Your body has different needs depending on the weather. In winter, it needs a more energy to keep you warm, better blood circulation and a stronger immune system to fend off those nasty weather-change colds and flus. So what are some nutritious foods to add to your winter diet plan?
Boost Your Immune System
Now that winter is coming, modify your diet to load up on your essential nutrients to prep your immune system. Not that you shouldn’t keep your immune system in tip top condition during other seasons as well, but winters can be particularly harsh on it, especially if you live in extreme subzero areas, such as Toronto, Canada.
The main nutrient requirements for your immune system are: “your essential amino acids, the essential fatty acid linoleic acid, vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, copper, iron and selenium.”
Veggies that could help you load up on those are:
Spinach- full of vitamin C and antioxidants
Sweet potatoes- a whopping 65% of your daily vitamin C requirements, and
Vitamin A if you keep the skin on- beans
Beans- Contain the essential amino acid, lysine, and folic acid
Aubergine- Full of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B & K and antioxidants such as nasunin.
Brussel Sprouts- Full of Vitmain C & K and carotenoids.
Increase Your Calories
This sounds counterintuitive if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain your body weight. But your body also puts in more effort to keep up your body heat, so your calorie intake needs to be upped a little bit to help it do that without making you feel tired.
It shouldn’t add extra weight, since your body will be burning off more in resting conditions anyway. If you’re not a regularly active person, this will be particularly important for you, since you won’t be maintaining your body heat through adequate exercise.
This doesn’t mean you have to eat foods high in fats or carbs, but you definitely can, and it shouldn’t affect your weight. Remember fats and carbs are still good for you. You can also just eat more of what you usually eat and it’ll do the same thing.
Those Winter Blues
Certain foods can also help battle winter blues. It’s pretty common to feel down in gloomier weather, although many people like it too! Foods that have been associated with alleviating depressive moods should definitely be included in your diet.
Some nutritionists say that with regards to your mood, it’s not as important what you eat than how you eat it.
UW-Milkwaukee associate clinical professor, Susie Kundrat, says: “Balance your meals with a protein source, whole grains and plenty of produce to get a good mix of nutrients and ‘staying power’ that provides energy over several hours.”
“And don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day starting shortly after rising in the morning. All of these pillars are so very important.”
“Include a good protein source such as lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts, milk or soy products in meals and snacks to help manage blood sugar levels and satiety,” Kundrat says. “If we keep blood sugars balanced throughout the day and feel less hungry, we are less likely to feel stressed.”