The holiday season is here! A time to celebrate with friends and family, indulge in treats, and relax! Don't let winter colds and flu ruin the fun!
A balanced diet combined with immune support vitamins and minerals can help you stay healthy all the way through winter.
Americans have been taking vitamins and supplements since 1940 when they were first available. More than a one-third of Americans take a multivitamin/mineral supplement on a daily basis.
So, what are the best vitamins and minerals for the cold season? Let's find out!
If you want to maintain healthy skin and vision, look no further than vitamin A.
This nutrient is critical to the structure of the outer layer of our skin. It's also important to the function of the linings of the nose, throat, stomach, and gut.
Like all antioxidants, vitamin A reduces inflammation in the body. It does so by fighting free radicals.
Free radicals are a group of atoms that are highly reactive. When they interact with DNA or cell membranes, they can do a lot of damage. Antioxidants, like vitamin A, are molecules that can scavenge free radicals and boost your health.
Vitamin A comes in two forms - active vitamin A and beta-carotene. Natural sources include carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach and romaine lettuce.
Millions of people have a vitamin B12 deficiency. This nutrient supports many metabolic functions, such as hormonal balance, DNA synthesis, and enzyme production. It's one of the immune support vitamins you need on a daily basis.
It is crucial to the immune system because it synthesizes proteins used in the formation of antibodies.
B12 has a whole host of other benefits to the body. It helps prevent memory loss, maintains energy levels, and boosts your mood. It's essential for healthy hair and nails. The vitamin also aids in digestion and helps produce red blood cells and prevent anemia.
Dietary sources for B12 include meat, poultry, liver, kidney, fish, eggs, and dairy products. This vitamin also occurs naturally in meat and dairy products. People on a plant-based diet should take a supplement.
Vitamin C has strong immune-boosting properties. Certain immune cells that destroy invading viruses and bacteria rely on it for fuel.
This vitamin also helps maintain the body's connective tissue and respiratory system. It also helps clear out airborne pollutants, such as cigarette smoke.
Our bodies don't make or store vitamin C. For this reason, it's important to eat fruits and vegetables high in this nutrient. Supplements can help too.
Vitamin C is naturally found in bright colored fruits and vegetables like oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers. Leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, are an excellent source too.
This nutrient is also available a standalone supplement or as part of immune support vitamin formulas.
While known to help bone health, vitamin D is also vital for immune function. Almost 60 percent of Americans are deficient in this nutrient. It's one of the most important immune support vitamins, so make sure you get enough of it!
More than 90 percent of people with darker skin pigments and 75 percent of the white population in the U.S. don't get enough vitamin D in their diet.
As Americans gain weight and the obesity epidemic increases, so does the incidence of vitamin D deficiency. This problem has been linked to a higher risk of developing cancer, hypertension, and autoimmune diseases.
The liver and fatty tissues store the body's vitamin D. When body fat increases, it can absorb the vitamin D and prevent it from being used in our bodies.
This vitamin is a bit different from other micronutrients because it's produced when you're exposed to the sun. That's why you should spend at least 10 minutes outdoors every day.
Vitamin D also comes in supplement form. If you're at risk for deficiencies, look for natural formulas containing this nutrient.
Selenium, a trace mineral, performs a variety of functions in the body. These include stimulating the activation of T-cells as part of an antioxidant activity that helps protect the body.
This mineral not only increases antioxidant levels but also improves blood flow. As a result, it raises the body's resistance to diseases and stress.
The human body doesn't produce selenium on its own. Thus, you must obtain it from foods or supplements.
Dietary sources include brazil nuts, eggs, sunflower seeds, liver, or fish. Selenium can also be found in high-quality immune support vitamins and supplements.
Zinc is a critical nutrient for maintaining a healthy immune system. This mineral keeps the immune system strong, preventing it from overreacting in response to infections.
Other studies have shown that people who took zinc within 24 hours of onset of cold-related symptoms have recovered faster. Fewer patients experienced symptoms within a week after the onset of cold compared to those who did not take zinc.
This trace element activates the T-cells that fight infection, supporting basic cellular functions. Moreover, it helps stabilize cell membranes and acts as an antioxidant.
Zinc is present in all bodily tissues. It is required for healthy cell division.
Besides slowing the aging process, it has a big impact on hormonal balance. Even a small zinc deficiency can result in a higher risk of infertility or diabetes.
This mineral is naturally found in lamb, beef, chickpeas, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. If you eat a diet rich in red meat, seafood, nuts, and seeds, don't exceed 100 milligrams of supplemented zinc per day.
Take these immune-boosting vitamins and minerals to make it through the cold season. Tweak your diet and include more fruits and vegetables. Limit processed foods and choose fresh produce as much as possible.
Herbal teas and spices can help too. Add ginger, turmeric, and garlic to your diet for a stronger immune system.
Check out our immune support page for a list of products to help get you through this season!