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General Health

Go-To Winter Wellness Guide

From dry chapped skin to seasonal sniffles to holiday overindulgence, this time of year presents a unique set of health challenges. Here are 30 easy ways to stay looking and feeling your best during the cold-weather months.

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1. Naturalize Your Hand Sanitizer: Most hand sanitizers are made with medicinal-grade ethyl alcohol, which can be a skin irritant. It may also hamper natural oil production, leaving skin dry and flaky. Use products with naturally sourced alcohol and anti-microbial essential oils.

We love: EO Products Lavender Hand Sanitizer Gel

2. Supercharge Your Immunity: Studies show that NAC (N-acetylcysteine), vitamin C, zinc, and selenium work well.

3. Halt Party Pig-Outs: To curb your appetite, have a cup of miso soup, bone broth, or an apple before heading to holiday events.

4. Eat Oysters: They’re the richest source of immune-boosting zinc.

5. Buy Better: Choose holiday gifts from fair-trade organizations, local artists, or nonprofits that embrace causes you support.

6. Upgrade Your Lotion: Winter weather is damaging enough. Add increased handwashing (a good thing), and you’ve got a recipe for dry, cracked skin. Look for thick creams and body butters made with wholesome, natural moisturizers, and apply liberally.

We love: Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream

7. Say Hello to Helichrysum: This plant from the sunflower family boasts powerful antimicrobial properties. Add a few drops of Helichrysum essential oil to an aromatherapy diffuser and keep it going throughout cold and flu season to help ward off illness. It may also help tame inflammation, according to research.

We love: Aura Cacia Helichrysum

8. Sidestep Digestive Woes: If you have trouble digesting fats (especially if you’ve had your gallbladder removed), but still want to enjoy holiday treats, try bile acids to help improve fat absorption.

We love: Jarrow Formulas Bile Acid Factors

9. Upgrade Your Candles: Conventional paraffin/gel candles with metal wicks emit carcinogens and lead. Instead, choose beeswax or soy versions scented with essential oils.

10. Sneak in Superfoods: Try adding spinach and avocados to smoothies, or stirring puréed cauliflower and pumpkin into tomato sauces.

11. Take Niacin: Studies show that this B vitamin inhibits inflammation and protects against coronary artery disease. Use as a single supplement or find a high-quality B-complex formula with “activated” forms of folate, B12, and B6.

12. Soak It Up: Add four cups of chamomile tea to a warm bath laced with oil (e.g., apricot, jojoba, or almond oil) to banish dry, itchy skin.

We love: NOW Solutions Apricot Oil

13. Ban Plastic Wrap: It’s laced with cancer-causing toxins. Stash leftovers in glass or metal containers, and wrap sandwiches in wax paper.

14. Get Some Lovin’: A healthy sexual relationship can decrease stress and increase well-being. Looking for some inspiration? Maca can boost libido and help treat erectile dysfunction.

15. Sip First: Drinking with meals hampers digestion, so have beverages 30 minutes before you begin eating.

16. Go Red for More Energy: Better Immunity: Known as an “elixir of life” for more than 2,000  years, Korean red ginseng is a medicinal root that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Use it to fortify your immune system, increase energy, and enhance mental clarity.

We love: Korea Ginseng Corp KoreSelect Wellness

17. Keep Sinuses Clear: Use a xylitol-based nasal spray (we like Xlear)  to keep your nasal passages open while preventing dryness and infection.

18 Take Tea: In one study, people who drank two to four cups of green or black tea were better able to fight off infection.

Related: Back to Basics for Better Health & Wellness

19. Find Your Balance: Plant sterols and sterolins have been shown in studies to help naturally balance and strengthen the immune system.

We love: Wakunaga Moducare Daily Immune Support Grape Chewables

20. Count Your Blessings: Every night, make a list of 10 things in your life that you’re grateful for, and read it just before bed.

21. Improve Popcorn: Sprinkle some nutritional yeast on popcorn for a dose of B vitamins. It has a cheese-like taste, but it’s vegan. It also tastes great on salads, roasted veggies, rice, and pasta.

We love: Bragg Premium Nutritional Yeast Seasoning

22. Break a Sweat: Cold weather means less perspiration. Head to a sauna to induce body-cleansing sweat.

23. Wear Sunscreen: Yes, even on cloudy days, the sun can cause burns and aging.

We love: Mychelle Dermaceuticals Sun Shield SPF 28 Unscented

24. Breathe Deeply: To stay centered during the hectic holidays, inhale slowly to the count of 7, hold for 3, and exhale for 7. Instant calm.

25. Help Your Liver Deliver: Support detox with milk thistle supplements. Or try an Ayurvedic herbal blend designed to enhance the liver’s function, such as Himalaya LiverCare. This is especially important if you drink alcohol.

26. Munch on Red Cabbage: It’s rich in cancer-preventive flavonoids, antioxidants, and other vitamins. Shred it for coleslaw, add it to bean soup, or make cabbage rolls.

27. Get Seedy: Sprinkle pumpkin, chia, sunflower, hemp, and flaxseeds on cereals, in grains, and over-cooked vegetables.

28. Latch Onto Lactoferrin: This immune-supporting glycoprotein promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the body and may help stave off bacterial and viral infections. Colostrum contains high levels of lactoferrin.

We love: Symbiotics Colostrum Plus Powder

29. Unplug: One day a week (or more), banish TV, cellphones, and the Internet, and devote the day to reconnecting with friends, family, or yourself.

30. Spice Up Meals: Fresh ginger, garlic, chili peppers, curry powder, oregano, and turmeric have been shown to help boost immunity and enhance circulation.