Keeping yourself healthy this winter

The silly season is upon us and everyone seems to want to squeeze themselves into that little black dress that has been hanging in their wardrobe since the last January sales or their best pair of jeans. Life is a whirlwind in late November and December with regular parties and social gatherings alongside the mundane day-to-day work, housework, homework, & school runs. Is it any wonder that I see so many people come struggling into the pharmacy days before and indeed after Christmas with prescriptions to combat all manner of infections – chest, sinus, throat.

I try to tell patients that it is especially important this time of year to take good care of their bodies and keep healthy, both physically and mentally. Physical can be as simple as ensuring the adequate intake of good calories on a daily basis. By good calories I mean all the usual preaching – lean proteins (chicken breast, salmon, pulses), complex carbohydrates (oats, brown bread, brown rice, quinoa) and essential fats (avocado, nuts, beans, seeds). Three meals and three small healthy snacks a day keeps sugar levels stable and reduces the need to binge on sugary foods and bad fats. A good vitamin and mineral supplement combined with an omega oil can be the key to keeping healthy, happy and full of energy throughout the winter.

My favourite vitamin supplement is Revive Active. It has very high quality ingredients with huge amounts of CoQ10. One sachet a day taken with your breakfast ensures that you get all your essential vitamins and minerals and sustained energy levels. If you have enough energy you are less likely to reach for the biscuit tin so it leads to an overall healthier you. Pharmaton and Vivioptal are other good choices.

Omega oils contain fatty acids, which are exactly that – essential, for heart, brain, skin, hair and eye health. Studies have shown that they improve concentration in adults and children and can improve behaviour and attention span in people with ADHD and autism.

There are some great Omega oils out there. Udo’s oil comes in capsule or liquid form (which can be added to smoothies or porridge). It is suitable for vegetarians. Eskimo oil is one of my favourite brands. It is made from a very pure fish oil from the Antarctic ocean. I give my three boys the tutti fruity children’s liquid daily without fail. And they are three geniuses! (said like a true Irish Mammy). I take the Eskimo brain 3,6,9 myself and I definitely notice a difference in my brain power when I have forgotten to take them for a few days. Omega 3 is a great anti-inflammatory too and I often recommend it for joint aches and pains, which can be especially prominent in the cold depth of winter. Krill oil is also high in all of these Omegas and has little or no aftertaste.

Taking care of your mental health is even more important. Your mind feeds your body so feed it positively! People have many stresses in their life which become especially prominent this time of the year. If you can take some time out in the week to get some fresh air and exercise (even simple breathing exercises) it can have a very enriching effect on your life and decrease your stress levels. I always tell my patients that if they look after themselves they can better look after their families.

Laura Dowling, aka Fabulous Pharmacist. Irish Pharmacist, Mum of three lively boys, health and wealth enthusiast, yogi. Vices are red wine and dark chocolate. 


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