The dark, short, and cold days of winter are upon us, and the threat of pesky colds and flus has spiked with the seasons arrival. But don't resign yourself to those winter doldrums just yet! Instead, focus on avoiding them altogether.
Here's a few vital vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay happy and healthy this season. While a well balance and nutritious diet will cover all your bases its often helpful to supplement your diet to give your immune system an extra boost.
Iron deficiency, or anaemia, often results in a weakened immune system, which leads to increased frequency of infection. Iron deficiency is also known to cause fatigue (due to lack of red blood cells), dizziness, and headaches. The lethargy reported among anaemic individuals tends to result in decreased physical activity, further compounding their risk of illness.
Where to get it: Beef, lentils, spinach, white beans, and even dark chocolate.
Vitamin D is critical to keeping your immune system in tip-top shape through flu and cold season. Insufficient vitamin D levels will decrease the overall efficiency of your immune cells.
How to get it: Humans naturally absorb vitamin D through sunlight, so its important we find alternate means of absorption during the winter months. Vitamin D-containing foods include fatty fish and egg yolks. Additionally, many foods like cereals, milk, and yogurts are fortified with the vitamin D.
The human body requires zinc in trace amounts in order to sustain proper immune function. The substance is vital to cell growth and carbohydrate breakdown, among other processes. If you start to take zinc supplements within 24 hours after cold symptoms begin, you will likely reduce the length, duration, and intensity of the illness.
How to get it: Zinc is generally found in high-protein foods, such as beef, pork, and lamb, as well as nuts, whole grains, and legumes.