It’s safe to say the winter season has officially begun. The colder months carry a sense of excitement in Jackson, however winter can drag many of us down. It sucks up our energy, causes inflammation and dry skin, leads to the sniffles and seasonal flu, and creates the blues.
Surprisingly, many of these winter ailments are caused by a nutrient deficiency. Increasing your consumption of the following essential vitamins can put you on track towards a healthy and happy winter season.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced in your body in response to sunlight. However, as the days get shorter, it seems we hardly see any sunshine. That’s why getting out in the sun is vital during colder, darker months.
Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital is regulating the absorption of calcium and supporting the immune system. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain illnesses.
In addition to sunlight, your body can absorb vitamin D through food. The best nutritional food sources of vitamin D include grass fed milk, egg yolks and mushrooms. Another great way to increase your vitamin D is through light therapy using a Happy Light. Your mood may improve with as little as 10 minutes of sun exposure!
Contrary to popular belief, vitamin C does not prevent colds and flu, but it can reduce the length and severity of symptoms. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants work to protect the body against diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Vitamin C is also vital for the production of collagen, which is used to build body tissue and bones.
If you eat a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables every day you will have a balanced intake of vitamin C. Citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, strawberries and cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as green vegetables and potatoes. Start off the morning with fresh-squeezed orange juice from the Whole Grocer, it is packed with vitamin C!
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
The short, dark days of winter can lead to a state of winter blues, or worse, seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Luckily, omega-3 fatty acids can help boost your mood, improve mental focus and help fight off winter sniffles. In addition, this vitamin can help lubricate joints and maintain the health of your cell membranes, contributing to wrinkle-free and hydrated skin!
Sources that contain the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds, walnuts and salmon. Try the salmon bowl at Streetfood at the Stagecoach for a meal filled with healthy omega-3s.
The B vitamins are an energetic group of vitamins that are responsible for converting carbohydrates into energy and metabolizing fats and proteins for fuel. Vitamin B12 in particular works to increase energy, mood and motivation! Pretty awesome effects for one small vitamin. Low levels of vitamin B12 in the body can lead to feelings of depression and reduce daily motivation. The best way to beat the winter blues and avoid holiday season anxieties is to make sure you are getting plenty of B12 on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, your body cannot produce B12 on its own. Food sources of vitamin B12 include lean beef, clams, oysters, crab, wild salmon, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt and milk. If you are avoiding dairy or animal products, it is best to supplement using a liquid form of methylcobalamin B12.
Incorporating these essential vitamins into your winter routine, will keep you happy, healthy and energetic throughout the holiday season and into the cold winter months in Jackson.