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The cold weather tests people’s immune systems typically from November to March. Instead of accepting it as an unavoidable fate, you can protect your body by eating these key nutrients that’ll help you prevent colds and infections during winter. With a few changes in your diet, you can improve your body’s overall health and preparation for the cold weather!
Winter colds can be very annoying, mostly because they make you feel under the weather for a long period of time. The sniffles, tiredness, and general unrest affect your routine and your mood as well. When the immune system has any weaknesses, germs find the perfect opportunity to enter your body and cause all these annoying symptoms.
Our bodies are constantly working hard to fight off viruses, bacterias, and other pathogens that are in the air, and that's why it’s so important to have a healthy diet that gives your organism the best tools to protect itself. Your diet should be well-rounded and balanced. As a parameter for a healthy diet, you should take five daily portions of fruit or vegetables, some protein, and foods rich in minerals. These are some of the nutrients you need to include, together with their sources:
This mineral is vital to kill harmful pathogens and cytokine, which are small proteins important in cell signaling, and are impaired when there’s zinc deficiency. The recommended dose of zinc is around 7mg a day. You can find zinc in red meat, milk, whole grains, chickpeas, fortified cereals, and plant-based milk.
Vitamin C both prevents and treats respiratory and systemic infections because of its role in supporting the immune system’s cells and killing bacteria. You can find high amounts of vitamin C in kale, peppers, and all citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruits) that you can take as a daily juice or eat any time of the day.
As the main source of vitamin D is proven to be the sunlight, during winter you should find other sources to add this important nutrient to your organism. It works as an ally to strengthen your bones and to fight against influenza infection. During winter, you should include oily fish, eggs fortified dairy products, and mushrooms to your diet, to make up for the low vitamin D you’re getting from the sun.
Probiotics are living bacteria and microorganisms that protect your body, most specifically your digestive system. During the cold months, you should eat probiotic foods in order to increase your defenses against infections. You can find them in yogurts, kefir, and fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, leeks, and legumes.
As a final word, in addition to a healthy diet, you should keep exercising during the winter weather. If you don’t like the cold or it’s raining, look for indoor workouts online. There are plenty of Yoga and Pilates sessions to follow, and if you like stronger workouts, you can find Functional and Zumba classes. Keep good hygiene habits and ventilate your room every day in order to avoid germs.