is how to grab the cold season by
its frosty horns and have the
healthiest, happiest winter ever.
While the summer heat has you
guzzling water by the dam-load, as
it cools down it’s easy to forget to
keep your liquids up.
However, dry, heated indoor air
can be even more dehydrating than
sunshine, and dehydration is a major
contributor to daytime fatigue, dry
and itchy skin, chapped lips, dry
coughs and headaches.
Dr Tim Crowe, senior lecturer at the
School of Exercise and Nutrition
Sciences at Deakin University, says
water has three main roles:
“regulating body temperature,
carrying nutrients around the body
and eliminating waste and toxins”.
He says the best way to make sure
you’re hydrated enough is to
regularly check your urine. “If your
urine comes out clear or a pale
yellow colour, then you’re okay,” he
says. “But if it’s dark yellow, then
it’s a strong indicator you’re
This advice is particularly
pertinent to the elderly, as our
sense of thirst diminishes as we
age, so it’s possible to be at
dangerous levels of dehydration well
before you feel thirsty.
But hydrating yourself doesn’t mean
just drinking plain water. All
liquids count, Dr Crowe says.
Although there are some that are
more beneficial than others. Instead
of warming up on cups of tea and
coffee, go herbal. Ginger tea is
great first thing in the morning to
help wake you up and it also helps
to ward off colds and ease sore
throats due to its anti-viral
| 2. Boost your immune system
Prevention is better than cure,
so the saying goes, so the answer to
beating many winter ills may be
boosting your immunity.
Naturopath Elizabeth D’Avigdor says
a healthy immune system is the
body’s natural defence mechanism
against bacteria, viruses and
“Having a healthy immune system
means you’ll be marshalling your
defences for a pre-emptive strike
when a virus hits,” she says.
She recommends a new product,
Blackmores Immunodefence, $39.95,
which supports the immune system by
boosting the activity of immune
cells. It contains lactoferrin, a
derivative of the first fluid that
flows from a mother’s breast after
D’Avigdor also recommends taking
echinacea to keep your defences up.
It strengthens the immune system,
making it difficult for colds and
flu to take hold.
If you do keep getting slugged by
colds and flus, then visit your
doctor or a natural health
practitioner. “It’s a clear sign
that something isn’t right in your
system,” says D’Avigdor. To find a
natural health professional, visit
With the dull grey skies can come
dull grey moods, but don’t make like
an echidna and hibernate.
Dr Sarah Edelman, author of Change
Your Thinking (ABC Books), says it’s
easy to put psychological
restrictions on ourselves in winter.
“Motivation levels go down and you
feel flatter and less positive,” she
says. “However, if you don’t keep a
check on the way you’re thinking, it
can be a self-perpetuating cycle.”
To keep mentally cheery, Dr Edelman
recommends making a conscious effort
to maintain a healthy mood.
“While it’s easier to go into
hibernation mode and become
lethargic, it’s important to make
decisions, set goals and be
proactive,” she says.
“Don’t let the climate dictate what
you do with your life. Keep your
physical activity levels up,
especially in periods of sunshine –
go for a walk, do some gardening or
undertake an exercise regime you
love. Keep up mental activity such
as going to the movies, reading or
taking a course. Keeping the spirit
active will keep your endorphins up
and you happy.”