With a shifting of the seasons it is important to consider what needs to change with diet and supplementation. Here in the Midwest we are not getting the same amount of sunlight, we get less fresh air, fruits and vegetables have to come from sources further away and even the air we breathe has less moisture in it. Here are a few dietary ideas to help you and your family to stay healthy and keep your immune systems strong to fight off viruses and bacteria.
- Vitamin D-in the summer months we absorb this vitamin from exposure to sunlight and then our body converts it into a form that is useable. In the cold and darker winter months when we are outside less it is important to supplement a good source of Vitamin D3, which is the natural source of this vitamin. It is one of the four fat soluble vitamins so remember when you take it that your body needs to absorb it with a source of fat. So take it with a meal that has a healthy source of fat like avocado or a nut butter. That way you know your body is using it to the best of it’s ability. Vitamin D has many important functions in our body such as aiding in the absorption of calcium, promotes improvement in mood, contributes to bone strength and help to promote healthy cells.
- Vitamin C-a very important antioxidant which means it protects our cells from damage done by pollutants. Again because we are not getting as much fresh air it becomes even more important that we get enough of this water soluble vitamin. This is one of the vitamins that can be easily obtained through diet. Great sources include berries, kiwi, citrus fruits, and pineapple. Fruit can be harder to find in the winter so supplementing can also be helpful in keeping you well. Other benefits of this vitamin include aiding the body in absorbing iron, wound healing by forming collagen, and maintaining teeth, bones and cartilage.
- Zinc-this is a mineral that supports proper immune system function, regulates appetite and produces superoxide dismutase which protects our bodies from free radical damage. Zinc can be found in food sources such as red meat, shellfish, nuts, legumes and seeds. During the winter months zinc can be supplemented easily. If you take a multivitamin check to see if you are getting enough zinc that way or consider upping your dose.
- Elderberry syrup-an old remedy that is heavily laden with antioxidants. A much more concentrated dose than can be found in berries. It is taken regularly to fight against viruses, the flu and reducing inflammation. To be used most effectively it should be taken consistently during the winter months to increase it’s maximum benefit. It can be found at most health food stores or you can even get a recipe to make it at home!
Having a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercise along with regular chiropractic adjustments can go a long way in staying healthy and fighting off the cold weather blues. What other ideas do you have to help keep your health and spirits high during our long midwestern winters?! We would love for you to share or comment below.