Winter can be a harsh time for the body. All parts of the body can get stiffer, smellier and drier. But not to fear! Here are some simple natural cures for 5 of the most common winter maladies:
With all the sugary, rich foods we consume in winter, it’s no surprise that many of us are forced to deal with bad breath. Halitosis is no fun, but it’s not a lost cause. Bad breath is caused by a buildup of bad bacteria in the mouth—on the back of the tongue, the cheeks, the roof of your mouth. Brushing these areas thoroughly can go a long way towards reducing bacterial buildup. While chewing sugar-free gum can help increase saliva production to regularly rinse out bacteria, I prefer chewing tea tree toothpicks, which do a great job at freshening breath as well. Also be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
BAD BODY ODOR
There’s nothing worse than taking off your thick wool sweater and getting hit with a wall of nasty B.O. If your body odor is worse than usual, your diet may be to blame. Diets excessively heavy in sugar, dairy, meats or other potential problem foods can manifest as a real stink in the pits. Focus on consuming more detoxifying greens, like broccoli, spirulina and kale. Limit alcohol consumption and steer your diet away from foods you may be intolerant of.
The constant shifts in temperature, from frigid to warm to frigid to warm, can cause joints to stiffen up and hurt. Rather than popping Aleve all day every day, try eating more healthy fats and anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric (always pair turmeric with black pepper for optimal absorption). It can also help to take hot epsom salt baths and do gentle, joint-lubricating movements like yoga every day.
Winter air is dry and literally sucks the moisture right out of our skin. In order to avoid dry, flaky or cracked skin, you need to be proactive. On a weekly basis, it can be helpful to take a bath and gently exfoliate the dead skin. Post-bath, towel yourself off and slather coconut or jojoba oil onto the dry areas. Oil not only hydrates the skin, but also works to lock in the moisture accumulated from the bath. For your face, I recommend using jojoba or rosehip oil, which are safer for those prone to clogged pores. If you regularly get chapped lips, really focus on upping your water intake and try to avoid licking your lips too much, which can make them even worse.
If you’re in the habit of going outside into cold weather after you shower, stop. The freezing and thawing of your wet hair day in and day out makes it dry and brittle. Unless you want to spend a fortune on deep conditioner, make sure your hair is dry before venturing outside on cold days. It can be helpful to apply an oil mask (coconut perhaps?) once a week before you shower and limit shampooing in order to preserve your hair’s protective natural oils.
Winter health can take a little extra effort, but it pays off in a big way. Keep your body happy and healthy throughout the chilliest season. Spring will be upon us in no time!