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Vitamins And Supplements To Help You Stay Healthy This Winter

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On the JJ Barnes Blog, a nutritionist has shared the best vitamins and supplements to take this Winter to boost your immunity and stay healthy in the cold weather.

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Winter Health

Winter can be a challenging time for our health, as colder temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and the spread of viruses can all take a toll on our immune systems. My kids are constantly bringing home new school germs, and seasonal illnesses can have a significant impact on my day-to-day life, including my moods and routines.  

Reduced sunlight exposure in winter can lead to deficits in essential nutrients. Ensuring you have the right vitamins during winter is crucial to support your immune system, helping you ward off common colds and flus and provide optimal support for your health. So we know the best vitamins and supplements to take during the Winter months, Abi Roberts, Sports Nutritionist from Bulk.com, sent over her top tips for the best foods and supplements to consume during the winter months to support immunity and boost our mood. 

Vitamins And Supplements To Help You Stay Healthy This Winter

  1. 1. Vitamin D 
  2. 2. Vitamin C and Zinc 
  3. 3. Echinacea 
  4. 4. Citrus Fruits 
  5. 5. Turmeric 
  6. 6. Fermented Foods 

Vitamin D – to combat reduced natural sunlight 

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones, regulating the immune system, and promoting overall health. It helps the body absorb calcium, essential for bone health, and supports the immune system’s response to infections. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can be linked to increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, including colds and flu.

Sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D synthesis in the body. However, during winter months, when daylight hours are shorter and the sun’s rays are weaker, our bodies produce less vitamin D. This decrease in natural vitamin D can lead to a deficiency, particularly in individuals who spend limited time outdoors or have darker skin, which reduces their ability to absorb sunlight.

To combat the reduced production of vitamin D during winter and maintain adequate levels, vitamin D supplementation is often recommended. Supplements can be taken in capsule or tablet form and provide a convenient way to ensure you are getting the necessary amount of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is an absolute staple in the winter months, as our exposure to natural sunlight is limited from October through to March, which can result in low vitamin D levels.  

This nutrient is essential as it plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy immune system and bone strength. Supplementing with vitamin D can help mitigate the risk of deficiency and support overall well-being during the darker months.

-Abi Roberts

Vitamin C and zinc – to boost immunity 

Vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant, renowned for its ability to neutralize harmful free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to inflammation. By scavenging free radicals, vitamin C helps protect immune cells and enhance their ability to combat infections. Additionally, vitamin C is essential for collagen production, which is crucial for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucous membranes, the body’s first lines of defense against pathogens.

Zinc is another essential nutrient that plays a critical role in immune system regulation. It is involved in the development and activation of immune cells, such as T cells and natural killer cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections. Zinc also helps regulate the production of cytokines, signaling molecules that orchestrate the immune response. Additionally, zinc is essential for maintaining the integrity of the intestinal barrier, which acts as a physical barrier against pathogens entering the body.

The combination of vitamin C and zinc creates a synergistic effect, further enhancing their immune-boosting properties. When taken together, these nutrients work in tandem to provide comprehensive immune support. Vitamin C’s antioxidant actions protect immune cells from damage, while zinc supports their development and function. This synergistic effect makes vitamin C and zinc a powerful duo for maintaining a healthy immune system during the winter months and beyond.

Both vitamin C and zinc are vital for a robust immune system.  

Consuming these supplements during winter can help support your body’s defences against common winter ailments. Vitamin C is also important to maintain healthy skin, bones, and encourages wound healing.

-Abi Roberts

Echinacea – protects against winter illnesses 

Echinacea is a flowering plant that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. It is most commonly used to treat colds and the flu, but it has also been used to treat upper respiratory infections, sore throat, and wound healing.

Studies have shown that echinacea can be effective in reducing the duration and severity of colds. One study found that people who took echinacea at the first sign of a cold were sick for an average of 5.5 days, compared to 7.3 days for those who did not take echinacea.

Echinacea is thought to work by boosting the immune system. It contains compounds that stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are the body’s defense against infection. Echinacea may also help to reduce inflammation, which can help to speed up healing.

Echinacea is a popular herbal supplement known for its potential to boost immune system function. During winter, when colds and flu are more common, incorporating echinacea into your supplement regime can provide some added protection, helping to reduce the severity and duration of illness. 

As under half of the UK admits to having supplements regularly, it is equally important that we eat the right foods to boost our immunity this winter.  

-Abi Roberts

Citrus fruits – a good source of vitamin C 

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that can contribute to aging, inflammation, and chronic diseases. By neutralizing free radicals, vitamin C safeguards cellular components and promotes overall cellular health.

Vitamin C plays a vital role in strengthening the immune system’s response to infections. It enhances the production and function of white blood cells, the body’s primary defense against pathogens. Additionally, vitamin C increases the production of interferon, a signaling molecule that helps the body combat viral infections.

Citrus fruits are an excellent dietary source of vitamin C. A single medium orange provides over 70% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C for adults. Other citrus fruits, such as grapefruits, lemons, and limes, also offer significant amounts of vitamin C.

Fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges can provide a significant boost of vitamin C and make for a refreshing and uplifting taste during blue winter months.

-Abi Roberts

Turmeric – has anti-inflammatory properties  

Turmeric, a vibrant yellow spice derived from the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant, has been revered for its medicinal properties for centuries. Its primary bioactive compound, curcumin, possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties, making it a valuable natural remedy for a wide range of health conditions.

Inflammation is a natural defense mechanism that helps the body fight off infections and heal injuries. However, chronic inflammation, characterized by persistent low-grade inflammation, is linked to various health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Curcumin, the active component in turmeric, exerts its anti-inflammatory effects by modulating various molecular pathways involved in inflammation. It inhibits the production of inflammatory mediators, such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes, and regulates the activity of inflammatory cells.

Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Adding turmeric to your winter dishes, or taking it in capsule form, can help alleviate inflammation, soothe winter-related aches and pains, and support overall well-being during the winter months. 

-Abi Roberts
Immunity Booster at Leaf of life wellness

Fermented foods – promotes a healthy gut  

Fermented foods, a culinary tradition dating back centuries, are making a comeback in the modern world, and for good reason. These foods, teeming with beneficial bacteria known as probiotics, offer a wealth of health benefits, particularly for gut health.

Our gut microbiome is a diverse community of trillions of microorganisms that reside in our intestines. These microorganisms play a crucial role in maintaining our health, influencing digestion, immune function, and even mood. A healthy gut microbiome is characterized by a balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria.

Probiotics, the live microorganisms found in fermented foods, can significantly impact our gut health. When consumed, probiotics colonize the gut, increasing the diversity of beneficial bacteria and restoring balance to the gut microbiome.

Incorporating fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, and sauerkraut into your winter diet can be particularly beneficial. These foods are rich in probiotics, which promote a healthy gut microbiome.  

A well-balanced gut can help strengthen the immune system, improving your body’s ability to fend off winter illnesses and maintain overall well-being.

-Abi Roberts
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