As the days get shorter and the weather gets chillier, our nutritional needs change too. Many of us are aware that we miss out on Vitamin D in winter, but it’s by no means the only vitamin that is essential to balanced winter nutrition.
Here’s a run-down of the top micronutrients to help you live your best winter ⬇️
🍽 Top sources of Vitamin A include dairies such as cheese and milk, oily fish and meat livers. Plant-based sources include veggies like carrots and yellow fruits such as mango and apricots.
⚖️ For adults, 700 µg a day for men and 600 µg a day for women is recommended.
❗️ Pregnant women should be aware that too much Vitamin A can be dangerous for their unborn babies. There is also some evidence that taking more than 1500µg daily may cause bone problems – especially in older people.
❓ Vitamin C supports cells, so it helps keep skin glowing and aids in wound healing. It can even help lessen the symptoms of the common cold and control blood pressure, which is generally higher in winter.
⚖️ Unlike Vitamin A, Vitamin C isn’t stored after consumption, so you need to get your intake each day. The adult dosage is 40mg.
❗️An overload of Vitamin C is unlikely, but it can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea and flatulence as any nutrient surplus passes through the digestive system and is expelled.
❓ Vitamin D is among the most essential for humans. The body creates Vitamin D directly from sunlight. However, most people in the Northern Hemisphere don’t get enough October – March. It’s crucial for your bones and immune system.
🍽 Oily fish, red meat and liver are popular food sources of the sunshine vitamin. Vegetarians and vegans may benefit from Vitamin D supplements, in addition to including spinach and cereal in their diet.
⚖️ Beware that babies and children have different Vitamin D needs. Also, research suggests those with African and South Asian backgrounds may not receive sufficient Vitamin D from sun exposure – so they should consider taking a daily supplement.
❗️ Regularly taking too much Vitamin D can lead to hypercalcaemia, which may weaken the bones and some organs, so it’s best to avoid taking more than 100µg per day.
❓ Anaemia is a well-known consequence of B12 deficiency. Symptoms of anaemia, such as tiredness and low energy, are particularly noticeable in the cold winter months.
🍽 Sources of vitamin B12 include meat, fish like cod and salmon, and dairies such as milk, cheese, and eggs. Those who don’t consume meat products may benefit from B12 supplements.
⚖️ Adults need about 1.5µg a day of vitamin B12. So if you eat meat, fish or dairy foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet. But as vitamin B12 isn’t found naturally in foods such as fruit, vegetables and grains, vegans may not get enough of it.
❗️ Too little Vitamin B12 is worse than too much. There is little potential for overdose, as surplus B12 will pass in the urine.
❓ Iron is important in making red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. Too little iron can result in iron deficiency anaemia.
🍽 Meat has traditionally been heralded as the key source of iron. However, plant sources like dark leafy veg, beans and nuts are excellent sources.
⚖️Women lose blood during menstruation and are at higher risk of iron-deficiency anaemia. The daily dose is 8.7mg a day for men and women under 50.
❗️ Tell-tale signs of iron overdose include digestive symptoms such as vomiting, constipation and stomach ache. Iron supplements should be kept out of reach of kids as they are most vulnerable to overdose.
❓Your body needs Vitamin K to help with blood clotting and wound healing, crucial for slips and trips in icy conditions. Vitamin K2 also helps the calcification of bones to prevent them from weakening.
🍽 Green leafy vegetables, cereals and vegetables are super-accessible sources of Vitamin K.
⚖️ Adults require about 1 microgram a day for each kilogram of their body weight. However, it’s stored in your body – so a daily intake is not required according to the NHS.
❗️There isn’t enough evidence to show the effects of a Vitamin K overdose, so no more than 1 milligram is advised.
❓Calcium is essential for bone health. Healthy bones are crucial for preventing fractures, which are more common in the challenging winter months.
🍽 Dairy foods are well-known sources of calcium but vegans can get their RDA from some leafy greens like curly kale as well as bread.
⚖️ Adults aged 19 to 64 need 700mg of calcium a day.
❗️Consuming more than 1,500mg of calcium in a day may produce side effects such as stomach pains.
The Takeaway: Vitamins Are Crucial Through Winter, And Always
A healthy immune system, good eye health and strong bones are essential for getting through the winter months. A healthy diet, supplemented by an effective multivitamin such as Immunity Goals, can help maintain nutrition through to spring, and beyond!