- Consider a Vitamin D supplement
With fewer daylight hours and the bitter cold keeping many of us indoors, our natural production of vitamin D is much lower in the winter months. Low levels of vitamin D may cause issues with depression, immune function, bone health and even heart disease and cancer. Some studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin D improved mood regulation and wellbeing scores in healthy subjects. In addition, other studies showed that people who take daily vitamin D supplements were 3 times less likely to report cold and/or flu symptoms. When Princeton Longevity Center tests vitamin D levels in our patients, we find that many have low or deficient vitamin D levels and therefore, would benefit from vitamin D supplementation. Talk to your physician to determine if taking a vitamin D supplement is recommended for you and what dose would be appropriate based on your current vitamin D level.
2. Focus on another “D”, DHA
DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, is mostly associated with heart and brain health. However, this omega-3 fat may also help to support mood balance and improve depression. Many people find that the winter months bring out or exacerbate issues with mood and depression. Keeping your DHA intake adequate may help with regulating these issues. DHA is found in certain types of fish like salmon, tuna, trout, etc. Aim to eat 2 fish meals each week and if you aren’t consistently doing so or you have cardiovascular disease, talk to your physician about taking a DHA based fish oil supplement like those offered by Nordic Naturals.
3. Eat good “bugs”
When you have a cold every hour is misery and shortening the length of a cold is on everyone’s wish list! The possibility of this wish coming true can be increased if you eat probiotic-containing foods everyday. Some studies have shown that ingesting daily probiotics from foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi and other fermented foods may shorten colds by almost 2 days! The key is to eat these foods before you get sick!