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Spring bloom

 

Why does a change of season suddenly bring with it so many symptoms of illness? What can we do to recognise our body’s reaction and how can we boost immunity naturally?

A change of season, especially in Hong Kong, not only brings about a change in temperature but also a change in humidity, daylight hours and atmospheric pressure. Your body will have to adapt to these changes in a number of ways. The key to doing this is using foods and nutrients to strengthen and boost our immune system.

Illnesses during change of seasons are natural and integral to the body developing and reacting to the changing atmospheres around us. They are a way of purging the body (of mucous and waste products for example) and are normally signals to rest and recuperate. For example the lungs have to massively change to compensate for the added water levels in the air with the change of humidity and temperature. The little hairs in our lungs (Cila) are affected. Getting muck (mucous) out of our system is the body’s way of adapting and spring cleaning. So children and adults alike may sneeze, get runny noses or coughs. These symptoms can be likened to a cold, but may very well have no bacteria or virus involved. It is important to know the difference and seeing a professional (whether a doctor, naturopath or homeopath) to help you to do that. To interrupt this can then lead to more serious symptoms, but supporting it you can adapt and allow the season to change with little disruption.

From winter to spring we get lighter mornings, we wake easier and seem to have more energy. We are programmed to operate at full function in daylight. Sunlight on our skin will also provide us vital vitamin D (but only by not wearing sunscreen, try and go 10 mins with 40% of your body in full sunlight a day. As soon as you feel the heat starting to get a bit intense on your skin, cover up or return to the shade see here) Vitamin D is vital for a healthy immune system.  Our body clocks react to daylight. We are supposed to slow down and stock up in the winter ready for spring’s re-awakening. However daily hum drum does not change through the seasons anymore and the toll on our body is seen with more winter colds/ illnesses as the immune system is dampened in the cold weather and if we do let our bodies rest, then we start to become deficient in vital nutrients used up by the will to keep going.

Stress is a major factor in immunity – take time to relax when you start to feel run down. Illness is generally a signal to slow down and rest. Pushing through an illness is another way of suppressing signals and may also cause future long term damage. Viruses and bacteria are around us all the time; they are in our homes and outside. They are necessary for human existence. They are opportunistic so when you are run down, going through a change (in pregnancy or environmental change of season), stressed, malnourished, or tired you are at your most prone to illness. By adding foods and nutrients like vitamin D, C, E, zinc, magnesium and antioxidants daily; you can help prevent illness by providing your body with the means to heal and strengthen from within.

Foods in season are around to help support this change of season and boost the immune system. Foods in season right now are all your leafy greens, beetroot, strawberries, pumpkin, papaya – foods bursting with Iron, Beta carotene, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Papaya also has vital enzymes to help us absorb our food so is great to have at meal times. All perfect to help boost immunity and rid and protect our body from toxins. Another great reason to eat local organic produce and go strawberry picking in the New Territories!

Here are some Natural remedy recipes to allow you to keep the Spring in your step!

Ginger tea

Ginger, lemon and orange curd

Honey and onion Elixor

Drinking Greens

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Onions are amazing at drawing out bacteria and microbes.  They also have anti-inflammatory and congestion-relieving properties. Also onions are recognised as being able to relieve symptoms of the flu such as coughs, congestion, respiratory infections and bronchitis, as they contain anti-viral elements.

They are also high in sulfuric compounds such as thiosulfinates, Research shows that the thiosulfinates in onions are responsible for their antimicrobial properties and have even been shown to kill off salmonella and E. coli. Sulfuric compounds also play a role in cancer and heart disease prevention, and therefore act as a great immune-boosting food for general disease prevention.

Onions are also extremely high in the anti-oxidant Quercetin which helps the body fight free-radicals, and boosts the immune system

Honey is soothing but also sticks to the bad guys and gives the body some help mopping up and excreting waste products. Honey contains antibiotic enzymes- Manuka is the highest in them which is why Manuka is touted to be the best. The different numbers are the different grades of honey 16+ and above are the most potent apparently.

Here’s my multi purpose age old natural way if alleviating sore throats, dry coughs, tonsillitis, chesty coughs and any general immune boosting needs. It’s also great for funny tummies and diarrhea.

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Cut up a whole onion and place in a bowl (you can also use thyme/rosemary which are great expectorants)

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Pour honey over to cover (use raw, Manuka honey, plain honey will also work if its all you have to hand)

Leave for 1-2 hours.

Drain liquid- I use a funnel into a glass jar

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Put in the fridge and dose a tsp at a time. Will keep in the fridge for about a month.

Another way of using honey is to cut an onion in half and keep it by your bedside (raw onion would absorb germs in the air, preventing them from entering the body.-t hey must be removed as soon as they lose their odour and become discoloured, and be replaced by fresh ones).