Here comes the cold-months, and winter, where we are most vulnerable to get sick and catch the flu. The intense temperature drop during the winter season causes our immune system a lot of stress and strain. This is why immune-building and anti-inflammatory vitamins are the best vitamins to take in winter. Adding enough winter vitamins and supplements to your daily regimen can help us cope well and stay healthy through the winter season.
For instance, the winter season in Hong Kong emerges from mid-December to February. At this time, the temperature drops to around 16 to 18°C leaving everyone under the cold and inside their sweaters. In addition to that, our exposure to sunlight become little as we stay indoors most of the time, being inactive and often tired.
Unfortunately, winter conditions can be dangerous to our health, especially for people aged 65 or older, and people with long-term challenges such as heart or kidney disease, COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma or diabetes.
Remember that the "normal" temperature of the human body ranges from 36.1°C to 37.2°C. Temperature drops during winter can raise the risk of increased blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. When the weather is cold and damp, it makes it easier for bacteria to thrive and spread and also make us more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses.
This article recommends some of the vitamins to take in winter and provides reasons why you need them. This piece also offers a few healthy tips you should be practicing to stay well this winter.
This fat-soluble vitamin is a very vital vitamin to take in winter. It generally assists in the smooth performance of our body. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium which in turn strengthens our bones. It also boosts our immune health and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Having high vitamin D levels have been linked with improved nerve cell formation and muscle functioning in the body.
Interestingly, we get about 80% of our vitamin D when we expose our skin to sunlight. The lack of sunshine during winter causes a potential lack of vitamin D. This is because vitamin D levels in the blood depend on exposure to sunlight, which can decrease in winter months.
Taking enough vitamin D supplements and vitamin D rich foods (oily fish, red meat and eggs) are reliable ways of supplying a healthy vitamin D intake into your body.
Vitamin D supplements now occur in liquid drops, capsules and tablets and are available in a wide range of doses to accommodate all ages and lifestyles. The amount of vitamin D contained in supplements is usually expressed in international units (IU). 40 IU is equal to 1 microgram (1µg) of vitamin D. When you take vitamin D supplements, 10 micrograms a day should be enough - which is equivalent to 400 IU- 600 IU daily dose.
Vitamin D Winter Tips
- Open your blinds or curtains to let in some sunlight as soon as you wake up.
- Always try to go outdoors to get some natural daylight as much as possible.
- Make sure there are enough light and air penetration in your workplace and closet at all times.
Vitamin C is a well-known immune-boosting vitamin. Its rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function make it an essential vitamin to take in winter. Vitamin C enhances our body immunity by fighting infection and healing wounds. It provides antioxidants which protect our body cells from oxidative stress.
There is also evidence suggesting that taking vitamin C supplements during winter reduces the impact and duration of the common cold. Other studies opine that vitamin C also has a high potential for decreasing viral infections. Little kids can take their vitamin C as naturally-sweetened chewable tablets. Studies recommend the intake of at least 1000mg daily to enjoy its vast benefits.
Apart from taking vitamin C supplements, it would help if you also eat diets rich in coloured fruits and vegetables to improve your immunity.
Many people feel tired and sluggish during the winter. This is because winter temperature drops can make the body so languid that you may find it hard to roll out of bed or get active. Nevertheless, there are many ways to get around fatigue and inactiveness during winter. One of those ways is taking brain-boosting vitamins that increase nervous system health, boost cellular renewal and improve mood. B vitamins can help with that.
B vitamins include vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. They all help reduce tiredness and fatigue by promoting the functioning of our body nervous system. B vitamins may also boost the immune system. During the winter season, they help us stay fit and more active by regulating hormonal activities in the body -and promoting the welfare of the heart.
In light of the reasons above, vitamin B complex can be considered as one of the highly beneficial vitamins to take in winter. A supplement product containing all B vitamins is simply referred to as a vitamin B complex.
Tips To Avoid Winter Tiredness
- Practice regular exercise to feel more energetic
- Avoid eating foods containing lots of sugar. Instead, eat more of fruit and vegetables.
- Do not oversleep. Aim for 8 hours of quality sleep each day. Sleep early and rise early.
Your Intestinal/gastrointestinal health is an important aspect to focus on during the winter season. During the cold months, we mostly spend time indoors, eating and having enough of rest. In winter, our gut microbiota can affect our food intake and appetite, body weight and composition. The lack of vitamin D coupled with the shifting impact of stress, diet and taking antibiotics and harsh cleansers during the winter season affects bacterial populations in our body.
Probiotics are "harmless bacteria" introduced into our body to replenish the gut and help support digestive harmony in people having an upset stomach. Taking probiotics helps to provide some promising therapeutic effect against inflammatory bowel diseases. Some studies suggest that probiotics can also positively impact the immune system response of the body.
Echinacea is a traditional herbal medicine used to palate the hash symptoms of common colds and other upper respiratory infections (URIs). The origin of this herb can be traced back to hundreds of years in North America. Its intake also increases the level of white blood cells and enhances immunity.
Common cold during winter can be very disturbing, frustrating, and highly inconveniencing as well. Sometimes, it can be accompanied by symptoms such as mild and chronic dry coughs, sore throat, sneezing, and thick mucus-filled nasal congestion.
Nowadays, natural medicine/herbs have become adequate go-to support, both as a single therapy and as an integrative ingredient in pharmaceutical formulations. Moreover, natural herbs have proved to be an effective treatment, particularly for the common cold since the history of man.
Thus, apart from considering only vitamins to take in winter, you should also shop for potent anti-flu herbs supplements like Echinacea that give quick relief from common-cold. Some other effective natural medicines for treating the common cold during winter include Astragalus, Bee Propolis and Spirulina. All these herbal supplements are available in tablets, tinctures, capsules, extracts, and tea forms.