We learn as early as kindergarten that a balanced diet is key—and there’s no need to change your diet with the season. Of course, it’s important to eat plenty of
fruits and vegetables all year long.
The thing is: winter can be a bleak time for some, between cold, dry weather, less sunshine, less time being active and outdoors. Many even suffer from different levels of seasonal depression and lose motivation.
More: How to Get Your Daily Dose of Fruits and Vegetables
That’s why taking vitamins should be an essential part to your winter eating habits. There are a slew of vitamins that you should be extra careful not to miss out on over the winter months.
Sure, you can always pop a multi-vitamin in the morning when you wake up, but making sure you eat healthy foods
that contain them works even better.
More: Vitamin Power
Helps combat depression, boosts energy levels and helps to reduce holiday stress. This is a water-soluble vitamin and needs to be replaced often.
Eat: Whole grain cereals, bread, red meat, egg yolks, leafy greens, brown rice, yeast and berries.
Iron also helps boots energy levels, which will help you stay active even when it’s cold and dark outside. In turn, you’ll feel those surges of endorphins that will keep you coming back to stay fit and stress-free in the long run.
Plus, the fuel will keep you running through family holiday commitments, New Year’s plans and all the busy things that comes with the onset of winter.
Eat: Spinach, lima beans, lentils, potatoes with the skin, navy beans, organic beef and chicken, California avocados and beef liver.
*While it’s unclear whether or not vitamin C actually helps you stave off colds (it does fight the symptoms of cold and flu), vitamin C does enhance your iron intake. So don’t skip the OJ.
More: Give Your Immune System a Boost
Zinc works to boost your immune health, healing processes, keeps your skin, hair and nails from getting brittle when it’s cold and dry outside and will help you combat holiday stress.
Eat: Oysters, toasted wheat germ, hummus (sesame seeds in tahini and chic peas both contain zinc), roast beef, pumpkin and squash seeds, dark chocolate, peanuts, lamb, ginger root and raw almonds.
More: The Diet Detective: Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Studies have shown that Eskimos and Scandinavians with diets high in marine animal fat have shown lower cases of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. But more relevant to winter months, Omega-3s help with depression, dry, itchy skin, brittle hair as well as rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain.
Eat: Wild salmon, sardines, cod, cod liver oil and flax seed.
Sunshine helps the body create vitamin D and if you live in a place where there’s a shortage of sunny days all winter, your vitamin D levels can go down. Vitamin D is important for healthy bones and teeth.
Eat: Wild salmon, tuna, eggs, cheese and fortified milk.
More: What is Vitamin D?
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