Brrr, hands up who’s cold?! I certainly am, and although we’ve seen Storm Ciara come and go and the daffodils are making an early appearance, we’re not out of the winter woods yet. In fact, it’s this time of year when the temperatures can really take a tumble with snow storms hitting the country with the full force of nature (remember, the 2018 Beast from the East was late February to early March…).
So along with all this cold weather, also come various winter bugs, determined to make the last weeks of winter a miserable one. But not one to dwell on the negative any longer than necessary, I’m here with good news – we can all supplement our diet to help us stave off the coughs, colds, sore throats and vomiting bugs that are so synonymous with winter.
Vitamin C is the ultimate immune supporting vitamin that keeps our immune system in tip top working order. The stronger our immune system, the more likely we are to be able to fight off the bacteria and viruses that cause colds and flus.
Zinc is a mineral that works alongside vitamin C to help support a strong immune system. It helps by activating the enzymes that are responsible for attacking the proteins in the bacteria and viruses that cause winter bugs.
If you’re already taking vitamin C, you could help to boost it’s work by adding in a zinc supplement too.
I swear by echinacea during the winter. A flowering herb, echinacea is available as teas, tinctures, drops and pastilles. I take a daily dose of echinacea drops to help keep sore throats and coughs at bay.
Conclusive evidence is still to be found on exactly how echinacea supports the immune system, but even as a scientist, sometimes I don’t need to know the how and the why, I just need the personal proof – and I haven’t had a sniffle all season!
Echinacea can be taken by the whole family, including the kids.
Whilst some foods such as dairy products, egg yolks and some oily fish contain small amounts of vitamin D, we make the majority of our vitamin D when sunlight hits our skin. So during the winter months, when sunlight hours are short and we cover up most of our skin, we don’t tend to get much vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps to keep the teeth and bones healthy, but a deficiency is also linked with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. SAD causes us to feel blue during the dark winter months of short days and long nights.
Taking a vitamin D supplement will help to keep our winter reserves of this essential vitamin well topped up.
So hold onto your hats (and scarves and gloves) and brace yourself for the rest of this winter, safe in the knowledge you and your family are doing all you can to welcome the Spring with open arms and sniffle free noses.
Hannah & The Healthy Life Team