The winter season is here and so are the complementary wellness issues. What if we told you that you do not have to go an extra mile to take care of yourself this winter? You read that right. You should only focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and proper nutrition.
Here we share a list of nutrients that you can add to your meals for optimal health during the cold season:
1. Collagen for Skin Health
Collagen is a type of protein that is highly beneficial for your skin. It provides your skin with the required structure, strength, and support. You can include collagen as part of your daily diet. It can be consumed in the form of berries, tomatoes, chicken, egg whites, fish, and other foods. You can also consume collagen powder to meet your requirements.
It constitutes the middle layer in your skin, also known as dermis, and helps with the growth of new cells. It also replaces dead skin cells, and helps maintain skin elasticity. Additionally, the protein also helps keep the skin hydrated and prevent dryness due to the cold weather.
Certain skin care products advertise collagen as the main ingredient. However, topical application of collagen may not help you avail the entire plethora of benefits that the nutrient offers. This is because collagen particles are comparatively larger in size, making it hard for your skin to absorb.
2. Omega 3 for Healthy Joints
Omega 3 are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids, or in simple words, a type of healthy fats. These provide a number of health benefits, maintenance of joint health among them. Consuming enough amounts of these healthy fats helps you prevent morning stiffness. The nutrient boosts the amount of calcium present in the bones, and also reduces joint pain.
You can get enough of the nutrient via food sources like plant oils, nuts and seeds as well as fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and so on. There is also an entire range of fortified foods that you can choose from. These include particular brands of eggs, milk, yoghurt, juices, and so on.
3. Vitamin C to Boost Immunity
Vitamin C is an important micronutrient that supports various bodily functions, immunity being one of them. The rich antioxidant content present helps fight free radicals and maintain the oxidative balance in the body. The nutrient also enhances the white blood cell production in the body, that further helps enhance the production of antibodies, keeping your body safe from infections.
Mostly, citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and others are known for being rich in vitamin C. Additionally, you can also focus on including mustard spinach, kale, guavas, and other vitamin C rich foods to get the immunity boosting benefits of the nutrient.
4. Vitamin D and Calcium for Bone Health
Calcium is a nutrient that is important for bone health. It is responsible for the development, growth and maintenance of healthy bones in the body, and also helps maintain bone density. The nutrient also helps prevent conditions like osteoporosis that may result in weak or brittle bones.
Vitamin D is an essential micronutrient that aids the absorption of calcium as well as phosphorus in the body. The nutrient is usually produced naturally by your skin when it is exposed to sunlight. However, with shorter days, this may be difficult during winters. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency becomes common during winters.
For vitamin D, you can rely on organ meat, egg yolks, and certain types of mushrooms among other sources. Foods like dairy products, leafy green, and so on are great sources of calcium. Multiple fortified food sources may also be available for both vitamin D as well as calcium.
5. Iron for Maintaining Body Temperature
Iron is a mineral or micronutrient that is responsible for the production of haemoglobin in the body. The nutrient can help you get rid of cold symptoms like fatigue, brittle nails, cold hands and feet, headaches, and so on. This is because haemoglobin carries oxygen to your tissues, which enables them to generate as well as conserve heat.
Iron deficiency is common in infants, frequent blood donors, women having heavy menstrual flow, pregnant women, and people with certain illnesses or conditions. You can include foods like lentils, beans, green leafy vegetables, red meat, and so on to your diet. These will help you get the desired amounts of the nutrient.
6. Vitamin B12 to Boost Energy Levels
Vitamin B12, and in fact all B vitamins, are considered to play an important role in the production energy in your body. Therefore, getting enough amounts of vitamin B12 on a daily basis will help you boost energy levels. However, studies suggest that the vitamin consumption will only be fruitful if you are already not consuming enough amounts of the same.
You may rely on foods like organ meat (liver and kidney),beef, clams, sardines, and fortified foods for vitamin B12. For the entire vitamin B complex, you can consume peas, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kidney beans and chickpeas, brussel sprouts, and fortified foods. Not just vitamin B, you can also focus on adding protein to your diet in the form of protein-rich foods or whey protein powder for optimal energy levels.
So, these were some nutrients important for optimal health during winters. We have only tried to cover the common problems faced during the winter season. This does not mean that you should not focus on getting other nutrients. You should focus on consuming a well-balanced meal to improve and maintain your overall health.
Each nutrient listed above may have multiple other health benefits in addition to the ones listed. You can also consult your doctor or physician for a customised diet plan based on your requirements. A professional will be able to help you better with the amounts of each nutrient you should consume, and when and how to consume the same.
Do not forget to share your views and experiences with the consumption of these nutrients in the comments below!