A plan for all seasons | No flu in winter wonderland

Don’t you just love those crisp winter mornings, ice-skating on the lakes, the snow, glögg, candles and nisse in every window? Along with the charms of the Danish winter, the neverending julefrokost and ample opportunities for hygge come the typical seasonal ills. Don’t let sore throats, colds and the flu get you down this year. Be prepared with some natural remedies from the kitchen cupboard to help you deal with and reduce any uncomfortable symptoms.

Is it all a load of hocus pocus?

When it comes to natural remedies, there are those who swear by them and those who won’t entertain the thought. On a basic level, what it comes down to is that if you’re feeling groggy, stuffy, achy and under the weather, these traditional remedies have stood the test of time to help alleviate symptoms in many a household and might well prove to be a welcome helper when you’re barely able to drag yourself off the sofa. Natural remedies work through ingesting the ingredient’s/plant’s/herb’s inherent qualities, whether they be anti-bacterial, immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, soothing etc. By using these, you’re helping your body to boost its own defences which, in both the short and long run, helps to strengthen your natural health and resistance.

Natural Home Remedies for Common Winter Complaints

For colds, sip on an immune-boosting squeezed lemon juice with warm water, ginger and raw honey (must be raw as this preserves healthful enzymes). Mix together one small tablespoon of raw honey with ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. Take this for three days or so, as soon as you feel symptoms coming on and there’s a good chance you’ll keep that cold at bay.

The above is also a good remedy to help soothe sore throats. Or try adding a spoonful of this mix to slightly cooled sage tea. If you’re able to make it down to the local health food shop, bee propolis spray is a miracle worker for soothing sore throats.

For flu, as soon as you feel a cold, the flu or a sore throat coming on, drink one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar diluted in a glass of water, three times a day. Admittedly, this isn’t the tastiest of beverages, but it will alkalise your body, helping to ward off infection.

For blocked noses, tickle your toes. This trick works a treat for both adults and children with blocked noses. Rub and massage the underside of each toe with firm pressure (not so firm for little toes) from the base to the tip of the toes. Try it, as this seriously clears the most stuffed-up of blocked noses within a few minutes.

And above all, eat sensibly. Our diets are often not optimal enough to keep us in tip-top shape. Modern farming methods and soil quality has not helped, while convenience-packaged, processed foods have become a staple in most households. If you’re often sick during the winter, supplementing your diet with good quality multivitamins and minerals, extra vitamin C, zink and selenium will help to boost your immunity.

Eat yourself out of the cold and flu season

Ditch the processed sugar – one teaspoon of sugar depletes your immune system for four hours. Government regulations recommend no more than eight teaspoons a day. The average person eats up to 22 a day. That’s a lot of sugar – mainly hidden in packaged, processed, refined foods. It pays to know what you’re eating.

We all know citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, but so are broccoli and strawberries, and how about giving goji berries a try? They make a great snack and topping for your breakfast porridge or dessert. A banana, spinach or berry smoothie will give your immune system a nutritional boost.

Eat plenty of garlic and onion, and follow up by eating parsley if you’re worried about intoxicating the office (if they’re able to smell anything with those blocked noses).
Make green tea your hot beverage of choice to fill up on anti-oxidants that help ward off cold and flu viruses.

Increase your intake of healthy fats and oils: avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseeds and oil, chia seeds, nuts, oily fish and fish oil.

No need to avoid coughing colleagues and feverish friends

Do you think that illness and feeling blue are all part and parcel of winter? That is not so. Building up your physical health from the inside goes a long way to ensuring a healthy winter, both physically and emotionally.

But if you’re experiencing serious and persistent symptoms, go to your doctor.

Caroline Cain is a half-English, half-French naturopathic nutritionist and reflexologist who believes that lasting heath, radiance and energy is achievable through a practical, relaxed approach to clean, green, healthy eating and living and a generous dash of radical self-care. She also speaks Danish and Spanish. Find out more at www.carolinecain.dk.

For four weeks at a time, four times a year, our aim is to give you all the seasonal lifestyle advice you need to thrive in the areas of gardening, health, food and sport. When should you plant your petunias, when does the birch pollen season normally start, which week do the home-grown strawberries take over the supermarket, and which outdoor sports can you play in the snow? All the answers are here in ‘A plan for all seasons’.