention is obviously better than cure, so get yourself strong, look after your body and it will take care of you. There are many things you can do to keep well, with sleep being one of the best. Make sure you are getting enough – five hours isn’t, FYI. Try and get to bed before midnight, it is a better quality sleep.
– Reduce stress if at all possible – being under too much pressure causes inflammation, which isn’t ideal. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and to stimulate the body into action. It also keeps the lymph moving, and as this is where your immune army hangs out, its good to keep them on the go.
– Take care of your skin, it is your barrier to the world. Daily body brushing will keep your skin and lymph fighting fit; in return the better your immune is working the more your skin will glow. See more on body brushing here.
– The immune system works round the clock fighting off all sorts of threats, and most of the time keeps you well. Your stomach is one of the main defences. If you have low stomach acid your immune will be compromised, so I would recommend taking a cap of apple cider vinegar three times a day to stimulate some fire in the gut.
– On a food and drink front, lean protein will help you recover faster, so get that chicken soup on the go. Garlic is, without doubt, nature’s best offering when you are broken, whether in a cup with honey or just crushed in water and down in one. It is a natural antibiotic and will help to kill off anything unwanted. Fresh is always best so avoid anything that can be draining to the body, such as sugar, excessive saturated fat, alcohol and caffeine. Juices and smoothies are good to include before, during, or after illness – adding some blue green algae and kelp to those drinks will give you a boost.
– Herbs and spices are great – get yourself a herbal tonic that includes things like cayenne, cloves, dandelion roots, ginseng, nutmeg, ashwaganda, astragulus root, coriander seed, maca, anise seeds and cinnamon and take it every day. These herbs help to stimulate your fighter cells and give you energy to deal with incoming bugs.
– On the supplements front, taking a good multi with an antioxidant formula would be a good idea, as adding antioxidants will help your body heal faster. Vitamin D is a big one you should supplement through the winter months, unless you travel and see lots of winter sun. Medicinal mushrooms like shiitake and reishi have polysaccharides that make the body’s natural defences sharper; and then there is zinc, which is found in foods like spinach, pumpkin and flax seeds, oysters, chicken and chickpeas. Zinc is an important mineral for healing. See more on the best supplements for the season here.