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Mid September already, so it’s time for our traditional look forward – if that’s the right word (!) – to the cooler months and things you can do at home to help yourself. As usual, it’s all about a little common sense and the little things we do every day, usually without giving them a second thought. Whether for their immediate or cumulative effects… 
Like last year, we’re not going to repeat the usual advice, but instead give a difference perspective on this time of year. So, if you need a quick reminder about susceptibility and why there really isn’t any bogeyman out there waiting to pounce on you, click here.  
For the more usual advice for this time of year click here and here
This year we’re going to take a look at two very common mistakes people make each Winter. The good news is that, once they’re pointed out, they’re very obvious and easily remedied. Or, as we say at the end of each post, the choice is yours (!). 
The first is one that’s all too easy to slip into at this time of year. Comfort eating. Loading up on all those sweet and sugary treats that, before you’ve realised it, have become part of your daily diet. Now, despite what some people may think, we’re not complete killjoys and against the occasional treat. Yes, really! However, trying to convince yourself that it helps provide extra energy for the cooler temperatures, just doesn’t stack up. At all. On any level. Full stop. 
True, a sugary treat does raise blood sugar levels, but only for a very short time before they come crashing right down, leading to the well known sugar lows. Along with the temptation to have another sugary treat. And another. Sadly, widely fluctuating blood sugar levels are not your friend and won’t help with energy levels. 
Added to this, sugar is well known to depress – ie, reduce – Immune System function. The exact opposite to what you want at any time of year, let alone in the Winter. 
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. A high sugar diet also disrupts the balance of good bacteria in the Digestive System, leading to the overgrowth of so called “bad bacteria” and Candida. 
Not only does this disrupt digestion, but also affects the nutrition obtained from the food we eat. And then, by a final twist of fate, it also has a knock on effect on one of the other Digestive System’s functions. The role it plays as one of the first line of defence for the Immune System. After all, if you think about it, the Digestive System is a very easy way for any “undesirables” to enter the body, hence it playing such an important part in immunity. 
So, comfort eating and all those sugary treats are never going to be your friend or help ensure a healthy Winter.  
And for those of you are thinking that artificial sweeteners may be the answer to a guilt free treat, think again. They come with many problems and undesired effects of their own, leading to a very bitter after taste... 
Which leads us neatly on to the other mistake it’s all too easy to slip into. Adopting the dormouse approach to the Winter. In other words, retreating to the sofa – with or without a sweet treat (!) – and snoozing the Winter away. Again, while it’s ever so tempting, our bodies are designed to be active. 
Aside from physical exercise helping to get the blood flowing and keeping you warm, it’s important for the efficient functioning of the Lymphatic System. This system is passive and so relies on muscles contracting and expanding to move Lymph – Tissue Fluid – back from the tissues to the blood stream and then on to the Liver for detoxing. If you think of it as being as important part of the body's waste collection system, you'll get the idea!  
For a very simple example of why movement is so important, think about how your ankles swell when you’re forced to sit on a plane or car for a period of time without moving. And, how quickly the fluid – Lymph – then disperses as soon as you’re up and about and moving again. 
Taking regular exercise, ideally outside, every day during the Winter can make a huge difference both to how you feel and your body functions during the cooler months. 
While we tend to think it’s only being outside in sunshine that has health benefits, the opposite is true. Natural daylight, even on the cloudiest of days, has huge health benefits. Not only for conditions like SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, aka the Winter Blues – but also for the production of Vitamin D. Up until the last few years, it was thought that Vitamin C was the most important vitamin for an efficient Immune System function. However, research over the last couple of years has found that Vitamin D is equally important, both in avoiding the bugs in the first place as well as in reducing the severity and duration, should the worst happen. 
Which brings us on to a question we’re regularly asked at this time of year. Whether it’s worth taking supplements to help give our bodies a little extra support. Our answer is always the same. Before doing this, it’s important to look at your diet and make any necessary changes. And, by now, we’re sure you know what this means! Good quality supplements can help provide a little extra support, they can’t compensate for a poor diet eating all the wrong things… 
Once you’re done this, taking a good quality multi vitamin and mineral supplement helps address the sad fact that the nutritional value of our food is not as good as it once was. Then, for the Winter as a little extra Immune System support, you could consider adding Vitamin C and D, as well as Zinc, all of which are well researched in this respect. 
And the emphasis here is on good quality. Sadly, many of the supplements available in supermarkets or online are not good quality or in a form that the body can absorb. Hence all the headlines saying that many supplements aren’t worth the money paid for them. As a simple rule of thumb, always go for natural, plant based products as these are what our bodies are designed to absorb. 
If you’re wondering which ones we use – and recommend to Clients – then it’s Nutri Advanced, which are used by Health Practitioners and have a good track record for quality as well as customer support. You can find their website here. If you’re interested in their products and a Client, we can set up an account for you linked to our Practitioner account. It allows us to share our practitioner discount with you by giving you a 10% discount on all purchases. Just drop us an e mail and we’ll do the necessaries at this end with pleasure. 
We know that many people view this time of year with something approaching dread. But, it really doesn’t have to be that way. A more positive mindset – there really is no bogeyman out there waiting to pounce on you (!) – and a few simple changes to your daily routine can make all the difference. 
As always, the choice is yours. 
Photograph by unknown author 
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