As the nights draw in and the weather gets chillier, the feeling of tiredness and fatigue can begin to fog over us. That is why you need to take even more care of your health and well-being during the winter months.
Certain animals choose hibernation to conserve energy, as their food sources become scarce during winter.
However, as humans in the western world, luckily, most of us have access to healthy foods, which means we have the fuel to power ourselves through winter without the need to retreat.
This article will illustrate the benefits of a healthy diet to overcome fatigue in the winter months and why our bodies are more exposed to nutrient deficiencies in this colder season.
Why winter can make you SAD
Winter is full of many joyous occasions. However, many of us can feel low during this time of year. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs in a seasonal pattern and is often experienced in the winter months.
Depression can leave you feeling fatigued, making even the simplest of tasks, such as getting up in the morning, difficult to manage.
Studies suggest that SAD is caused by a lack of serotonin, which is a brain chemical messenger that affects mood. Serotonin is produced in the brain, and its production is stimulated by sunlight hitting the retina of your eye.
In winter, the days are shorter, and you are less likely to spend time outside during the daytime, so less serotonin is produced. However, eating foods that are rich in tryptophan ensures that you have the building blocks for serotonin at the ready. Foods rich in tryptophan include turkey, eggs, salmon, tofu, nuts, and chocolate.
Eating high tryptophan foods with healthy carbohydrates can help with its absorption, making you more likely to get a serotonin boost. Aim to go outside in the first hours of sunlight for at least 15 minutes every day and a walk while it’s light to increase serotonin production – just remember to wrap up!
The lack of the sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin as it is made in the skin through the interaction of cholesterol and UVB from sun rays. However, going outside for extended periods might not be possible in winter, putting you at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause symptoms of fatigue, muscle pain and weakness, headaches and brain fog. It is best to stock up on foods rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish like salmon, anchovies, mackerel, herring and sardines, grass-fed organ meat, eggs and organic dairy products in the winter.
Suppose you know that your vitamin D levels are low. In that case, you can also supplement with vitamin D. Historically, there have been concerns about vitamin D toxicity when supplementing at high levels. However, this is rare, and as long as you know your baseline numbers and keep checking these, either by working with a health practitioner or at-home testing, then this is unlikely to occur.
Boosting your immunity
As the weather gets colder, viruses begin to thrive, which can pressure your immune system as it does its best to fend them off and keep you healthy.
Viruses can affect the energy systems in your body by hijacking your cells and using your energy supply for their own needs. Protecting yourself from viruses by eating nutritious food is a sensible approach over the winter months.
Drinking more hot drinks and soups and inhaling the steam through your nose kills off any lingering viruses that might be hanging out in your nostrils or the back of your throat.
Chicken broth is rich in protein called l-carnosine, shown in studies to dismantle viruses as they try to spread in your body, so it is a great daily addition to the diet to stay protected. Other anti-viral foods encompass garlic, cinnamon, liquorice root and mushrooms.
Free yourself from fatigue
Winter doesn’t have to be all about nestling up and getting cosy on the sofa – although you can certainly enjoy this as well!
If you sustain your energy with the right foods, continue to move and go outside, and look after yourself during wintertime, you can free yourself from fatigue and have enough power to throw snowballs and make snowmen in the snow, should it ever settle!
If you would like to improve your immunity this winter, get in touch and book a free initial consultation here.
And if you would like to join a community of strong-minded individuals who are thriving with autoimmune disease, then please join The Autoimmunity Community here.
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