By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
To stay healthy, both physically and mentally, you need vitamins—and not just any vitamins. Some of the best supplements to take in the winter are vitamin D and C, probiotics, B-complex and zinc.
Because of shutdowns in response to COVID-19, people are spending more time at home. It is still important to get outside when you can do so safely. For example, if you have a garden, make sure to spend time outside enjoying the sun rays. When you spend more time indoors, you need to catch up on the vitamins and supplements to give your body what it requires to function properly.
Some of the essential nutrients your body needs are vitamins and minerals. To perform one of the hundreds of functions they are in charge of in our body, there needs to be enough of them, but not too much. A healthy amount of supplements is unique and is different for everyone, but the critical thing to know is that you can take too much.
That’s why you need to be careful when, how, and what you are taking as supplements. Eating a healthy diet is the absolute best way to keep the level of vitamins in your body regular, but if you can’t get to the healthy and organic food, that’s where supplements come in.
Staying on top of all of the supplements you should be taking during the winter months can be quite confusing. But if you’d like to know more of each of the necessary vitamins you should be taking, you’re in the right place.
There is a reason why this vitamin is also called the sunshine vitamin—the best way to get it is by exposing yourself to the sun. There are ways to get it from food, as well. Including fatty fish, like salmon or tuna, once or twice a week on your menu should be enough to get the amount of vitamin D your body needs.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it travels through your blood via lymph channels. To do it properly, it best performs with the help of a protein.
It is essential for your bones, and many people with vitamin D deficiency have a higher risk of developing diseases like osteoporosis or bone fractures. Aside from that, your nervous system needs it to send messages from your brain to other body parts to boost your immune system.
Your gut health is essential for reducing your stress hormones. There is a strong bond between bowel inflammation and stress. There are so many benefits of probiotics, it should be a no brainer to start taking them daily. Taking supplements or enriching your diet with foods rich in probiotics, like yogurt, is a great way to maintain your gut health and your body’s general function.
Your gut is not the only thing that will benefit from probiotics. Your mental health will, too. Studies show an improvement in people’s emotional states after getting enough probiotics.
Ascorbic acid is another name for vitamin C, and it is crucial for the proper functioning of your body. Your body cannot produce it on its own, and that’s why you must eat a lot of vitamin C rich foods or take supplements.
Vitamin C is best for fighting off viruses and bacteria, and it helps regulate your blood pressure.
Lack of zinc in your body exposes you to diseases that you won’t easily fight off. It is essential for your immune system and studies show that people who get enough zinc in their system are more likely to stay healthy during the virus season.
Zinc can also help reduce diarrhea, which can cause dehydration, according to the WHO. Zinc is also very important in children. Luckily, you only need a small amount, and you can quickly get enough by eating red meat or poultry.
B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that are packed into the watery foods you eat. It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream, making it easy to circulate in your body.
The vitamin B group (biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, B6, and B12) is essential for your health and general well-being. This complex will reduce the risk of infections, increase your energy levels, and promote your brain’s function.
Sleeping enough should be a primary goal if you want to be healthy and feel energized every day. During the deep sleep phase (the part where you have dreams), the body repairs itself and boosts your immune system.
Melatonin regulates your sleep cycles, and people who generally don’t sleep well or have trouble falling asleep almost always have melatonin deficiency. Taking supplements will make sure you get a good night’s sleep every night. Having a handful of nuts per day should help keep your melatonin levels high enough.
Even though you don’t notice these processes happening, your body is working very hard every second of every day to keep your metabolism healthy and your body functioning. It is a powerful machine of muscles, bones, and skin.
Your blood pumps so that all of the essential nutrients and oxygen end up where they need to be. Your brain sends signals to perform everyday activities to live your life without thinking about things like blinking or scratching your itchy hand. Your brain performs all of that without you even noticing it.
To be able to do this, your body needs essential components that will keep all of your systems in good shape. These are vitamins and minerals that your body cannot produce on its own.
These substances help your body perform hundreds of activities like healing wounds and taking care of your immune system so that you can easily fight off viruses. They make sure the food you’re eating gets converted to the energy you’re spending to perform necessary daily activities.
So with the winter weather and the need to stay indoors more, be sure that you are taking the right supplements to support your wellness.