Winter health tips: A preventative health survival kit

How to reduce and treat colds, boost brain power, achieve glowing skin, prevent constipation and more.
Winter health tips: A preventative health survival kit Getty Images

Winter has officially arrived and with the holidays upon us, getting sick, stressed, injured or fatigued is probably the very last thing you've got time for. That's why I have created a handy winter survival kit that will have you sailing through the season in optimal health. Print this out and post it somewhere so that the entire family can see it!

1. Prevent colds and flus

  • Take a good quality multivitamin and 2,000–5,000IU vitamin D daily with food.
  • Consume protein at every meal and snack.
  • Eat two low-glycemic fruits per day (ensure one is berries).
  • Consume ½ cup plain yogurt (preferably organic) daily or two probiotics every morning upon rising.

2. Treat a cold

  • Take 500–1000mg of vitamin C every few hours along with 1–2 tablets of echinacea or 2–4 drops of oregano oil under your tongue (be sure to chase this with water).
  • Rest! Stay home, sleep and allow your body time to recover.
  • Put wet socks on and go to bed (this is not just an old wives tale, it really works!).
  • Take two probiotic capsules upon rising and two in the evening, on an empty stomach.
  • Boost your vitamin D by taking 25,000–30,000IU, for three days only.
  • Drink plenty of fluids — water, herbal teas, or pure juices with no sugar added (diluted ½ with water).
  • Read my recent article: Four ways to stop a cold or flu in its tracks

3. Fight poor concentration and focus

  • Take three capsules or one teaspoon of fish oil twice daily with food (must be kept in fridge if you purchase a liquid).
  • Take 2,000-4,000mg of B12 daily, either with or without food. Look for the terms "hydroxocobalamin" or "methylcobalamin" on the back of the label for best absorption.

4. Beat anxiety or nervousness

  • Take four drops of Rescue Remedy under your tongue as needed.
  • Ensure you're taking a high quality B-complex supplement once or twice daily.
  • If you feel stressed and wired all day, take two capsules of Relora at night before bed and one in the morning.

5. Prevent over-training and aid recovery after exercise

  • Drink a whey-protein shake one or two times daily. Whey maintains muscle, aids immunity, and improves recovery after exercise.
  • Use ½-1 scoop of a sugar-free post-workout drink with plenty of antioxidants in your water after each strength training or endurance workout.

6. Treat bumps, bruises and injuries

  • Apply an arnica cream topically. I like Traumeel — it's excellent for bumps, bruises, swelling, stiffness, and soreness, and also comes in tablet form.

7. Stamp out acne breakouts

  • Eliminate the following foods from your diet for three weeks to see if it helps to improve your skin: dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream); sugar (pop, candies, muffins, pastries, Gatorade, etc); caffeine in the form of teas, coffee, and energy drinks.
  • Drink plenty of water each day.
  • Make sure you're having a bowel movement each day. If not, use the remedies for constipation listed below.

8. Improve your skin care

  • Opt for organic or naturally-based products.
  • My favourite brands include Burt's Bees, Korres, Juice Beauty, and Naturopathica.
  • Look for natural products free of methylparabens, propyl parabens, formaldehyde, imidazolidinyl urea, methylisothiazolinone, propylene glycol, paraffin, isopropyl alcohol, and sodium lauryl sulphate.

9. If you drink, reduce the adverse effects

  • Take a B-complex supplement with 1mg folic acid — one before drinking alcohol, and one after.
  • Water, water, water, water, water!
  • Review my article on preventing hangovers.

10. Prevent constipation (less than one bowel movement each day)

  • Add 2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds to your diet daily, in smoothies or yogurt.
  • Take a probiotic — two capsules on rising each morning, and two immediately before bed.
  • Increase your intake of high-fibre foods like fruits, veggies, beans, and whole grains, and reduce your intake of binding foods like cheese and bananas.
  • Take a non-psyllium fibre supplement once or twice daily in a large glass of water.
  • Drink plenty of water — 2-3 litres — each day.
  • Add extra vitamin C and magnesium glycinate to improve bowel tolerance if things do not "get moving."

Natasha Turner, N.D. is a naturopathic doctor, Chatelaine magazine columnist, and author of the bestselling books The Hormone Diet and The Supercharged Hormone Diet. Her newest release, The Carb Sensitivity Program, is available across Canada. She is also the founder of the Toronto-based Clear Medicine Wellness Boutique. For more wellness advice from Natasha Turner, click here.


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