It’s one of the busiest times of the year, running around getting ready for the holiday season and scheduling in all your holiday parties. You’re on a roll getting it all done and bam! The next thing you know you’re hit with the cold your co-worker had just last week (thanks a lot!). Cooler weather and stress can put a damper on your energy levels and test the strength of your immune system.
This year show old man winter who’s boss by incorporating my top food and supplement suggestions below for your healthiest, happiest winter season yet!
Get some deep sleep
The nights are getting longer and colder and our immune system takes a beating from the seasonal change, so good quality shut eye (7-8 hours) is needed to help us fight off any lurking colds and flus and keep our immune system strong. Sometimes stress during the winter time has us feeling a little anxious, disturbing our sleep and keeping us awake at night. To help me ensure a good quality sleep I use a time-tested blend of powerful herbs like valerian, passion flower, chamomile, lemon balm, and hops to calm and relax the central nervous system.
Supplement with Vitamin D and Magnesium to boost mood
Vitamin D’s best-known role is helping the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from foods in order to build and maintain our bones. However, during the winter time as sunlight grows scarce, North Americans become affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), suffering from the blues, fatigue, and in some cases, more serious depression. This is because we lack exposure of sunshine that produces the Vitamin D in our bodies, which in turn improves our mental health and mood.
Dosage: 2,000 – 4,000 IU/d but some may need up to 10,000 IU. It’s best to consult with your doctor for a blood test to determine your Vitamin D levels. The desired range is 35-60 ng/mL. I take my vitamin D3 supplement with fats like avocado, coconut oil, or olive oil for effective absorption.
Another important nutrient to help ward off the blues is magnesium. Considered the “anti-stress” mineral, magnesium is involved in more than 300 essential metabolic reactions in your body! I normally take magnesium in the evening as it helps relax my muscles after an intense workout and winds me down for bed. Start slow to avoid loose bowel movements.
Top food sources high in magnesium are: halibut, mackerel, cooked spinach, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
The current U.S. recommended daily allowance of magnesium for adults aged 31+ is:
420 mg per day for men
320 mg per day for women
360 mg per day for pregnant women
Optimize your gut health
Consume fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, and kombucha in order to provide your gut with friendly bacteria. Your gut actually produces more mood-regulating serotonin than your brain does, so eating the right foods to support your gut will not only improve your mood, but will keep your immune system in top shape! In addition to eating these foods, I take a good quality probiotic everyday to further support the health of my gut and arm myself from getting sick.
Increase high-quality omega-3 fats
Your brain is made up of about 60% fat! DHA specifically, so make sure to consistently fuel it with essential omega-3 fats for your brain to work properly. In the dry winter seasons, always consume good fats to keep your hair and nails healthy, and your skin supple. Good sources of fats that contain omega-3 would be flax, salmon, and walnuts. I always take a high quality fish oil to help with my dry skin and hair in the cold months.
Energize and focus with B12
Not just during the winter time, many North Americans experience low energy, frequent episodes of forgetfulness, as well as bouts of anxiety and depression all year round. These are signs that may be associated with low levels of B12.
It’s important to note that in North America “normal” levels are between 200 pg/mL and 350 pg/mL, whereas in Europe and Japan 500-550 pg/mL is considered the lower limit. You can find out where your levels are at through any laboratory testing. I supplement with a B12 liquid formulated with methylcobalamin as it is better absorbed in the body.
It’s important to include these foods into your diet, as they are the most concentrated in B12:
1. Shellfish (clams, mussels, crab)
2. Organ meats (like beef liver)
3. Wild-caught fish (such as salmon, trout, mackerel)
4. Grass-fed beef
5. Pastured eggs
Cover your bases
You don’t eat nutrients – you eat food, so make sure to get the majority of your nutrients from a variety of high-quality unprocessed foods. However, accessing and eating fresh foods regularly may be a challenge for some people, and conventional farming methods that rely heavily on chemical fertilizers and pesticides deplete the soil of nutrients that must be absorbed by plants in order to be passed on to us. This is where a premium multi-vitamin can be useful to ensure you aren’t falling short on any nutrients in your whole food diet. It’s important to note that not all multi-vitamins are created equal. I take a high-quality multivitamin that is hypoallergenic and contains a comprehensive profile of highly bioavailable vitamins, fully-chelated minerals, and antioxidants without any hidden fillers, coatings, and artificial colors.
Pure Encapsulations offers a complete line of research-based supplements made with the highest quality ingredients, validated by third-party testing, and manufactured within strict hypoallergenic guidelines. They are free from hidden fillers, binders, magnesium stearate, and artificial ingredients.
This post was sponsored by Pure Encapsulations
These products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.