7 Reasons To Add Vitamins To Your Daily Diet
Cold weather is here to stay, at least for the next several months. With that in mind, winter presents its own challenges when it comes to ensuring that you are getting proper nutrition. Here’s why. Winter days are shorter and the sun is cycling lower in the sky until after the winter solstice, which makes it harder for your body to make enough vitamin D, which can create many problems. It’s time to winterize your daily nutrition and you can do that by knowing which vitamins you need most at this time of year and how they can boost your health. We’ll start with the most common winter concern — your immune system.
1) Boost your immune system
Colds and flu are no one’s idea of a great time and they are most prevalent during the winter months. That’s because you spend more time indoors and in closer proximity to those who contract the virus. Another reason, according to Harvard Health, is that since your body produces less vitamin D and melatonin, this lowers your immune system making it harder to fight off these kinds of illnesses. So, to boost your immune system there are a few vitamins you should get more of — vitamins C, D and E, and melatonin.
Having a healthy immune system is important at any time of the year, but especially in winter. Yet, immunity isn’t the only thing that winter impacts. It also impacts your mood.
2) Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder — S.A.D. — goes beyond the “winter blues” and, in some cases, can be debilitating and can include a loss of sleep, depression and even suicidal thoughts. So, seek the advice of your doctor if you believe you may be struggling with this. Treatment and prevention of S.A.D. include light therapy, counseling, and conventional medications as common treatments. Yet, studies have also shown that vitamin D deficiency can trigger S.A.D. A lab draw can confirm any suspicions and your provider will recommend the appropriate dosage of vitamin D if you need it.
3) Beat sluggishness
Not everyone is impacted by S.A.D., but colder weather and shorter days also often lead to a different kind of sluggishness — that tired, drained, low-energy sap that hits you and lingers. Iron deficiency is often the culprit. In fact, in North America and Europe, an estimated 4% to 8% of premenopausal women are affected by iron deficiency anemia and although chronic fatigue is the most common symptom, it impacts you far beyond this. Iron deficient anemia can wreak havoc on your body, leading to a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, dry and damaged hair and skin, and more.
The best way to ensure you’re getting enough iron is through iron-rich foods in your diet. This includes red meats, spinach, oysters and fish, beans and legumes and raisins to name a few. If you’re still lacking, your provider may recommend a supplement to boost your levels and get you back on track.
4) Skin, hair, and nails healthy
Since we mentioned hair and skin, there are several other vitamins and minerals that help skin and hair retain elasticity and strengthen your nails. Vitamins A, C, E, zinc, selenium, omega 3s, and folic acid all play a key role. Most of us get a sufficient supply of our vitamins in the food, but in some cases, you might need to buy vitamins to supplement a missing component.
5) Boost bone health
Head and shoulders, knees and toes… No, we’re not talking about the children’s nursery rhyme. We’re talking about keeping your bones healthy and calcium is a major component to that puzzle. As we get older, our bones lose density, mass, and calcium. This leads to bones that break more easily — a primer for bone diseases like osteoporosis. To keep bones strong, make sure you’re getting enough calcium in your diet and if not, then talk to your doctor about whether supplementing is right for you.
6) Manage arthritis
Arthritis may not be the same thing as bone disease, but it does affect the joints between or around the bones, which can create inflammation and pain. Thankfully, research has shown that there are twelve different supplements available to combat the effects of arthritis.
- Sam-e — or, S-adenosylmethionine
- Indian Frankincense
- Turmeric — or, curcumin
- Avocado-soybean unsaponifiable (ASU)
- Cat’s claw
- Fish oil
- Gamma-linolenic acid
- Pine bark extract
- Green-lipped mussel extract
Before beginning any supplement, always check with your doctor first. Some supplements interact with prescription medications or may not be appropriate for some individuals. Safety first.
7) Help with weight control
Since we’re talking about winter conundrums, we can’t leave off the most prevalent winter concern — weight control. As cold weather bears down, you spend more time indoors. Holiday celebrations mean more access to decadent foods you might not otherwise indulge in. Additionally, some of us must also fight against a more sluggish metabolism to boot, which leads to easier weight gain.
A healthy diet with appropriate serving sizes and consistent daily activity are ultimately what helps to take excess weight off and keep it off. Yet, if your metabolism is holding you back, then you may need to boost the vitamins in food that you eat daily and that includes the B vitamins — 1,2,3, 5,6, 7,9, and 12, plus vitamin D, iron and magnesium. Before you buy vitamins, always check with your provider. There are many things that can cause a sluggish metabolism, including other health concerns. So, knowing what’s standing between you and a healthy weight is as important as finding the right solution to correct it.
Whether you get your vitamins in foods you eat or you buy vitamins, know your body’s needs. Knowledge is a powerful thing today that can provide a launchpad to better health tomorrow.
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