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Articles about ‘Lifestyle’

How to Prepare for Cold & Flu Season

by A. Vogel USA, on 13 October 2017, Health, Lifestyle

 

Cold & Flu

Colds and flu have already started popping up across the country, and we’ve definitely noticed extra sniffling and coughing in the A.Vogel office. With the first signs of cold and flu season appearing, I thought it was time to start talking about what you can do now to prepare for winter.

Why you Should Prepare Early

Getting ready for winter early is the best way to avoid colds and flu – or at least reduce their severity! Nobody wants to get sick over the Holiday break, so it’s important to make sure your immune system is strong and healthy now. And with colds and flu already making an appearance across country, now is a great time to take a look at what you could be doing to prepare.

Check Your Diet

As the colder weather comes around it can be easy to turn to comforting foods instead of all the fresh, healthy food you’ve (hopefully!) been eating over the summer. However, now is the time you really should be focusing on eating well. So, let’s look at a few of the basics:

Fruit and veggies: You should still be aiming to eat at least 5 portions a day, and make sure these are varied – eating 5 apples a day doesn’t count! Brightly colored fruit and veggies are good ones to focus on in winter as they generally contain high levels of vitamin C. You should also include plenty of green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and spinach. Soups are a good way to get extra vegetables into your diet!

Complex carbohydrates: Eating plenty of complex carbs like brown rice, brown bread, whole wheat pasta, oats and starchy vegetables are great ways to keep you fuller for longer and keep unhealthy cravings at bay. They’ll provide lots of energy to get you through the day, and will support a healthy gut which, in turn, will look after your immune system.

Protein. You may need extra protein during the winter to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Try to incorporate lots of plant proteins like nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and tofu, as these are also full of vital vitamins and minerals.

Establish an Exercise Routine

Keeping active is important during the winter, so getting into the habit of exercising daily now will make it easier to continue once the weather turns colder.

Exercise is especially important in the winter for a few reasons. First of all, it boosts circulation, helping to send immune cells all around the body to search out pathogens. It also helps to release feel-good hormones called endorphins, and this is important because many people experience low mood as the days become shorter, darker and colder.

Like your diet, I’d recommend a varied exercise routine. Running outside a few times a week is a great way to get some fresh air, while a half hour yoga practice each evening can help to stretch the legs and get the blood moving after a day at work.

An ideal exercise plan for winter includes:

  • Running outdoors 2-3 times a week
  • 30 minutes yoga 4-5 days a week
  • Swimming, hiking o skiing once a week

Sleep Well

Sleep is vital for energy levels, mood and the immune system, which you’ll know are all incredibly important during the winter months. Get into the habit of going to bed a little bit earlier to ensure you get your all-important 8 hours sleep a day – you’ll definitely feel the benefit when the cold weather comes around!

If the cold weather stops you sleeping well, make sure to invest in a thicker duvet now, and make sure your windows are draught-free.

Vitamins, Supplements and Herbal Remedies

During the winter, it can be difficult to decide which vitamins, supplements or herbal remedies to take, as everything seems to be touted as vital during the winter! However, there are a few that I’d recommend you stock up on now so that you’ve got a good supply to get you through the winter.

Vitamin C. As you’ll probably know, vitamin C is vital for the immune system, and especially for the respiratory tract where colds and flu strike. Opt for vitamin C from a natural source, as this will be easier for the body to absorb and use. Avoid huge single doses, and opt instead for smaller doses throughout the day, as this vitamin is water soluble so the body can only absorb so much at once.

Vitamin D. Famous for its role in supporting bone health, vitamin D is also important for the immune system. During the winter, you’re likely to become deficient due to the lack of sunlight, but this is, arguably, when you need it the most! Don’t be tempted to go for the really high doses – vitamin D fat soluble so will be stored up in your body, meaning that very high doses can actually be problematic. We recommend around 4000 IU per day.

Zinc. When it comes to minerals, zinc is one of the most important for immune function. If you’ve got a healthy, varied diet with plenty of nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), then you should be getting enough. If not, a supplement might be a good idea.

 

 

 

Create a Bee-friendly Garden!

by A. Vogel USA, on 18 May 2017, Allergies, Lifestyle
Create a Bee-Friendly Garden!

Some people think nature is “out there,” in a national park or other designated wilderness area. But bees, our most important pollinators, love to live in urban settings where there are short flight paths, and a variety of different plants and flowers to sample. In fact, bees are more likely to thrive in your backyard, community or patio garden, and on mixed farms than on acres devoted to single crops.

We’ve all heard about the mysterious global disappearance of honeybees. Other bee species are also declining, mainly because of habitat loss. You can make a big difference just by creating a bee-friendly space in your garden. (And it’s not hard — bees are easy to please!) Continue reading >