We are entering the month of November! That means fewer daylight hours, a visit from the flu bugs, and no more colorful berries. But that doesn’t mean we have to embrace the cold with poor nutrition. Today marks the kick-off of the annual Natural Health Products Week (NHP Week) hosted by the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA). With proper food and nutrition, you can still stay healthy and happy during the winter months!
Winter Nutrition Diet 101
- Take Vitamin DWith less daylight hours and more staying indoors, consider taking Vitamin D supplements. Numerous studies have shown that a daily intake of 1000 IU of Vitamin D can reduce some cancers by as much as 50 percent. Indeed, back in 2007, the Canadian Cancer Society recommended that all adults take 1000 IU of Vitamin D supplement every day during the fall and winter months. And if I haven’t convinced you yet, Vitamin D is also shown to boost your immune system. Studies found that participants taking daily Vitamin D supplements were 3 times less likely to report cold and flu symptoms!
- Love Your DHADHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, is mostly associated with heart and brain health. What you may not know however, is that omega-3 can also boost mood and improve depression. Fortunately, DHA is found in seafood. Unfortunately, we don’t eat enough of these foods to support our needs. When you purchase fish oil supplements, make sure to turn to the back of the label to check the DHA/EPA content. It’s recommended to take at least 500 mg of combined DHA/EPA per day, not just to prevent winter blues, but also for heart health.
- Have a Dose of Dark GreensThanks to kale, dark green vegetables are making a huge comeback! All dark green vegetables are a good source of Vitamin C and folate, a B vitamin. Folate deficiency indeed is associated with an increased risk of depression among older adults. So, be happy and enjoy your broccoli tonight!
- Let the Good Bugs Keep the Bad Bugs At BayA national survey commissioned by the CHFA found that 63 percent of the survey participants preferred eating yogurt and other fermented foods to combat winter blues and keep themselves healthy in the winter months. Apparently, these survey participants were pretty smart with their choices. A German study found that daily probiotics may shorten your cold by almost two days. Now that’s impressive!
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.