Caring for your body is crucial year-round, but it’s especially important during the winter months. This time of year can take a toll on our bodies. Eating healthy can feel more difficult, getting outside to move when it’s dark and cold can feel challenging, and cold and dryness can irritate your skin. But maintaining wellness in the winter doesn’t have to be daunting. Using local products, start from the inside out, and your body will thank you!
Our Immune Systems
About 80% of our immune system is actually in our gastrointestinal tract (aka “gut”). This means that a healthy gut goes a long way in promoting overall immune health and keeping us well. Eating plenty of fiber and incorporating traditionally fermented foods (hello, natural probiotics!) supports a healthy microbial balance in the gut and thus, overall immune health. There are a ton of local food businesses in Michigan making it easy for us to access foods filled with probiotics:
- Sauerkraut and other fermented foods from The Brinery
- Shrubs from Civil Ferments (particularly great in mocktails!)
- Kombucha, like turmeric ginger or tart cherry ginseng, from Neu Kombucha
The native Elderberry plant is also a great source of immune support. Elderberry syrup is high in vitamin C and has been used for centuries to boost the immune system and help naturally treat colds and coughs. TC Elderberry’s all-natural organic elderberry syrup is a perfect option to have on hand for the winter months. Many teas also feature herbs and spices that promote health. Light of Day Organic’s Be Still blend is one of our favorites for the chilly months.
One of the best ways to keep your brain and body happy, especially in the winter, is regular movement. You don’t have to do daily HIIT workouts or Peloton rides to reap the mental health benefits of movement. Bundle up and breathe some crisp, fresh winter air on daily dog walks or try a virtual yoga video, like the ones being offered from Bee Wise Farms. If you can, embrace the Michigan winter, dress in layers, and strap on some snowshoes or skis. And if your winter movement causes some aches and pains, the Dope Muscle Rub from Hi Hemp Co. or CBD Stick from Farm Sudz will bring you quick comfort and relief.
Care for Your Skin
Winter can really dry things out and your body needs more water than you think. Hydration is key for metabolism, joint health, healthy skin, balanced energy levels and more. In addition to drinking plenty of liquids, using soaps and moisturizers without harsh chemicals helps keep skin healthy year round and can help rejuvenate dry skin. Check out soaps from Milk + Honey and Farm Sudz and healing herbal salves from Bear Earth Herbals. Lips chapped by wintry winds? Apotheca has moisturizing, vegan lip balms available to save the day!
How are you staying well this winter? Are there any local products you’re using to beat the winter blues? Email us at [email protected] and [email protected] to share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!
Kelly Wilson, RDN, is TLD’s Director of Community Partners and is a Registered Dietitian. She is based in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Elizabeth Pearce is TLD’s Operations Assistant and is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.