6 Tips for a Healthy Winter Diet

It’s almost November, winter is officially here, and there’s no getting away from the weather. It’s easy to become a couch potato over the winter months, filling up on stodge and not moving from the sofa – but overeating and eating the wrong foods can lower your resistance to winter bugs and give you that horrible lethargic feeling that sometimes takes until spring to shift.

  1. It’s natural to crave carbohydrates in winter; there is less sunlight, which causes our natural serotonin levels to drop, and your body starts to ask for carbohydrate-loaded comfort foods which help to boost the production of this feel-good hormone.
  2. Try to avoid pigging out on sweet, stodgy snacks and go for complex carbohydrates – good, vitamin-loaded sources of carbs include pumpkins, squashes and sweet potatoes. Add them to casseroles and stews or eat them plain for a delicious, vitamin-enriched carbohydrate fix.
  3. The lack of sunlight and the cold also makes you want to stay indoors, which isn’t a great idea as this can mean your body doesn’t get as much vitamin D as it needs. Make up for the lack of natural sunlight with extra nutrition from fortified milk and other dairy products, eggs, and fatty fish like salmon.
  4. You might also need vitamin D supplements to keep your levels high over the winter – deficiency in people living in the northern hemisphere like the UK, Canada and northern Europe are quite common. Always ask medical advice if you’re giving supplements to children, though.
  5. Vitamin C supplements can shorten the duration of a cold, and make the symptoms less nasty, and regular probiotics have also been shown to help the body resist infection. Some brands of yogurt have probiotics added.
  6. Naturally occurring antioxidant foods, which can help boost the immune system, are another essential addition to the diet all year around, but especially important in winter. Add vitamin C and beta-carotene rich foods like cabbage, broccoli, oranges, sweet potato and spinach to your diet to give your immune system some zing, and for extra defence against the bugs, ramp up your zinc intake with fish, poultry, eggs, milk and unprocessed grains and cereals.

Image via One World News

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