Guide to vitamins and minerals
As the winter months get nearer, most of us will be lacking in many of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need.
Being depleted of these essential minerals and vitamins can leave us feeling run-down, sluggish, unwell, irritable and leave us all more susceptible to other ailments and forms of illness.
Why Your Body Needs Vitamins and Minerals?
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients our body needs to enable it to function properly. Most people should get all the nutrients they need by eating a healthy, balanced diet. However, after over-indulging on food, drink and staying out later than normal over the festive period, we are more susceptible to being rundown and ill.
Many common winter ailments such as colds, flu, dry flaky skin and the winter blues can be caused by vitamin or mineral deficiencies. Taking an appropriate vitamin and mineral supplement can help prevent some of these winter ailments as well as making you generally feel much better.Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and can help keep colds and flu at bay. We tend to eat less fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C during winter months, so you can top up your vitamin C by taking a supplement and reduce your risk of colds and flu.
The Importance of Vitamin D in Winter
Vitamin D can also help boost the immune system and protect us from colds and flu as well helping our bodies to absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth.
Since our main source of Vitamin D comes from the body absorbing sunlight through the skin (and then converting it into Vitamin D), it is only natural that we tend to be lacking in Vitamin D during the long winter months when we have shorter days and longer nights.
The lack of natural sunlight in the winter months means that our bodies absorb less vitamin D, so it is important to be aware of, especially if you have a tendency to feel run down or low in the winter. To top up your vitamin D, you can either take a supplement, or go out for a walk when possible.
If you feel generally sluggish during the winter months, you may have low iron levels. This is especially common for women who have heavy periods. Eating foods rich in iron, such as leafy green vegetables and red meat can help boost your energy levels.
If you have low iron levels, it is likely that your vitamin A levels will also be low. Taking a supplement containing vitamin A can also help boost your energy as well as keeping your bones healthy in case you have a slip or fall in the cold winter conditions.
Dry Flaky Skin
Many people tend to find they get dry and flaky skin and nails during the winter. This can be a result of taking more hot baths and showers during the winter as well as low humidity which results in the skin not retaining moisture.
However, you may find that taking a supplement containing vitamin E or folic acid can help increase the moisture in your skin and nails and prevent them becoming dry and flaky.
SAD and Winter Blues
If you suffer from the ‘winter blues’ or have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) you may be lacking B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, or omega-3 fatty acids. Taking a supplement containing these can help boost your mood, reduce feeling under the weather and improve your mental focus.
What Vitamins and Minerals Should I Include in My Diet?
Food production methods can have an impact, too. Modern growing methods, longer food miles, storage over long periods and overcooking can all lower the nutritional value of what we eat.
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