Extremely cold temperatures are deadly in many parts of the Northeast and Midwest as we experience the worst freeze in decades. According to the Chopra Center, your body is working overtime in the winter, which can wreak havoc on the immune system as we struggle with extreme weather, lack of sun and more cases of influenza.
These five nutrients can help you give back to your body what Mother Nature is flying in winter:
Vitamin D. Because most days are covered, we do not get enough sun to make this essential vitamin produced by the skin as a result of sun exposure. Supplementation is helpful for about 1 billion people worldwide who suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which decreases the risk of colon and breast cancers, protects against hypertension and heart disease and improves symptoms of the Depression. The recommended intake is 600 IU per day. You can also get vitamin D from foods such as liver, tuna, salmon and egg yolks.
Vitamin C. Colds, flus and sinuses are plentiful and troublesome at this time of year and extremely contagious because we spend more time indoors where germs spread easily. Vitamin C is known to help strengthen the immune system and is crucial for protein metabolism. It is also a powerful antioxidant that stimulates the production of connective tissue for the construction of collagen. Many foods contain vitamin C, including citrus fruits, red peppers, tomatoes, berries, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 90 milligrams for adult men and 75 milligrams for adult women.
The iron. Iron is essential for the synthesis of DNA and the transport of oxygen throughout the body. This is necessary for many cellular functions and is especially important during the winter months to keep your energy. Because many people do not exercise enough in cold weather, less oxygen is normally carried throughout the body. Although the iron requirements differ considerably from one individual to another, the recommended daily dose usually for people over 50 is 8 milligrams a day. Iron is found in animal proteins such as meat, poultry and fish, as well as in vegetarian sources such as lentils, beans, dates and leafy vegetables.
Zinc. Zinc is a potent immune system that is essential for dealing with winter conditions. Zinc supplementation is beneficial at any time but especially in winter to avoid feeling sick and tired. Foods rich in this mineral are oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts and dairy products. It is recommended that men aged 19 and over receive 11 milligrams a day and that women aged 19 and over receive 8 milligrams a day.
Vitamin B12. This vitamin is crucial to improve your mood and can help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mood disorder that is common in winter. Vitamin B12 is found in many sources of food of animal origin such as meat, fish, poultry and eggs. It is also added to some processed foods such as cereals and non-dairy milk. Because it is not usually available from plant sources, supplementation is highly recommended for vegans and vegetarians. The recommended daily dosage for adults is 2.4 micrograms.