17 February 2022

5 Important Vitamins to Get More of in Winter

There’s no denying history, and people have long known you’re more likely to get sick during the wintertime. Multiple factors influence why, from cold air drying nasal passages – making them ripe for infection – to shortages of vital nutrients. 

However, you also have a greater ability to choose nourishing foods than in any other time of human history. You can also supplement the nutrients your diet lacks. Consider the following five important vitamins that you should get more of in winter. 

1. B-Vitamins 

B-vitamins come from dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale. However, many Americans get the largest intake from animal products like fish, poultry, and meat. Therefore, you might want to consider supplementing if you’re a vegetarian or vegan – or seriously double-down on your salad intake. Fortunately, beans and peas also possess this nutrient, along with plant-based protein. 

 Did you go a bit overboard with the holiday celebrations this year, or have you begun imbibing more to cope with COVID-19 stress? If so, you might need to supplement with folic acid, vitamin B-6, and thiamine. People who struggle with substance abuse often develop deficiencies, particularly of thiamine, leading to neurological problems like Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome. 

2. Magnesium 

If you have a diagnosis of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or recognize the symptoms in yourself, please add more of this mineral to your diet during the winter. Multiple studies have confirmed its efficacy in improving symptoms of depressive disorders, especially in those with a deficiency. One study showed that it worked as well as a tricyclic antidepressant without any adverse side effects. 

You can supplement with this mineral, but take it slow if you do. Milk of magnesia serves as a constipation remedy for a reason – too much can make you poop. 

However, you can also increase your intake through food. Doing so might help you absorb the nutrient better, along with phytochemicals that help its absorption in ways still unknown to science. You’ll find magnesium in nuts and seeds. Almonds, cashews, and pepitas are particularly rich sources. Sprinkle a handful on salads or keep a tin in your desk drawer for a midday snack. 

3. Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is one of the big two nutrients for wintertime immunity boosting. However, it won’t work if you pop a supplement only after symptoms develop. You need sufficient quantities of this stuff in your bloodstream when you get sick if you hope to slash your cold’s duration by up to a day. It’s water-soluble, meaning your body doesn’t store it – you need to consume it every day. 

You’ll find no shortage of supplements, but this nutrient is a cinch to get through dietary means, too. Citrus fruits get all the love, but you might do better by adding red bell pepper strips to your lunchtime wraps and salads. A single fruit has three times the vitamin C of an orange. 

Of course, you can also find plenty of over-the-counter (OTC) lozenges containing this nutrient. While taking too much can result in diarrhea and nausea, this vitamin won’t readily reach the toxic stage as you eliminate excess as waste. 

4. Zinc 

Zinc is another mineral that can work wonders if you feel blue during the winter. It also helps shorten the duration of a cold. A recent analysis of several studies shows that zinc tablets make a difference when taken within 24 hours of symptom appearance. Researchers believe it may work by preventing the rhinovirus from replicating or lodging in mucous membranes. Fortunately, you can find this mineral the same place you find magnesium – in nuts and seeds. Fatty pine nuts are particularly rich in this mineral, and they’re way tastier than croutons in salads. Meat, dairy, eggs, and plant-protein-packed legumes complete the dietary mix. 

5. Vitamin D 

You might have heard Dr. Fauci extolling the virtues of this nutrient during COVID-19. However, you don’t need a supplement to get your recommended daily allowance in many cases. You only need to step outside and let the sun kiss your skin for a while. 

Although you might be tired of hearing about it, the pandemic hasn’t disappeared just yet. Omicron continues to claim lives, and a new variant recently emerged. A recent study by the University of Chicago associated vitamin D deficiency with higher infection rates, although they state more research is necessary to fully explain the link between the conditions. 

Important Vitamins to Get More of in Winter 

History and science both state that you’re more likely to get sick during the cold season. However, you can decrease your odds of serious illness with the right nutrition. 

What should you take? Consider this handy guide to vitamins you should get more of this winter and make your shopping list today.

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