We all know that summer bodies are made in winter, so what do you need to do to boost energy levels, boost your immunity and support your winter workout? Dr Joe Kosterich provides the perfect formula.
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Maintain your vitamin B levels
When we’re stressed our vitamin B levels can become depleted as we use more of them. Furthermore our adrenal glands, which are responsible for many hormones in our body, including the stress hormone cortisol, may not be able to produce enough of them to help our mind and body cope.[i]
Support your energy levels and your body’s stress response with a diet rich in vitamin B foods (legumes, wholegrains, green veg, chicken, red meat, fish and milk), and consider a daily vitamin B supplement if your dietary intake is not adequate to meet your body’s needs.
Cover all bases
A good multivitamin contains energy-boosting vitamins including vitamin C, and vitamin D as well as minerals like zinc and magnesium. This powerful combination can help you maintain energy levels, which can dip when we’re feeling stressed or under the weather.[ii] Vitamin C in particular is ideal for when you’re under pressure, as your body uses your stores to help produce the cortisol needed to help deal with stress. You can increase your vitamin C intake through a diet rich in citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and pomegranates.
Mend your body with magnesium
If you experience cramping after exercise, or during the night, then magnesium may be your friend.[iii] Research shows that magnesium may help improve overall physical performance and studies show that it can help you sleep better too.[iv]
Beat the winter blues
It may be cold, but if the sun is shining then get outdoors for some health-boosting vitamin D. A study from the University of Georgia found that low vitamin D levels are associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or a low mood during winter. Vitamin D is involved in the production of serotonin and the ‘happy hormone’, dopamine, within the brain.[v] Just 20 minutes of sunshine a day is sufficient (longer for darker skin tones), although you may consider supplementing with vitamin D to ensure your levels are maintained during winter.
Some supplements also contain mood-boosting ingredients, including St John’s wort, which can, in some people, help relieve nervous tension, stress and mild anxiety. It can also support your mood throughout the day. Talk to your healthcare practitioner.
And don’t forget to do… nothing. Mindfulness meditation can help reduce your cortisol levels, plus you’ll be giving your mind and body a break from it’s every day pressures. Just five minutes a day can help you set the mood for the day, and help you unwind at night.
Stress and anxiety may be related to serious medical conditions and you should consult your healthcare practitioner to discuss your particular needs to optimise your health.