Winter might be filled with fun holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it also brings along colder weather, cold and flu season, and seasonal affective disorder. Luckily, changing what you eat can help combat some of the negative impacts the wintertime has on your body.
Which diet changes should you make in winter? Nutritionists recommend loading up on these eight foods:
1. Red bell peppers
Vitamin C reduces tiredness while boosting your immune system, which is essential during the colder months. That's why you should eat more red bell peppers. They contain more than three times the amount of vitamin C than oranges and are far more effective. Red bell peppers also have phytochemicals and carotenoids that are anti-inflammatory.
2. Smoked salmon
Winter can leave skin feeling and looking dry and patchy. But the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in smoked salmon can help. How? They play a crucial role in the structure and appearance of the skin. Essential fatty acids help maintain the skin's barrier function and prevent moisture loss that occurs during winter.
Mushrooms possess antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help fight cold and flu symptoms. They're also a great source of vitamin D, which increases your immune system. Additionally, mushrooms also provide protein, vitamin C, iron, potassium, selenium, niacin, and phosphorous, all of which you need to maintain optimal health.
Cheese is packed with vitamin D, which is necessary to combat the winter blues. It also plays a crucial role in disease prevention. Without enough vitamin D, your brain ends up feeling sleepy, lethargic, and unmotivated.
In the wintertime, the lungs become more susceptible to colds and respiratory infections. But omega-3s, found in walnuts, help increase airflow and protect the lungs. Try to eat a handful of walnuts every day.
Blueberries contain the most active antioxidants of any fresh fruit due to their high levels of anthocyanins. Antioxidants reverse damage caused by free radicals and help your body defend itself against dangerous pathogens.
Cinnamon is in everything during the wintertime. Luckily, it's filled with potent antioxidants. Cinnamon can boost your metabolism as well as aid in digestion, helping you to break down food more efficiently.
If you find that your mood tends to drop during winter, you should make sure that you're supporting your serotonin levels, which are "feel good" hormones. The body produces serotonin from tryptophan, which occurs naturally in foods such as bananas.