The first signs of winter may conjure up visions of quiet evenings in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate or a glass of red wine, but the reality is usually quite a different story.

As the weather cools, your metabolism begins to slow down, and if you give in to cravings for carbohydrate heavy comfort foods you’ll feel sluggish and tired, and there’s a good chance you’ll begin to gain weight and put your immune system under pressure.

And in case that is not bad enough, when you are under stress or exposed to germs and viruses, the threat of winter sniffles can rapidly become a reality.  Instead of that serene evening in front of the fire, all you’ll really want is to be left alone with your box of tissues and something to dull the ache in your head.

But by following three easy steps, you can revitalise your system and build your immunity, and enjoy the crisp, clear autumn days, knowing that your body is prepared for the cold season ahead.

You might still be exposed to friends and colleagues coughing and spluttering around you, but your choices now can make the difference between getting a slight cold and suffering a week of misery.

1-2-3 Easy Steps to a Healthy, Happy Winter

Ensure that you are getting all the essential nutrients you need

Start by eating right – you know the rules!

  • Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day
  • Opt for lean proteins including skinless chicken, grilled or steamed fish (salmon and mackerel are particularly good) or legumes
  • Replace refined carbohydrates, including white and brown bread with low GI seed bread
  • Eliminate sugary foods, especially cakes and biscuits
  • Ditch fried foods and take-aways
  • Snack on nuts or a crunchy apple. Or try chick peas cooked, drained and dry-fried till crispy- delicious!
  • Eat nourishing soups and stews made with beans, lentils, vegetables and lean meats
  • Try adding chilli to stimulate your metabolism, or cinnamon to help balance your blood sugar

But don’t rely on diet alone.  Processes such as irradiation and refrigerated transportation may give your fresh foods a longer shelf life,  but they can rob your food of vital nutrients, so supplement with a good quality vitamin and mineral formula such as the Bioharmony Ultimate A-Z Nutrition Formula.

Make sure your body can absorb these nutrients

Simply put, if your digestive is system is disrupted and not working efficiently, your body won’t absorb nutrients effectively.  This means that even though you might be eating fairly well, or taking a supplement, you can still lack of specific nutrients.  And the build-up of free radicals and toxins interfere with the body’s ability to access and break down energy stores, causing tiredness and lethargy.

So if you suffer from food intolerances, bloating, IBS, constipation or diarrhoea, avoid any trigger foods that you know cause problems (wheat and dairy are the most common culprits) and take a dietary enzyme such as Bioharmony Bio-Enzymes for Life or Bioharmony Bio-Amara Digestive to help your body break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, digest foods and eliminate waste products effectively – and allow your body to absorb the nutrients it needs.

Stimulate your immune system

A strong immune system will protect you from infection from the inevitable winter germs and bugs that you’ll encounter, allowing you to enjoy winter.  Vitamin C has always been a winter essential, but a new report from the Harvard School of Public Health tells us that “There’s no question that vitamin C plays a role in controlling infections. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals.”

Don’t wait till you feel a cold coming on; stimulate your immune system with vitamin C throughout autumn and prepare your body for winter.  Choose a buffered vitamin C formula such as Bioharmony Ultimate C, which is more easily absorbed and suitable for anyone with ulcers or a sensitive digestive system.

Add a little local healthcare with Bio-Sutherlandia.  This fabulous little herb has been trusted for generations in South Africa for a host of ills, but recent clinical studies have shown it to be a fabulous immune booster.

This year, don’t put your life on hold during winter, waiting for the season to change and the sun to reappear.  Use autumn to prepare your body, improve your energy and stamina and build a healthy immunity – then get up off the couch and enjoy the weather!