As much as we love the change of seasons, cooler weather can usher in unwelcome hassles, such as sinus congestion, achy joints, and chronic coughs for 73 percent of women studied. Below are five natural ways to feel your best this winter.
Put the Kettle On
Bye-bye, crankiness! Wrapping your hands around a hot mug of tea can chase away a grumpy mood in three minutes. When your hands warm up, your brain releases mood-boosting serotonin.
Keep Your Hands Down
We think of viruses as mostly airborne blights — but they can get on your hands too. Simply remembering not to touch your face during sick season can instantly cut your risk of colds and influenza by 47 percent!
Sip Sweet Coffee
Dry indoor air and the newest crop of nasty cold viruses triple your risk of stubborn coughs. A throat-soothing Rx: Sip a cup of warm water mixed with ½ tsp. of instant coffee and 2 tsp. of unpasteurized honey. In a recent study, women who drank this mix three times daily for five days cut their coughing fits by 93 percent — better than prescription cough suppressants! Thanks goes to antioxidants in coffee and honey, which speed the healing of irritated throat tissues.
Try Milk Thistle
Always congested? Spending more time indoors means we breathe in three times more sinus-irritating dust, mold, and dander. To cut your stuffiness and postnasal drip by 76 percent, take 300 mg. of milk thistle ($11.10, Amazon) or sip two mugs of milk thistle tea ($19.78, Amazon) daily. Ohio State University researchers say this herb’s active ingredient (silymarin) calms overactive immune cells, halting the release of congestion-triggering inflammation. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
Bring in the Mail
Cold weather makes two in three of us feel stiff, sore, and creaky. Thankfully, a review of 23 studies proves that moving for two minutes every half hour can cut your pain and stiffness by 55 percent in 24 hours. Explains study co-author Anne Christie, Ph.D., regular motion helps circulate nutrient-rich blood through muscles and joints, flushing out pain-triggering inflammation and speeding the healing of damaged tissues.
Dab Skin with Coconut Oil
At least 58 percent of us are bothered by dry, itchy skin these days. The good news: Five studies suggest that dabbing coconut oil ($6.38, Amazon) onto trouble spots twice daily cuts skin redness and discomfort by as much as 62 percent. Explains dermatologist Chris Zouboulis, M.D., coconut oil contains a unique fat (lauric acid) that reduces inflammation, kills irritating bacteria and encourages healing.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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