When it’s cold outside, I don’t want to go outside to exercise. I tend to want to eat more than usual. Since I am focused on living a healthy lifestyle, I wanted some tips on how to stay healthy in the winter. I wanted to share some tips that were given to me to do just that.
1. *Get enough Vitamin C*: Wintertime means cold and flu season so it is even more important than ever to keep your immune system functioning at its best. Vitamin C helps to boost the immune system as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by raising HDL (good) cholesterol, as well as lower blood pressure. People with diets high in Vitamin C have lower rates of colon and prostate cancer.
a. Eat citrus! Oranges and clementines are in season so why not reach
for one instead of the bowl of chips while watching the game? Jam packed
with nutrients and fiber, they are also packed with Vitamin C. They are so
easy to eat, just peel and go!
2. *Get enough Vitamin D*: Now that we are not outside as much and
daylight hours are dwindling, it is especially important to get enough
Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for your immune system, avoiding
depression and bone health! The top 3 food sources are cod Liver oil
(which is dangerous to take), herring and oysters, so your best bet would
be to take a Vitamin D supplement or find a multivitamin that includes 1000
IU of Vitamin D such as AlternaVites or Nature Made Multi Complete.
3. *Exercise*: It can boost the immune system, maintain or achieve a
healthy body weight, improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure as
well as control diabetes. Being overweight can put you at risk for many
diseases because excess fat can cause inflammation and damage to your
tissues. Now that we are forced to stay indoors and not walk around as
much it is important to get to the gym or find other activities to stay
4. *Get your carotenoids*:
a. Beta-carotene, the most well known carotenoid is a major
anti-oxidant that helps to slow the aging process. Additionally, it is
rich in infection-fighting cells which help to prevent you from getting
sick. A bonus, it also helps to reduce cardiovascular disease, especially
strokes and heart attacks as well as protect against cancer cells. There
is no reason not to eat enough food rich in beta-carotene in the winter
months as they are readily available, so stock up on carrots, sweet
potatoes, kale, spinach, romaine lettuce and broccoli.
5. *Vitamin E*: Another important antioxidant that helps to boost your
immune system and prevent against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Many
popular food sources are rich in Vitamin E such as nuts, seeds, vegetable
oils and whole grains, which are available all year round, but recommended
intakes are 100 – 400 mg per day and some people may need a multivitamin in
addition to what they eat. Multivitamins can help make sure they are
getting enough Vitamin E to reap its immune-building properties.
Remember to always wash your hands, get enough sleep and drink a lot of
water! Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables and take advantage of what
is in season during the winter such as: avocado, broccoli, carrots,
cauliflower, clementines, kale, oranges, pears, sweet potatoes, tangerines
and winter squash. All full of vitamins to keep you healthy all winter
long! -Ilyse Schapiro MS, RD, CDN www.ilyseschapironutrition.com
To stay healthy:
– Reduce excessive carbohydrate consumption — with decreased
activity/exercise in the winter, the body doesn’t need extra fuel from
carbs. All they will do is spike insulin and increase fat storage.
– Reduce systemic inflammation through adequate nutrition, sufficient rest,
and stress reduction. In turn, the body isn’t constantly warding off
inflammation, and can quickly and efficiently deal with cold/flu
antagonists and other viruses.
– Since sun exposure is significantly decreased, seasonal affective
disorder can set in easily. Supplement with Vitamin D to protect against
Do we eat more in the winter?
– From an ancestral perspective, humans may be wired to eat more as a
buffer against food shortage/starvation in what could be a colder than
– With less light and more indoor time, exercise suffers as does motivation
to be healthy. Couple this with holiday festivities and you see hundreds of
extra calories consumed in comparison to other months.