The beginning of a new year is truly a time to reflect, assess, and refresh your life. Trying just a few of these techniques can get you on the path to renewed wellness for 2019.
1. Winterize Your Skincare Routine
Have you noticed that your skin can become especially irritated, dry, or even chapped during the cold-weather months? There are many variables that can contribute to this issue, including biting winds, central heating, and the drastic difference between outdoor and indoor temperatures. So, how do you get back your summer glow in the middle of winter?
Try Oil Cleansing: It might seem counterintuitive to apply oil to your face in order to cleanse it, but this practice can help rebalance your skin. Many ove-the- counter face washes actually strip the oil out of your skin, which leaves skin overly dry and perpetuates an endless cycle of the body trying to compensate and produce more oil—leaving your skin either too dry or too oily. Oil cleansing is a great way to keep your skin looking radiant and balanced all winter long. Try olive oil, castor oil, almond oil, rose hip seed oil, or jojoba oil—either alone or in combination.
Just add about a quarter-sized amount of oil to your hands and massage it into your face for 1–2 minutes. This will help draw out any impurities or makeup residue. Next, put a warm, moist towel over your face to gently remove any excess oil while still keeping a light coating on your skin.
Try: Aura Cacia Organic Jojoba Oil
Eat More Omega-3s: Balance your skin from the inside out by adding more wholesome omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. Eat walnuts, fatty fish such as cod and salmon, and flax and chia seeds for luminous skin.
Try: Nordic Naturals Algae Omega
2. Grab a Bowl of Bone Broth
Bone broth has become increasingly popular for one important reason: it’s incredibly nutritious. Bones are rich in minerals, vitamins, amino acids, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and gelatin. This simple-yet-powerful combination has been shown to help with leaky gut, support collagen production, improve joint health, and provide essential nutrients.
If boiling bones yourself seems like a tall task, there are many quality ready-made bone broths available at health food stores, as well as bone-broth-enhanced supplements that make it easier than ever to get a healthy dose of this super-nutritious food into your diet.
3. Embrace Elderberry
Elderberry is a powerful plant with potent virus-fighting properties. A study published in the Journal of Nutrients compared two groups of international travelers, those who took elderberry versus those who did not, over a two-week period before and after their flights. The study found that the travelers who used elderberry had a lower occurrence of colds, as well as a decrease in cold symptoms and duration. Mix some elderberry syrup into your water and drink it through the day as a delish cold-fighting remedy.
Try: Gaia Herbs Black Elderberry Syrup
4. Nourish & Heal with Winter Herbs
Herbs such as cardamom and cinnamon might be exactly what you need to warm up on a cold winter’s day. These healing spices heat the body by bringing the blood to the surface of skin, but that’s just one of their healthful properties.
Cardamom is a peppery spice native to the forests of India, used in Ayurvedic medicine to support detoxification, decrease inflammation, and boost immunity. Mix it into hot chocolate, drink it in chai tea, or chew a pod instead of gum.
Cinnamon is a nourishing spice that comes from the inner bark of the tree. It’s known for its woody fragrance and has potent healing properties. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry measured the antioxidant capacity of 26 different spices and found cinnamon to be the clear leader. This delicious spice has been shown to help balance blood sugar, decrease inflammation, support cognitive function, and fight bacterial and fungal infections. Sprinkle on your favorite winter beverage for an extra kick.
Try: Numi Organic Tea Turmeric Chai Golden Latte
5. Adapt with Astragalus
Astragalus root is a potent adaptogen that has been prized by herbalists for more 2,000 years for its powerful healing properties. Studies show that it reduces the effects of stress on the body, enhances the immune system, supports detoxification, and has antiaging properties.
Try our Immune-Boosting Soup recipe.
6. Savor Seasonal Superfoods
Give your diet a New Year’s upgrade with these wintertime favorites:
Mandarin oranges are tasty citrus fruits that you might recognize as clementines, satsumas, or tangerines, which are all part of the same family. Internally, the juice of mandarins will give you the building blocks for great skin, as well as an immune boost with vitamin C, vitamin A, phytonutrients, and lots of fiber. The phytochemicals tangeretin and hesperidin, which are found in Mandarin peels and juices, have powerful antiaging and immune-boosting actions.
Pomegranates are an ancient and highly prized fruit found in writings and artifacts dating back thousands of years. They’re loaded with nutrients, rich in antioxidants, have powerful anti-inflammatory effects, are heart-healthy, and help to balance blood sugar. They also contain a unique compound called punicalagin. One study found that pomegranate juice has three times more antioxidants than green tea and red wine, attributing this to the
punicalagin content. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top of a salad or enjoy them as a satiating snack.
Broccoli isn’t merely a healthy vegetable, it’s a potent medicinal food packed with vitamins and minerals. This cruciferous vegetable contains a unique combination of plant compounds, including sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, carotenoids, quercetin, and kaempferol. A recent study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that broccoli and its constituent sulforaphane have immune-modulating abilities. Broccoli can be enjoyed raw, steamed, or added to dishes such as pasta for texture and taste.
7. Try the Wet Sock Treatment
The wet sock treatment is a traditional hydrotherapy technique that can be highly effective at relieving upper respiratory symptoms. You might be wondering how wearing wet socks at bedtime treats colds. Well, wearing cold, wet socks causes the blood vessels in your feet to constrict and reflexively increase blood circulation to the rest of your body, including your head and neck. This increase in circulation helps to transport nutrients and stimulate the healing process. As the feet eventually warm up, the blood vessels will begin to dilate again, which in turn stimulates movement in the lymphatic system and decreases sinus congestion. In fact, the North American Journal of Medical Sciences published an article titled “Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body,” which showed that localized cold therapy to the feet was helpful in opening bronchial passages.
To take advantage of hydrotherapy, completely immerse a pair of cotton socks in cold water just before bedtime. Wring them out thoroughly, and put them on your feet. Then put on a pair of thick (dry) wool socks to cover the wet socks. Go to bed, and keep both pairs of socks on throughout the night. Wake up with dry socks and less sinus congestion.