Cold Weather Pains

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Cold Weather Pains

Cold Weather Pains – a feature explaining the effect cold weather can have on our body  – from joint pain and arthritis to chilblains. Please can you provide nutritional tips (alongside key supplements including Collagen MSM Plus) which can help us to overcome symptoms?Cold weather can affect our health.  Sarah Flower, Nutritionist, offers some advice on the common problems we can face this winter. 

Arthritis

To keep your joints and muscles in tip top condition, eat plenty of sulphur- rich foods such as meat, eggs, cauliflower and sprouts, which is a great way to help heal and repair connective tissue as well as acting as an anti-inflammatory.    Combine the sulphur-rich foods with foods that aid the formation of collagen such as green leafy vegetables, fruit and veg such as berries, carrots and sweet potatoes as this will help maintain lean muscle mass and keep both joints and bone health in good condition.   If all that seems too much, you can get your sulphur from a supplement called MSM (Methysulfonylmethane) I would recommend Medicares Collagen MSM Plus as it is specific for joint and muscle health.   Glucosamine works really well alongside MSM.  It aids joint problems and keeps the joint hydrated and prevents enzyme damage.  Get busy with the spices as they have some amazing healing properties.  Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, but also helps to detoxify the system, aiding repair and improving circulation.  Ginger and chilli, both stimulate the body to repair as well as another anti-inflammatory.   Magnesium is a really important supplement for joint health. Magnesium helps relax the muscles, it helps to keep the body in a more alkaline state, therefore avoid inflammation. Opt for a magnesium citrate as this is the most usable, bioavailable form – avoid cheap forms such as magnesium oxides and carbonates which we cannot absorb fully.

Chilblains 

These manifest as small, swollen patches of skin that become inflamed, itchy and sore and are aggravated by sudden changes in temperature.  Most commonly found on the toes, they can also form on the fingers.  Keeping a constant temperature can really help.  Also think about using Ginko Biloba supplementation, which helps blood flow, particularly to the smaller capillaries. Vitamin C and E has also been shown to be beneficial.   You should also consider taking a Omega 3 oil, such as fish oil, Krill or Flax.

Psoriasis 

This is a chronic skin condition, which forms itchy, raised red patches.   It occurs when the body produces new skin cells before the old ones have shed, caused raised areas covered in flaky, itchy skin.  It is an inherited immune system disorder that is made much worse by stress, cold weather or allergies.  There is a number of medical approaches but natural therapies can work well.  Adding Vitamin D in to your diet, or supplement form, especially during the winter months can have a positive effect.  Also consider adding a fish oil supplement daily.   A study shown great benefit adding marine fish oil (Bittiner SB, Tucker WF, Cartwright I, et al. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial of fish oil in psoriasis. Lancet. 1988;1:378-380.), helping to inhibit inflammation.  Aloe Vera has also been shown to be more effective than some steroid creams, helping to calm down inflammation as well as boosting the immune system when used topically and orally.  (Choonhakarn C et al, A prospective randomized clinical trial comparing topical aloe vera with 0.1% triamcinolone acetonide in chronic plaque psoriasis. ICD 2009)

Season Affective Disorder

We are now advising everyone to take a vitamin D supplement at least for the autumn and winter months, particularly if you suffer from SAD, depression or even heart problems.  In fact, a review of 195 studies involving more than 168,000 participants in 44 countries has found that 37.3% of us are deficient in vitamin D – and that Europeans are more deficient than North Americans.  (Jennifer Hilger, Angelika Friedel, Raphael Herr, Tamara Rausch, Franz Roos, Denys A. Wahl, Dominique D. Pierroz, Peter Weber and Kristina Hoffmann. A systematic review of vitamin D status in populations worldwide. British Journal of Nutrition, available on CJO2013.) It is also worth considering getting a SAD lamp to wake up to and to use at your desk.  St John’s wort is also a good alternative for someone suffering from SAD or depression.  Check with your doctor if you are on any medication as this can be affected by St Johns Wort.

Joint Pains

Vitamin D is typically lower in the winter months, and given Vitamin D’s role in many processes in the body, including relieving joint and muscle pain and increasing flexibility and movement. it would make sense to be affected by the colder months when we spend more time indoors and lessen our exposure to vitamin D.  It would be recommended to take a Vitamin D3 supplement in the winter months (or all year around if your time outdoors is limited).  The winter months typically see us eating far more carbohydrate and sugary foods, which increases inflammation. Gentle regular exercise is really important in order to keep the joints healthy and strong.  Walking is a great exercise, not only is it free but walking outside also increases your exposure to vitamin D, which has been shown to increase movement in joints and decrease pain – especially in those suffering from osteoarthritis.  Some believe that a change in air/atmospheric pressure can affect our joints.  The scenario when Granny may comment that rain is on the way as her joints are playing up.  Whilst there may be something in this, as yet there is no scientific research to prove this theory.  As with Arthritis, I would advise using Collagen MSM Plus, a liquid supplement developed specifically for joint and muscle health which also contains Glucosamine, Collagen, and a range of vitamins.

Flu

We need to support our immune system at all times of the year, but especially in the winter months.  Increasing your consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables will deliver a good supply of vitamin C and wide range of antioxidants.  Ensuring you have good gut health dramatically improves your immune system, so consider taking a good quality probiotic, especially if you have had antibiotics in the last 6 months.   Aloe Vera juice is also a very powerful immune booster, but also has the advantage of helping create the right environment for healthy gut bacteria, it is also anti-inflammatory.  Vitamin D has been shown to be 8 times more effective than vaccinations at preventing flu symptoms in a study of 334 children taking either a placebo or 1200IU vitamin D daily. (http://www.naturalnews.com/029760_vitamin_D_influenza.html).   Eat well, as food is your medicine.  Eat good supplies of oily fish, natural fats such as avocados, lean meats and lots of fruit and vegetables.

By Sarah Flower, Author, Nutritionist and freelance Journalist!

Sarah Flowers Sugar Free Family Cookbook will be out early Spring 2017. Pre-order a copy HERE

For more information on Sarah, her work and more recipes visit www.sarahflower.co.uk

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Twitter: @MsSarahFlower