We all want to be able to eat healthy nutritious meals all day every day, but let’s face it, life gets in the way and we look for convenience. Because we don’t eat the right foods our body needs supplementation to get the adequate vitamins and minerals. This is especially true during the winter months. Here are a few supplements that you should be taking this winter to keep you happy and healthy.
Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because it’s produced in your skin in response to sunlight. You can also get it through certain foods and supplements to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin in your blood.
The suggested dosage for Vitamin D is 400IU. Some studies suggest that a higher daily intake of 25–100 mcg or 1000 – 4000 IU is needed to maintain optimal blood levels.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a lowered immune system as it directly interacts with the cells that are responsible for fighting infection. Several large observational studies have shown a link between a deficiency and respiratory tract infections like colds, bronchitis and pneumonia.
Vitamin D has shown to reduce your risk of Multiple Sclerosis, decrease your chances of developing heart disease and helping to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu. Vitamin D also reduces depression and can boost weight loss.
Some Food sources of vitamin D
- egg yolk
- milk (fortified)
- cereal (fortified)
- yogurt (fortified)
- orange juice (fortified)
It can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day through sun exposure and food alone, so taking vitamin D supplements can help.
Vitamin C & Zinc
For many years Vitamin C has been thought as the number one home remedy for keeping colds at bay. However, research within the last decade has found that taking vitamin C everyday does not reduce a person’s risk of getting one, but it does lessen the severity of a cold’s symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness. Therefore, getting sufficient amounts of the vitamin is particularly important during winter when there is a spike in people suffering a cold.
Adults (19-64 years) need 40mg of vitamin C a day, but taking less than 1,000mg of vitamin C supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm. It’s important to note that vitamin C can’t be stored in the body so is needed as part of your daily diet.
Zinc also has a role in reducing the duration and severity of a cold. Taking zinc soon after the onset of symptoms of the common cold significantly reduces both the duration and severity of symptoms.
The amount of zinc you need is about 9.5mg a day for men (aged 19-64 years) and 7mg a day for women. Don’t take more than 25mg of zinc supplements a day unless advised to by a doctor.
Please note taking high doses of zinc reduces the amount of copper the body can absorb. This can lead to weakening of the bones.
The B vitamins are a group of 8 vitamins sometimes called the “anti-stress vitamins” since they’re essential for combating the effects of stress. They are used to create the feel-good neurotransmitters responsible for maintaining a positive mood as well as being critical for a healthy nervous system.
The role of vitamin B12 in particular, could help us during the colder months as it has been shown to help those suffering from feelings of anxiety or depression. This is particular important during winter when people are more at risk of feelings of depression and getting the winter blues.
Vitamin B is found almost exclusively in animal protein sources – meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, and eggs – therefore vegans are at risk of deficiency as it’s unlikely they will be able to obtain sufficient amounts through diet alone.
Folate (vitamin B9) is important for mood management. Findings show that many people with depression have lower levels of folate in the blood. Folate is found in green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, peanuts, and other legumes, and citrus fruits.
As you can see, a healthy balanced diet can get you the nutrients you need to stay healthy but if you are like the majority of people who live off of convenience then you will need to look at supplementing these few vitamins to get you through the flu season and the winter blues. Diet is important but don’t forget about exercise! Check us out at courtsplus.org for programming and membership information.