Autumn and winter can make a serious dent in your healthy living plans, whether it’s due to the colder weather, Christmas-approaching stress levels or fatty comfort foods on offer.
That’s why now's the perfect time to start taking these seven super-supplements so you can wave goodbye to seasonal health woes all winter long.
Lemon balm to beat end of year stress
Kids screaming, rotten weather, and a to-do list that you’re pretty sure is longer than War and Peace. Sound familiar? End of year stress is something we all go through, but with a bit of nutrition know-how you can banish it altogether.
Lemon balm is an oral supplement that has been proven to reduce stress levels, making it the perfect way to keep calm this autumn and winter.
Best of all, an investigation into lemon balm at the University of Northumbria found that it covers the full spectrum of stress prevention, including mood, anger and irritability.
Vitamin D to top up your energy levels
Vitamin D is naturally produced by your body when exposed to sunlight, and is one of the few vitamins that isn’t readily available in food. Your body needs vitamin D to regulate energy levels, keep your heart healthy and develop stronger bones.
That spells trouble for autumn and winter, when sunlight is a rare treat. Luckily help is at hand, as supplementing vitamin D can keep your levels ticking over until the spring time. Start taking them now to avoild a SAD-related enegy lull come winter.
Omega 3 for warmer hands and feet
When the winter months roll around, you’ll often find that your extremities are much colder than the rest of your body. This is because your hands and feet are further away from your heart, meaning they’re the last place that blood is pumped to. If you have poor circulation, this will be even more noticeable.
According to the University of Maryland, omega-3 fatty acid supplements provide an instant boost to circulation, and help to warm up your hands and feet.
L-glutamine to fight cravings
With copious amounts of sugary snacks, fat-filled foods and alcohol on offer, autumn and winter can be a time of excess for many of us. It’s no wonder a National Institute of Child Health and Human development study found that the majority of adults weigh more in February than they do in September.
Never fear – you can fight back against your cravings with L-glutamine. In a University of Missouri study, this super powered amino acid was shown to reduce cravings for both alcohol and sugar.
It’s thought that L-glutamine’s craving fighting prowess is down to its ability to increase the production of certain neurotransmitters that regulate mood and behaviour.
Beta glucans for a stronger immune system
Your immune system takes a hammering every autumn and winter from a whole host of viruses both at home and in the workplace. Instead of suffering from months of sneezing and vomiting, do your immune system a favour by taking a daily dose of beta glucans.
Research published in Food and Nutrition Sciences found that people who took a 900mg dose of beta glucans every day displayed a 25 per cent reduction in cold symptoms compared to a control group.
The team behind the study discovered that beta glucans helped to boost the production of white blood cells, which are the driving force behind your immune system.
Glucosamine for joint pain in cold weather
There’s no need to put up with that old knee injury that flares up whenever the thermometer heads south. The amino acid glucosamine, which can be taken in supplement form, improves the health of the cartilage in your joints, and can also help to reduce back pain.
Glucosamine supplements become increasingly important as we grow older, because the body gradually produces less of it naturally in old age, so start taking them this autumn and winter for a head start on healthier joints.
Riboflavin and vitamin C for healthy skin and lips
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to rejoice – your winter worries of dry skin and chapped lips are a thing of the past.
The Department of Dermatology at St Jacques University are the helpful boffins you need to thank. They have discovered that taking a micronutrient supplement containing vitamin C and riboflavin leads to reduced skin and lip dryness, improved skin elasticity, and even thicker, stronger skin.
This wasn’t a temporary thing either; the study took place during autumn and winter, and the researchers noted that the improved skin health was consistent across the full four month duration.