Winter brings with it extremely chilly weather and an increased likelihood of getting ill. But food is pretty powerful, and by tweaking our diets we can actually help to counter many of the negative impacts winter has on our body.
Compiled from Cosmopolitan, here is a list of six foods you should include in your diet during this time of the year.
1. Red peppers
Vitamin C is known to reduce tiredness while strengthening your immune system, which is vital during the colder months. “Citrus fruits are commonly hailed as the food that most effectively boost vitamin C and fight colds. Scrumptious Bell peppers actually contain over three times the vitamin C of an orange and are far more effective,” explains nutritional expert and founder of Nosh Detox, Geeta Sidhu-Robb.
2. Smoked Salmon
One of the main downsides of cold weather is the damage it does to our skin, but eating smoked salmon can help with that. “As well as being necessary for our heart, brain and eye health, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids found in smoked salmon play an essential role in the structure and appearance of the skin,” explains nutritionist and author of The Natural Health Bible for Women, Dr Marilyn Glenville.
Mushrooms are a great addition to any winter diet, according to Sidhu-Robb, because of the antiviral and antibacterial properties they possess, which fight infection. “Button mushrooms in particular are a great source of vitamin D, which helps to boost your immunity,” the nutritional expert notes.
4. Oily fish
One of the most vulnerable parts of the body in winter is our lungs, which are susceptible to colds and respiratory infections. But Omega-3, which “helps increase airflow and protect the lungs,” explains Glenville, can help you with that. “Try to eat Omega 3 rich foods like oily fish (sardines, anchovies, herring, salmon, mackerel) three times a week.”
If you tend to get really hungry in cold weather, make sure you’ve got cinnamon in great supply. “Cinnamon is one of nature’s most revitalising herbs. Filled with potent antioxidants – more than almost all other spices and herbs – it can help to boost your metabolism as well as aid digestion, gently warming your stomach, and supporting the breakdown of your food more efficiently,” says Glenville.
“During the long, dark, cold winter months, we may find that our moods drop a little. If you find this happening it is important to make sure you are supporting your serotonin (the ‘feel good’ hormone) levels,” advises Dr Glenville. “The body makes serotonin from tryptophan, which occurs naturally in foods such as bananas.”
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