As Canadians that have to bear the cold, gloomy winters on a yearly basis, it also means the lack of sun exposure is fairly high. With that in mind, the sun is one on the main non-dietary sources of a crucial vitamin to human health: Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is known as a “fat soluble vitamin”, a vitamin in which the body uses and stores extra amounts for later use. More specifically, Vitamin D benefits the body by assisting the body in absorbing calcium and phosphorous, which helps with strong bone and teeth development. This helps with reducing the risk of chronic disease development, and benefiting human health in the winter, due to helping to “protect against infections” by strengthening the immune system.
Instantly, I’m sure your wondering how is it that Vitamin D helps prevent against colds, I thought it was Vitamin C ?...Or where do I get Vitamin D in the winter if there’s next to no sun ?
To start, Vitamin C doesn’t actually cure colds, what it does is helps to “relieve the symptoms of a cold”. In particular, when an individual has a cold, a common symptom is nasal congestion; the reason behind nasal congestion is “due to elevated blood levels of histamine”, in preventing “runny, ‘stuffed up’ noses" an individual will take an anti-histamine, ie. Vitamin C.
In regards to where you can get Vitamin D, other than from the sun “good food sources” is your answer! This includes “fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, liver, and egg yolk”.
To conclude, winter is definitely a critical time to increase vitamin consumption especially due to the fact that chances of catching a cold are much higher. In doing so look to your diet and consume a variety of whole fruits, vegetables and a mix of animal and plant based proteins.
Stay healthy and happy over the holiday break Bruins!
Written By: Bailie Norville
Canada, H. (2019, July 10). Government of Canada. Retrieved December 16, 2019, from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/vitamins-minerals/vitamin-calcium-updated-dietary-reference-intakes-nutrition.html.
Kochan, A (2019). Vitamin Part 2 [PowerPoint Slides]. Retrieved December 16, 2019