Winter can be harsh, but it still has its sunny days! When you’re surrounded by the doom and gloom of calorie-heavy foods; you can check back to this quick and easy list of 5 food choice hacks that can make your eating options easier to digest. With a busy social calendar, full of events, family dinners, parties, and festivities of the season, there are plenty of distractions that keep you from focusing on your health and wellness.
Here are five chances for you to stay energized, keep your head on straight and respect your health and wellness during the winter season! Winter often brings the same type of challenges to most of society. First, people experience a slow down in activity levels and an increase in lethargy. It gets harder to stay active. Then, between parties and boredom; it’s easy to overeat or eat the wrong foods. In addition to that, mood swings and cold weather can influence you to skip your trips to the gym, and that can make your get-up-and-go attitude be something that’s hard to find. (1) You can skip all of those risks by discovering more about these 5 hacks to make your food choices more impactful. Keep reading to know more!
Let’s check out these five ways to make sure you stay healthy this winter, even if your body wants to hibernate… Let’s have a look at them:
1. Make Oats Your Winter Staple
Starting your cold winter mornings with a tasty and nutritious breakfast, such as oats, may help keep your energy levels high enough to accomplish your itinerary (2). Foods like oatmeal or granola are a great place to start.
Furthermore, oats are believed to be a rich source of tryptophan. It is an amino acid that helps produce serotonin, a compound that helps keep depression at bay (3). You can try topping your bowl of oats with nuts, or perhaps seeds with some seasonal fruits such as cranberries, dates or apples.
2. Eat More Vitamin C
Consuming fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C plays a significant role in promoting a healthy immune system and energy levels during the winter season (4). Adding foods such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers, and citrus fruits may be a good idea because all these contain vitamin C (5, 6). So, whenever you feel hungry between meals, snack on foods rich in vitamin C.
3. Choose Foods Rich In Zinc
There is a reason that winter is referred to as cold and flu season, the likelihood for contracting pesky viruses and bacteria is higher during this time of year (7). So, your immune system should be in tip top shape to fight off these attacks. Zinc plays a significant role here because it supports a healthy immune system and helps your body keep the flu or cold at bay (8). Adding foods rich in zinc, such as oysters, spinach, and legumes to your daily diet, may help combat seasonal infections such as flu and cold (9).
4. Increase Your Iron Intake
If you feel lazy and lethargic during winter months, an increase in your iron intake could be the key! To keep your energy levels as high as your holiday spirits, make sure you stay active. But, adding foods rich in iron to your diet may help keep you energetic and improve your overall quality of life (10). Include red meat, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach in your diet to stay healthy and active this winter (11, 12).
Related Article: Winter Health Hazards
5. Swap Sugary Foods With Sweet-Root Veggies
Giving in to all your sugar cravings this holiday season will never be a good idea. However, you can make some healthy swaps that won’t negatively affect your waistline (13). Sweet root vegetables, like sweet potato, are delicious, healthy and easy to enjoy (14).
Besides these, there are several ways to ensure you stay healthy and fit during winters. Following these habits may help boost your energy levels and motivation to keep fit and active throughout the winter season.
Winters are beautiful, and nature offers you so many nutritious foods to enjoy. Every season comes with its pros and cons. All you have to do is focus on the advantages and be cautious about the possible hazards.
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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/ or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease, illness, or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- “5 ways to wipe out winter tiredness.” NHS
- Rebello, Candida J., Carol E. O’Neil, and Frank L. Greenway. “Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety.” Nutrition reviews 74.2 (2015): 131-147.
- Richard, Dawn M., et al. “L-tryptophan: basic metabolic functions, behavioral research and therapeutic indications.” International Journal of Tryptophan Research 2 (2009): IJTR-S2129.
- Carr, Anitra C., and Silvia Maggini. “Vitamin C and immune function.” Nutrients 9.11 (2017): 1211. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/
- Slavin, Joanne L., and Beate Lloyd. “Health benefits of fruits and vegetables.” Advances in nutrition 3.4 (2012): 506-516.
- Valdés, F. “Vitamina C.” Actas dermo-sifiliográficas 97.9 (2006): 557-568. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17173758
- “The Reason for the Season: why flu strikes in winter.” Harvard Health http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2014/the-reason-for-the-season-why-flu-strikes-in-winter/
- Prasad, Ananda S. “Zinc in human health: effect of zinc on immune cells.” Molecular medicine 14.5 (2008): 353-357. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2277319/
- Rasmussen, Helen M., and Elizabeth J. Johnson. “Nutrients for the aging eye.” Clinical interventions in aging 8 (2013): 741. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693724/
- Gasche, C., et al. “Iron, anaemia, and inflammatory bowel diseases.” Gut 53.8 (2004): 1190-1197. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1774131/
- “How Can I Get Enough Iron?” NCBI
- Amagloh, Francis, et al. “Nutrient and total polyphenol contents of dark green leafy vegetables, and estimation of their iron bioaccessibility using the in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell model.” Foods 6.7 (2017): 54.
- Rippe, James M., and Theodore J. Angelopoulos. “Relationship between added sugars consumption and chronic disease risk factors: Current understanding.” Nutrients 8.11 (2016): 697.
- “The Pros and cons of root vegetables.” Harvard Health