Certified nutrition specialist, Rosemary Barclay, suggests incorporating more vegetables into your diet daily to stay healthy and happy during the winter months.
Believe it or not, a strong immune system starts at home in the kitchen with a balanced diet that incorporates fresh vegetables. Vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients that fuel the body to help fight off pesky colds. Winter wellness has never been so easy, just add a little extra color to your plate this season! Rosemary Barclay recommends eating these vegetables to stay healthy and happy during the wintertime.
This nutrient is stored in your body tissue and is responsible for supporting cell growth and improving immunity. It’s also famously known for its role in developing eyesight. A deficiency can make you more prone to infections, so Rosemary Barclay suggests eating rich leafy greens, carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes.
The human body cannot store or produce vitamin C so it’s essential to consume it daily. This vitamin is a water soluble that is a potent antioxidant essential for immune function and healthy skin. The hAt the onset of colds and flu, Vitamin C is often the first port of call ! It is not always necessary to take a supplement, as Vitamin C is found quite easily through food. Rosemary Barclay believes in obtaining vitamins from food sources first and supplementing with a slow release Vitamin C supplement if you feel immune compromised or cannot obtain fresh vegetables and fruits. Consuming an adequate daily intake is the best preventative measure against sickness. Luckily, there are plenty of vegetables high in Vitamin C such as broccoli, green and red peppers, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. Add a few fruits like berries, citrus and kiwi fruit on a daily basis for meet your daily requirement of Vitamin C
This nutrient is best absorbed through the skin by spending time outside in the sun. In winter months, this can definitely pose a problem! If the cold weather keeps you in, Rosemary Barclay recommends eating more mushrooms, kale, collards, and okra! Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so its a good idea to consume a healthy fat like salmon, tuna , sardines or herring or a small piece of avocado or a few nuts or seeds when eating these vegetables. A deficiency in Vitamin D can be associated with many problems including bone health , autoimmune disease.
Zinc is useful for more than just sunscreen! Adding foods like chickpeas, lentils mushrooms,beans , spinach, and asparagus can help boost your immune system and regulate inflammation. Rosemary Barclay notes that zinc is not stored by the body, so maintaining adequate levels is key to staying healthy this winter. Not only does it increase immunity and reduce acne but it can improve your sense of smell and promotes wound healing.
During the winter months, your body is exposed to less sunlight; the lowered exposure results in a decline in your body’s serotonin production. Serotonin, the “feel good” chemical, is heavily influenced by vegetables. In order for your brain to produce serotonin, you need to ingest carbohydrates during each meal and vegetables are among the best choices.
Tryptophan is a precursor amino acid that enables our body to create serotonin. The effects of Tryptophan are enhanced when green leafy vegetables are ingested. Vegetables not only improve your immune system, but enhance your mood during the colder months. A happier you, means a healthier you.
Rosemary Barclay is the owner and founder of Bonne Santé Wellness Center in Old Lyme, CT. She earned her bachelor’s degree and PhD in biochemistry and is a board certified nutrition specialist. Rosemary is also a certified esthetician and acne specialist, believing in the fundamentals of nutrition for overall health and wellbeing.