Health Post: All the Vitamins and Supplements You Need To Get Through The Winter Months

All the Vitamins and Supplements You Need To Get Through The Winter Months

The winter months are harsh on all of us. From chapped lips to dry skin to seasonal mood changes, we can often find ourselves in a worse shape as the days get shorter. 

There are several ways to combat these changes in ourselves. Whilst many would recommend exercise, mindfulness and moisturisers, there is an easier way to help. 

Vitamins and supplements won’t cure you of all of these issues, but they are an effortless way to make things a bit better. 

What are vitamins and supplements?

Vitamins are organic compounds that everyone needs to keep their bodies running. Primarily, vitamins come from food – which is why a balanced diet is so important. Your body produces some vitamins itself, but often in too small quantities. This is where food has the ability to top up the amount, so we get enough. 

Fun fact! While humans need to find vitamin C in their diets, dogs can produce it themselves. 

Image credit: Padrinan / Pixabay 

Each vitamin produces a different effect on the body, so you need a variety of different vitamins. In the winter, you might need some vitamins more than others. Vitamin D, the one you get from the sun, is key to keep on top of in the winter, because – obviously – you aren’t naturally getting as much of this one as the sun disappears behind the rain. 

Supplements are substances (like a pill) that contain nutrients – sometimes vitamins, sometimes other key compounds – that are necessary to a healthy body and mind. 

Which vitamins and supplements do I need for the winter?

Vitamin C

You’ve probably heard of vitamin C. Vitamin C is key for the protection of healthy cells. This includes skin, bones, cartilage and blood vessels (key for healing cuts). 

Another benefit of vitamin C is that it helps you to absorb iron. Iron is key for your growth and development. 

One of the things about vitamin C is that it can’t be stored in the body. This means that you need a good supply of vitamin C going in each day to keep you healthy. 

Luckily, vitamin C can be found in lots of foods – particularly fruits and vegetables. The most well-known foods are:

  • Oranges
  • Orange juice
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Strawberries 
  • Potatoes

If you are struggling with getting enough vitamin C, you can also purchase vitamin C supplements. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” is one of the hardest to come by in the winter months. Yet, it is one of the most important vitamins for humans. 

Vitamin D helps your immune system and bone health. This is why people tend to get sicker in the winter months. Without this vitamin, your immune system isn’t as strong as usual, making you more susceptible to illnesses. 

Image credit: FotoshopsTofs / Pixabay

Here are the places you can get vitamin D in your diet:

  • Oily fish (such as salmon, sardines and tuna)
  • Cereals 
  • Fortified cow’s milk
  • Fat spreads

From this list, you can see that vegetarians and vegans may struggle a bit more than most to get the right amount of vitamin D. Due to this, taking vitamin D supplements can be a smart course of action. 

Moringa

Moringa is a plant known for its richness of nutrients. It can come in many forms, such as a powder you sprinkle into food or drink. 

Moringa scientific proof shows that this supplemental plant helps you to improve your heart health, stabilise your blood sugar, digest better and boosts your skin’s health, amongst many other things. 

It can help you like this because this one plant includes:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Fibre

and so many more, if you can believe it!

Vitamin B12

This vitamin is key for making red blood cells, releasing energy from food and keeping a healthy nervous system. However, many vegetarians and vegans don’t get enough B12, because they almost solely come from foods they cannot eat. 

Image credit: Imoflow / Pixabay

B12 can be found in:

  • Meat 
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Salmon

If you don’t get enough B12, the consequences can be really problematic. B12 deficiency can lead to tiredness, pins and needles, weak muscles, vision issues, memory issues and mouth ulcers. 

B12 supplements are widespread though due to this. 

Iron 

Iron was mentioned earlier, as a great source for your body to make red blood cells, carrying oxygen around the body, a necessity for most functions in life. As aforementioned, keeping your vitamin C levels good is important for your iron levels, as vitamin C helps you retain iron. 

A lack of iron can lead to anaemia, characterised by tiredness and shortness of breath. Iron supplements are often prescribed by doctors when anaemia is experienced. Often, this happens during pregnancy and can lead to real issues if left untreated. 

For those looking to boost their iron levels during winter, these foods are a good source of iron:

  • Meat 
  • Dark-green leafy vegetables
  • Beans 
  • Nuts 
  • Whole grains
  • Dried fruits

Taking care of yourself in the winter months

The winter months can be a difficult time. Many of us feel like something is just a bit off during these darker months, and this is often due to imbalances in vitamin levels in our bodies. If you feel like something is wrong with your health, try changing your diet to include higher levels of these foods, or look into getting supplements. 

Though these are small changes, they can make big differences, and so are a good way to change your health going into the new year. However, if you experience any serious health issues, make sure to see a doctor, as vitamins can only work to a certain extent. 

Even if you aren’t feeling too bad, incorporating vitamin-conscious meal planning into your life can help to avoid health issues later down the line. 

Whether it’s the lack of sun causing a deficiency in vitamin D or a lack of seasonal fruits depleting your vitamin C level, the effects of losing these nutrients will be felt over winter. 

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