If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, chances are you’re already a few weeks (or months) deep into winter.
While the skiers, snowmobilers, and snowshoers are rejoicing… Some of us are sitting inside, watching the white stuff fall from the sky, impatiently looking at our calendars, hoping spring comes quickly!
Regardless if you’re an active winter adventurer or if you prefer to lean into your body’s need for rest and restoration and choose hibernation from the cold, maintaining your energy at this time of year can be increasingly difficult.
It all comes down to one major factor… the life force of our entire planet and all the humans on it.
Yes - we’re talking about the sun!
Shorter days bring less sunshine. Less sunshine causes a huge drop in the production of many of the body’s hormones and vitamins, including the powerful immune-boosting vitamin D. Frigid temperatures can cause drops in serotonin levels, the hormone responsible for keeping our spirits bright.
In the wintertime, our immune systems need extra support to help us fight those pesky colds and flus.
Whether you love the cold and snow, or prefer to hide from it… Here are the three key vitamins and nutrients to add into your diet this winter, and which go-to snacks and foods are jam-packed with them.
The sunshine vitamin! Vitamin D It is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus – two critical minerals for building bone. Vitamin D helps to reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation in the body.
Vitamin D can be tricky to incorporate into your diet without supplementation. Most sources are found in the flesh of fatty fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. Many of the foods we eat are fortified with vitamin D, such as dairy products.
Our body usually absorbs vitamin D from the sun’s rays, but in the winter this becomes challenging. Adding supplements to your diet may help reduce your risk of developing the winter blues (depression) and unhealthy cravings (for high-sugar foods).
This mineral is essential for keeping your immune system in check. Zinc helps with wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, and your sense of taste and smell. It’s especially important in the winter months to help fight off colds and flus.
Zinc can be found in shellfish such as oysters, crab, and lobster, beef, poultry, pork, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
We’d recommend incorporating Nature’s Garden Roasted Hazelnuts into your diet as a snack or to your next recipe. These heart-healthy nuts also help play a key role in providing your body with essential fatty acids, zinc, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and folate. What’s more is they pack a protein punch to keep your hunger satisfied throughout the day, and are proven to help regulate blood sugar.
When it comes to lifting your mood and fighting off colds, there’s no nutrient you should focus more on incorporating into your diet than vitamin C. This vitamin has been known to help protect against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
You can add more vitamin C to your diet simply by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. Even if your top choices are out of season this winter, try frozen versions as opposed to canned. Consider eating veggies and fruits that are in season, such as squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, turnips, oranges, tangerines, and pomegranates. Did someone say yum?
Our Probiotic Immune Booster features a harmonious blend of almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pepitas, cranberries, tart cherries, and blueberries. The nuts pack a protein punch and fiber kick, helping to keep your hunger satisfied and body fueled up to conquer the day. Combined with the dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries which provides a blast of vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc to reduce inflammation, combat stress, and fight disease.
While incorporating these vitamins and minerals into your diet during winter is crucial, here are a few final tips that can help fight off winter blues and replenish your energy.
Eat healthy carbs whenever possible
Drops in serotonin bring on comfort food cravings. Reach for nuts, beets, whole grains, sweet potatoes, yams, and squash to kick those cravings away!
Drink more water and tea
In the winter, our bodies work harder to stay hydrated. The cold temperatures may have us upping our coffee intake, but try switching to tea or water instead.
Stick to a schedule of three meals a day, or even six smaller meals, to help keep you full and resist the temptation of overeating. Scheduled eating can help stimulate your metabolism and keep your energy levels even higher.
Now bundle up and get out there! Or, get moving and grooving inside to your favorite home workout. Focus on resting and recharging this winter, and giving your body the love it needs.
Sharing our thanks to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for information used in this article.