You might be focused on keeping your head warm with your winter hat and keeping your body temperature up with your cosy coat, but what you put into your body during the winter can be just as important as what you put on it.
Nutrients help your body to run at it best and help to protect it against threats like germs. Ideally, you should get your nutrients from the foods you eat; however, we know that no one is perfect and it can be difficult to keep track of all of the vitamins and minerals we’re taking – that’s where supplements come into play.
We’ve compiled a list of vitamins that can be beneficial to your health this winter. But as always, you should check with your doctor before adding new vitamins to your regime.
The “sunshine vitamin.” Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, which can be a bit problematic during the winter when the days are shorter and it’s too cold to spend a lot of time outdoors. Taking a vitamin D supplement has lots of health benefits like keeping bones healthy and improving resistance against certain diseases.
There aren’t many foods that contain vitamin D. Fish, dairy and mushrooms do, but as they are small amounts it can be hard to meet your daily requirement from just eating these foods. That’s why it can be useful to take vitamin D supplements during the winter, however you should check with your doctor how much is enough for you.
Vitamin C can’t prevent you from getting colds but it can reduce their severity. That’s because vitamin C strengthens your body’s immune system. Looking for C outside the bottle? Try cranberries, citrus fruits, leafy greens and bell peppers. An apple a day won’t keep the doctor away, but an orange might (and if it doesn’t, at least it tastes good).
Iron deficiency is a common deficiency and it can be a problematic one since it’s the mineral that produces haemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the protein responsible for carrying oxygen to your tissues. It can also help regulate your body temperature, which can come in handy when you’re trying to stay warm this season. If you’re feeling fatigued, experiencing cold hands and feet, have brittle nails, or suffer with headaches, chat with your doctor about adding an iron supplement into your diet. You can also try eating more beans, lentils, leafy greens, or red meat to add some more iron into your diet.
While a vitamin E deficiency is rare, it is a vital component to your health — specifically your skin health. Winter weather can cause your skin to get flaky, dry, and itchy, but lotions fortified with vitamin E can help your skin hold water, keeping it soft and resilient. It also has been shown to decrease inflammation, redness, and wrinkles as well. So, while not a supplement in the traditional sense, supplementing your skin routine with some vitamin E does have its benefits. And it’s easy to do — most creams contain this skin-protecting vitamin.
Vitamin B is great for maintaining cell health and keeping you feeling energized. There are different types of B vitamins that have different benefits. B-12 helps regulate your nervous system and B-6 helps your body turn food into energy. B-1 and B-2 also convert what you eat into energy but also tout neurological benefits and support proper eyesight. In the colder months, B-12 is most beneficial for it can improve your mood and boost your energy. You can get your winter dosage in whole grains, red meats, legumes, and leafy greens.
Vitamins are crucial nutrients to overall health and well-being, not just during the winter but all year-round. When it comes to maintaining a healthy immune system, staying warm and fighting the winter blues, supplements can help. It is also important to remember that eating a healthy diet should give you the vitamins you need and supplements should do just that: supplement. Talk with your doctor about any deficiencies you may be experiencing and figure out what dosage is right for you.
At Pall Mall, we offer private GP appointments, where you can discuss any concerns about your health this winter. Click here or call us on 03300 58 44 55.