In the winter time we often suffer from the lack of sunshine and tend to turn to comfort food a little too often, so it becomes incredibly important to provide our bodies with all the minerals and vitamins it needs to stay healthy in the winter. This is also the season when we’re the most prone to catching a cold or the flu and vitamins can also help us avoid that. Vitamins are an essential part of our metabolism, but our body can only produce some of them – the others we need to take in ourselves. Of course it’s best to supplement our bodies with vitamins from natural resources, such as foods, but in today’s busy, hectic lives vitamin supplements and tablets can be very helpful too. It’s also important to note that most of the vitamin content of fruits and vegetables evaporates when we cook them, thus it is recommended to consume them raw. And if you don’t eat raw fruits and vegetables regularly, you should definitely consider investing in vitamin and mineral supplements!
Vitamins and minerals to take during the winter
Vitamin C – it strengthens the immune system and supports the healthy functioning of T-cells that play a key role in the fight against viruses and bacteria. It is an effective antioxidant, increases your energy levels and reduces the symptoms of common cold.
Vitamin D3 – it is an essential fat-soluble vitamin, which our body can only produce through exposure to sunlight – thus in the winter when we get much less sun exposure, it’s even more important to take care of our daily intake. It regulates the absorption of the calcium we consume thus promoting bone health and it supports our immune system.
Magnesium – magnesium helps to increase your energy levels by activating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and is known as a great stress reliever as it regulates your hormones, calming your brain and promoting relaxation. It also regulates the levels of calcium, contributing to the structural development of bones and also helps with digestion by relieving constipation.
Calcium – it is an essential mineral our body uses to maintain healthy bones and teeth and to lower high blood pressure. Calcium supports muscle and nerve function as well as weight loss. Together with Vitamin D they can effect pancreatic cells that control insulin secretion and therefore blood sugar levels, so it can help prevent diabetes too.
Fish Oil – fish oil is derived from the tissues of oily fish which contain two Omega 3 fatty acids: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). It helps with heart health, reduces inflammation and can enhance your mood to lift depression. It can reduce joint pain and contributes to healthy hair and glowing skin.
Seasonal veggies and fruits to look out for
Apples – apples keep you full quite long and promote digestive health thanks to the fibers in them and at the same time they enhance your immune system. Apples also contain antioxidants called flavonoids that may help lower the risk of diabetes.
Grapefruit – grapefruit is not only a great source of Vitamin C (100g providing you more than half of your recommended Vitamin C intake) and Vitamin A, boosting your immunity, but it also regulates your blood sugar levels and can prevent excessive acidity in the body.
Sweet potato – this delicious vegetable has a really high Vitamin A content, 100 grams of it providing almost three times of the recommended daily amount. It also contains Vitamin B6 and Magnesium which help in releasing stress, and large amounts of potassium and beta-carotene. Sweet potato is also high in fiber, thus it aids digestion as well.
Winter squash – high in antioxidants and Magnesium as well as Vitamin A and Vitamin C, squash is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It also contains lots of fiber, yet again helping with your digestion. And since it is low in calories and cholesterol-free as well, it considered to promote weight loss.