A healthy diet in winter is like an internal layering of your body to protect against cold and diseases. There are certain vitamins that you should include in your diet to prepare your body to overcome harsh weather. Nutrients help your body run like normal and protect it from threats like germs.
Vitamins are essential nutrients needed by the body for optimum working and to keep us healthy. Though these nutrients are needed in relatively small amounts, they are very important in ensuring we stay healthy and live a sickness-free life.
Below are some of the vitamins you need to fill up for the winter:
We get our vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. During the winter days, it becomes more difficult to get enough of this vitamin as the day gets shorter and the night excessively longer.
Vitamin D deficiency is most commonly caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential as it helps strengthen the bones and also aid the absorption of many metabolic products including calcium. Vitamin D provides protection from osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer and autoimmune diseases. It also promotes a positive outlook and helps keep depression at bay.
Vitamin D enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of monocytes and macrophages — white blood cells that are important parts of your immune defense — and decreases inflammation, which helps promote an immune response. Vitamin D can boost your immune system. Vitamin D is one of the most important immune system-strengthening nutrients that can reduce the risk of colds and flu; this should be taken on a regular basis. Scientists have mapped the points at which vitamin D interacts with our DNA — and identified over two hundred genes that it directly influences.
You can help yourself get this vitamin by stepping out when possible to get some sun for at least 15 minutes during mid-day sun. You can as well get the vitamin D2 – the synthetic version and include in your daily routine. It is often included in calcium supplements. Some food source of vitamin D include eggs, milk, butter, mushrooms, fatty fish, and cod liver oil.
Vitamin C is one of the major vitamins you will need for the winter season. It helps gives enough protection by boosting the immune system, therefore, helps you appropriately fight against cold and flu. It also helps maintain the bones, detox the body, nourish the skin and enhances wound healing during the season.
Vitamin C plays a role in controlling infections and healing wounds, and is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize harmful free radicals. It is needed to make collagen, a fibrous protein in connective tissue that is weaved throughout various systems in the body.
Our bodies don’t make vitamin C, but we need it for immune function, bone structure, iron absorption, and healthy skin.Studies have found that people who smoke, and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke, have reduced amounts of vitamin C in their bodies. It’s thought that smokers require 35 mg more vitamin C daily than non-smokers.
The major sources of vitamin C include guavas, sweet yellow peppers, thyme, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, cranberries, broccoli, strawberries, parsley, and many other fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin A is important for tissue repair and so it’s important for the body’s growth and development. It is also involved in strengthening the immune system and help maintain good eyesight. Vitamin A is able to put a sparkle back in your eyes and makes your skin glow even in the winters.Vitamin A supplementation may speed recovery, reduce the severity and prevent against subsequent episodes of acute lower respiratory tract infections.
Major food sources of vitamin A are egg yolks, carrots, milk, sweet potato, tomatoes, fortified margarine, liver, fatty fish like tuna and sardines, red pepper, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, apricots, cantaloupe and mango.
Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant that protects the cell membranes and helps maintain the skin’s suppleness and softness. The winter season tends to cause a dry and flaky skin.
Vitamin E is found in plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables,wheat germ oil,sunflower, safflower, and soybean oil,sunflower seeds,almonds,peanuts, peanut butter, spinach,pumpkin,red bell pepper,mango and avocado.
Folate and Folic acid
This is a nutrient that is naturally found in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic version of the nutrient only that it is not as bioavailable. Whichever one you decide to take, they are both capable of keeping your mood on a high note, not only when you are pregnant but also during the cold season. This is a perfect nutrient to help you beat the winter blues.
Folate or folic acid is also capable of helping you prevent heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and also supports healthy cell growth.Folate may indeed help regulate immune response to allergens, and may reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.
Major foods rich in folate are avocado, dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans, lentils, peas, beets ,nuts, wheat germ bananas and seeds.