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As the seasons change so do our health needs. And during the winter we all need a little extra care. To keep you healthy this winter we teamed up with our favorite online health and wellness website, iHerb to give you 11 winter wellness tips to make this your healthiest winter season ever. If you’d like to check out all our winter lotion and potion recommendations, just click the links throughout the post where you can find them at iHerb. Now let’s get ready for winter!
Winter can be a really rough time for our skin. Between time spent in the cold, dry winter air outside and then into the moisture sucking indoor heating systems, your winter skin is just screaming for some hydration. The result: dry, itchy, scaly and parched skin that doesn’t look or feel too great. Besides using a humidifier, you can give your skin an infusion of moisture and a protective barrier from the elements by regularly using an intensive moisturizer or body balm that is meant to help repair skin. These creams are usually thicker and denser than what you would apply in summer. My absolute favorite body butter is Sierra Bees Honey Almond Body Butter. It’s all-natural and made with other skin-soothing ingredients like organic honey, shea butter, cocoa butter, cupuacu butter, mango butter, and Chamomile and Green Tea. It’s also cruelty-free, non-GMO, and has no phthalates or parabens. It not only feels silky and luxurious, but it sinks into the skin quickly with no greasy feeling at all. While it makes my skin feel amazing, it’s the very light honey almond scent that makes me wish I can bathe in it. For those of you who want an intensive repair cream but enjoy a floral scent, try Petal Fresh Natural Remedy Critical Repair Cream made especially for dry, cracked and calloused skin. The formula uses the power of skin healing ingredients like sea kelp, olive oil, shea butter, and aloe. The scent is strong on this one so if you’re sensitive, the Sierra Bees is the way to go
Winter Skin Tip: Don’t have a humidifier? Placing a bowl of water near a heating vent or radiator will do the same job without any money spent. Try adding in a few drops of your favorite essential oils for an aromatherapeutic effect.
If the thought of brushing your skin doesn’t sound appealing hear me out. This strange little skin-care step has been around for ages but has recently been gaining popularity. Not only does dry brushing have a long list of benefits for your skin, including improved circulation and exfoliation of dead skin giving you a natural glow. But it also just feels amazing. So how do you dry brush?
All you need for dry brushing is a natural soft-bristle bath or shower brush. With the brush in hand, starting by brushing the bottoms of your feet, use large firm sweeping motions to “brush” your skin with long strokes always brushing the skin towards your heart. Continue brushing up your legs, belly, neck, and arms with firm strokes. Avoid skin that is sensitive, irritated, broken or inflamed. Jumping in the shower after will rinse away the dead skin and be sure to apply moisturizer afterward for smooth soft skin with a winter glow. We love this natural dry brush duo set from Eco Tools. The large is perfect for your body while the small one can be used for your face and neck.
Recommended Product: EcoTools, Dry Brush Duo
While science has yet to prove all the healing wonders of a hot bath, the anecdotal evidence alone is enough to get the water running. Even if you’re more of a shower person, taking a bath once in a while can help improve your health in winter. Not only can it help to reduce the pain and inflammation of stiff winter muscles, but it can also help to improve circulation, reduce stress and tension, and elevate your body temperature which can help your body fight off infections and viruses. And all you need is a 15-minute soak in a warm bath. I love enhancing my bath water with essential oils and natural bath oils. They add a beautiful aroma and will keep skin from drying out. But never add essential oils directly to the water. Without a carrier oil, they can immediately adhere to your skin and sensitive areas which can be quite unpleasant if you know what I mean. For an all-natural ready-made bath soak, I always turn to Abra Therapeutics. Their formulas are made from a combination of therapeutic essential oils, salt, and skin-soothing oils for a relaxing soak. For an extra dose of moisture, a spritz of Deep Steep Dry Body Oil Rosewater & Aloe is a light and natural way to keep skin smooth and supple right out of the bath and prevent itchy skin.
Cracked, dry and chapped lips in winter are what a bug bite is in summer. It’s annoying, but it’s just going to happen. To keep lips smooth and supple, apply a natural lip balm regularly. We absolutely love the Sierra Bees Organic Lip Balm from iHerb that are made with sustainably sourced beeswax, olive oil, sunflower oil and healing vitamin E. They’re also formulated to be USDA Organic, Non-GMO, cruelty-free, eco-friendly and contain no nasty ingredients like sulfates, preservatives, artificial fragrances and are never tested on animals. Available in packs of four or 8, I love stashing them around my house, car and in my bag. With so many in the package, you’ll never be far from a lip balm when you need it. They also make a great little gift or stocking stuffer. And with fun flavors like Creme Brulee, Mint Burst and Pomegranate there’s no way you’ll be letting your lips get dry this winter.
Recommended Product: Sierra Bees Organic Lip Balms Combo Pack
Vitamin D is an important fat-soluble vitamin beneficial for our immune system and works with calcium and Vitamin K to maintain healthy bones. But often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” it’s also the only vitamin that requires actual sunlight to manufacture. That means when sunlight is scarce in winter, our ability to make vitamin D decreases. The rest must come from our diet or supplements.
But in the winter as we spend most of our time indoors and have less sunlight available during the day it can be difficult to get all the vitamin D we need. Plus most of us are so bundled up that our skin is never even exposed to daylight. But vitamin D is not naturally found in great quantities in most foods. While some foods are considered good sources of vitamin D including salmon, shrimp, oysters, tuna, egg yolks, milk, and mushrooms, an easy way to make sure you’re getting all the Vitamin D you need is in a supplement. Now Foods makes a great and affordable D-3 supplement with Vitamin K so you can be sure you’re getting a balanced formula.
Recommended Products: Now Foods Mega D-3 & MK-7
If you’ve ever hit the slopes on a sunny winter day you know that winter sunburn is an actual thing. So if you are spending any time outdoors or near windows keep skin protected from sun damage and continue to wear sunblock through the winter months. If you wear a foundation, BB cream, CC cream or tinted moisturizer check the label to see if SPF protection is included. If not, be sure to find a sunblock product that agrees with your skin and won’t dry you out. Don’t forget to apply sunblock to your hands which may be exposed during times outdoors or while driving.
We can often forget that we need those 8 glasses a day just as much water in winter as in the warmer months. If drinking water 5 feels less comfortable during winter, try warm water with a dash of lemon or an herbal tea. Caffeine-containing drinks like coffee, energy drinks, green tea, black tea, and soft drinks don’t count towards your 8 glasses a day and can actually promote dehydration.
In winter it’s so important we eat lots of nutrient-dense foods including dark leafy greens, and fresh fruits and veggies. Not only can they help you curb those cravings for sweets, but they can also strengthen your body’s defenses and help you fight off those nasty winter bugs. If the cold weather makes eating salads and greens less appealing I totally get you. Try making a green smoothie in the morning with kale or spinach, cucumber, apple, lemon, and ginger. For days when I’m super short on time, I make a superfood-packed green drink with the award-winning Paradise Herbs ORAC-Energy Greens. The best dry superfood blend I’ve ever come across, Paradise Herbs ORAC-Energy Greens is 100% vegan and filled with alkalizing green juice powders, freeze-dried berries and veggies, superfood concentrates, herbal adaptogens, and probiotics. It also has the equivalent antioxidant power of 24 servings of fruit & vegetables so if you have trouble getting enough plant-based foods during the day this is a quick and powerful way to do so. This does taste green, so if you’re not used to the flavor I’ve found some lemon juice and a little stevia can make it taste great. You can even add this as a smoothie booster!
Recommended Product: Paradise Herbs, ORAC-Energy Greens
And don’t forget your omega-3’s! Found mostly in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel omega-3 fatty acids have been shown in studies to not only reduce inflammation, but to also promote healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure and liver function. It has also been shown to be an effective aid for those who suffer from depression which can be common in winter. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help give your skin a boost of hydration which can help protect against winter dryness. California Gold Nutrition, iHerb’s house brand is a super affordable way to keep super premium Omega-3 rich fish oil in your nutritional arsenal.
Recommended Product: California Gold Nutrition Omega-3 Premium Fish Oil
When the winter has you feeling sluggish, try adding a fulvic/humic mineral source to your health regimen. They’re a plant-derived blend of trace minerals that I’ve found boosts energy and can amp up your immune system.
Recommended Product: Morningstar Minerals Inner Vitality Concentrate Fulvic/Humic Minerals
During the winter there’s always a cold or some other bug going around. And we all know that feeling just before we’re about to get sick. If you feel something coming on, taking zinc may help to shorten the length of a cold and the severity of those icky symptoms. And some promising studies have shown that zinc lozenges may be one of the most beneficial ways to get a dose of zinc on the fly. I always have the Zand Sweet Elderberry Zinc Lozenges on hand which tastes yummy and along with 5 mg zinc per serving, they’re also made with a blend of soothing herbs including hibiscus flower, orange peel, lemon peel, rose hips and lemongrass.
Prevention is always the best medicine so try eating a diet rich in zinc-containing foods such as oysters, chicken legs and thighs, beef, oatmeal, yogurt, wild rice, tofu, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and mushrooms.
Recommended Product: Zand Sweet Elderberry Zinc Herbalozenges
With all the sweet and super-rich foods we tend to eat in the winter, it’s really important to give your digestive system a little love. Also, many of those rich foods can cause unpleasant symptoms like gas and bloating. And if you’re more sedentary in winter, your digestion can slow down along with your metabolism. So to keep me and my digestive system running smoothly, I make sure to take a daily probiotic. It helps replenish those “good bacteria” that lie in our digestive tract, help us digest our food and make up a considerable portion of our immune system. One of my favorite all-around digestive formulas is Digest-ALL Intestinal Care (IC). A blend of probiotics, herbs and a full-spectrum of digestive enzymes this formula has everything you need to keep your digestive system happy. I love this formula because it also has anti-inflammatory digestive friendly herbs like ginger, peppermint, and Triphala to soothe and calm.
Recommended Product: MRM Digest-All Intestinal Care (IC)
When it’s cold outside and it’s basically dark by 4:00 pm, to say I’m motivated to work out would be a lie. I’d much rather be buried under a weighted blanket on the couch with a movie and a hot chocolate. But to stay healthy in the winter we need to get moving. Not only can exercise help release endorphins that can help boost our mood and beat the winter blues, but exercise can also boost our immune system to ward off winter colds and flu. And the extra calories I’ll burn off some from the cheesecake and 10 types of cookies I’ll inevitably eat during the holidays will help with those extra winter pounds.
Try to fit in some type of exercise at least three times per week. That doesn’t mean you have to be stuck in the gym. Staying motivated with exercise for me always comes down to doing something I enjoy like yoga. Some fun winter activities like a winter walk or hike can be a lovely way to get that blood pumping while getting some time outdoors. Even a new town, park or museum for an afternoon can be a fun way to get active without making you feel like you’re exercising. Other fun winter activities can include skiing, ice-skating, running, snowboarding or snow-shoeing.
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