I read an article recently about vitamins that we need more of in the winter months and it lead me to thinking about which foods we could ‘top up’ on in the colder months to help prevent against flues and colds. While I’m well aware that a good vitamin supplement can take care of all your physical health needs, I like the idea of at least helping out my body by giving it the right food – and even more so for the children.
According to the article five of the main vitamins we need more of in the winter months are:
This one is almost obvious. We’ve all been told to eat an orange when we feel a runny nose coming on. While a single orange might give you 100% of your RDA for Vitamin C, to fight a cold you need a much higher dose. You could also have some iron to help with the absorption of the vitamin C, and avoid caffeine as it prevents the absorption (yeah, I’d rather have a cold too!) Great sources of vitamin C are kiwis, broccoli and brussel sprouts. Pair it with beef, leafy greens or a baked potato for the iron to really make it stick.
Many of us have vitamin D deficiency a lot of the year anyway, but in the winter it can be so much worse, specially if you’re working during the daylight hours. Vitamin D really helps with energy and mood, two things that can really suffer in the winter months. I find it really interesting how many foods rich in Vitamin D are yellow in colour – egg yolk, orange juice, cheese and oily fish, like salmon – okay that one’s pinker, but still.
Zinc is really important but I wonder how many of us even know why? It helps with tissue repair, balancing hormones and it is a powerful antioxidant, but it’s also really important in immune health. And what do you find zinc in? Red meat and dark chocolate, to just mention my favourites. There’s also seafood, whole grains and eggs that’ll do the trick.
Otherwise known as folic acid this one is highly touted in the early stages of pregnancy, but actually, it’s also really important every other time of life too. Folic acid is a strong mood regulator, and it helps in preventing numerous illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and even certain forms of cancer. In the UK pregnant women can get folic acid free from their GP’s but if you can include it in your diet, you’ll find it in citrus fruits, dark leafy greens, beans and lentils. I say dip some orange slices into melted dark chocolate, myself.
Vitamin A is necessary for maintaining your immune system but also helps your vision, healthy neurological function and healthy skin. You can find a healthy dose of vitamin A in smoked salmon, blueberries, cheese, peppers, mushrooms, cinnamon and bananas.
Ideally, the key to being healthy is a healthy diet, but in the business of life and with access to fresh, organic food sometimes being tough, a good supplement that contains these 5 vitamins should go a long way to making the winter months a little less miserable.