How to

22 February 2017

Supplements for the Cold Weather

For many it’s too difficult to maintain a varied diet that includes all the necessary nutrients in balance. That’s where supplements come into play. They’re an efficient way to fill in holes in nutrition, and in the winter certain supplements truly shine.

Vitamin D

Img: Precision Nutrition
With the obvious lack of sun in the wintertime, most people are wise to taking additional vitamin D supplements. The appropriate level of vitamin D can guard against the lethargy that makes getting out of bed difficult, decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (a higher risk in cold months) and may even prevent the development of cancer in the long-term. A sufficient amount of vitamin D is essential to bone health and well-functioning nervous and immune systems. It is possible to get vitamin D through diet if you consume a good amount of fish, fish liver oils or egg yolks. In fact, altering your diet to include certain foods can help you feel healthier through winter.

Vitamin C

Img: Tribune India
It’s good practice to provide the body with essential vitamin C over winter. A sufficient level of vitamin C is vital the function of your immune system because it help form antibodies to neutralise toxic substances, viruses and bacteria. The vitamin has been used for decades to assuage colds. It wasn’t until recently that the theory was definitely proven to reduce the chance of contracting the common cold by 45% and decrease the duration of colds by 59%.

Cold Extremities

It is quite possible to generate significant heat simply by rubbing your hands together. The surface of the skin is patterned with countless grooves and channels, perfect for maximising friction. When you rub your hands together quickly, you are increasing blood flow to your hands and expending effort which will, in turn, release some endorphins once you’ve finished. Movement in the cold will help to alleviate the cold feeling.

To better prepare the body for cold, why not take a supplement that will increase circulation? Essential fatty acid will do so: omega-3, ginkgo, biloba and vitamin E.
  • Omega-3 is an essential fatty found in oily fish, and it is proven to aid blood flow. Including it in your daily intake will help ensure a proper circulation in the cold. If you suffer from joint pain, Omega-3 can also help in this area, increasing joint mobility and reducing inflammation. Many people take fish oil supplements to meet their daily recommended amount though it can be found in omega-3 enriched eggs, oily fish (fresh tuna, sardines, mackerel, herrings, trout), walnuts, soya, tofu and green leafy veg.
  • Ginkgo Biloba is a natural supplement used to encourage circulation. It comes in several different forms (tablet, capsule, liquid extract, dried leaf) and has a load of benefits.
  • Vitamin E will break down blood clots in the circulatory system over time. Once the system is clear of clots, the supplement helps prevent the formation of more clots and can even help strengthen and regulate the heartbeat. Include almonds, spinach, sweet potato and avocado in your diet to get the benefits of vitamin E.

Jacqui Litvan

Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).