Winter can be a wonderful time, with roaring fires, comfy slippers and cosy evenings in. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, it’s also the time of year when we’re most likely to be struck down with illness in the form of coughs, colds and flu.
One of the biggest causes of illness during the winter months is our diets. When it’s cold outside, we convince ourselves that our bodies are craving stodgy comfort foods. Although they might provide a short-term sense of comfort, these types of foods are incredibly difficult for the body to digest and are low on immunity-boosting nutrients. Eating foods with high fat and/or sugar content overloads the digestive system which, as well as leading to symptoms such as bloating and lethargy, severely lowers your immunity, leaving you far more susceptible to becoming ill.
Move Your Body
We also tend to exercise less in winter – it can be difficult to get motivated to go to the gym, or go out for a walk when it’s freezing cold outside. However, it’s vital to exercise in order to prevent illness. The simple fact is that if you spend all day sat at a desk, and all evening curled up on the sofa (which admittedly can often seem very tempting when the weather’s grey and miserable), you’ll be left feeling tired and sluggish. And if you feel sluggish, you can bet your immune system feels exactly the same.
As little as 20 minutes of exercise a day will encourage your body’s production of antibodies and white blood cells; both of which are essential in helping fight infection and preventing illness. Exercise is also a great way of beating the winter blues. During exercise your body produces hormones called endorphins, which are also known as the brain’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals.
Get The Temperature Right
Another major cause of illness during wintertime is central heating. Although it can be tempting to have the heating on full-blast when the weather’s inclement, the reality is that you’re not doing your body any favours. Dry air causes dry skin, sore throats and provides the perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to thrive. It severely limits the immune system’s ability to function, and is known to aggravate and even cause respiratory conditions like asthma.
It’s Easier Than You Think
Preventing illness during the cold months isn’t as hard as you might think. Eating a diet high in raw food allows the immune system to function at its peak. By eating 100% raw, you can reduce your risk of illness and disease to practically 0%! Eating 70% raw will mean that you’ll rarely get ill, and on the rare occasion that you do, your recovery time will be rapid.
Eating a diet high in raw food will leave you feeling energised, healthy and full of winter sparkle. And a winter with very little, or no illness at all means less time spent off work, and less money spent on health-care and prescriptions. So, instead of being curled up on the sofa drinking chicken soup and sucking lozenges, you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying yourself with the people that matter most.
If you’re interested in finding out how to make raw food satisfying in winter, come along to my Raw Food for Winter workshop in London.
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