How to Survive Winter as a Vegan and Make it to Spring
You survived the holidays and first part of the New Year! Congrats! Now what? Now comes the dreaded waiting period for spring to start. We all know winter can drag on forever and our immune systems need all the help we can give them! Moving from cold temperatures to over-heated, dry office buildings and homes puts stress on our immune system. While your coworkers, friends, or family members may have head colds and coughing up a storm, there are very simple precautions you can take. Setting aside time for nutrient rich meals will keep you healthy on so many levels and will help maintain nutrient absorption and improve digestion. Good news for you, you already a few of these simple tricks as a vegan. If you’ve survived previous winters as a vegan, you can do it again. Eating a varied, plant-based diet, full of fresh produce will give you energy boosts and well-being in the short-term and shield you against many long-term chronic health problems many Americans have to deal with. So not only will survive winter by spring, you’ll have the energy of youth for a long time. However, even though a well-balanced vegan or even vegetarian diet keeps you alive, relying on it solely on your diet can leave you nutrient deficient in some areas. Unfortunately, even with the best efforts, you may still not get all the vital nutrients you need from your diet alone. Take into account every time you eat on the run, processed foods, stress, and your environmental pollutants, taking supplemental vitamins is not a bad option.
Curious about what vitamins you may need? If you remember the alphabet, there’s a good chance you’ll survive winter and keep your immune system in the best shape possible!
Vitamin A is essential to proper immune function. It stimulates various immune processes, enhancing white blood cell function and increasing antibody response.
Vitamin C helps fight bacteria and viruses, and stimulates the white blood cells to combat stress. According to the journal Advanced Nutrition Research, one to three grams of vitamin C daily are recommended to achieve immune enhancement.
Protecting yourself with sufficient vitamin D helps to maintain a constant T-cell population as part of your front-line immune defenses system, while not getting enough has been shown to depress immune response.
Vitamin E has a powerful effect on immune health—and diet alone rarely provides enough. Vitamin E also aids in the removal of toxins from the blood and may increase resistance to infection.
Iron is also vital to consistent wellness. A depressed immune system may result from as little as a 10 percent decrease in dietary iron.
Selenium stimulates white blood cell and thymus function, while low selenium levels result in depressed immunity. Research suggests we need to supplement above normal dietary intake to get selenium’s immune-enhancing effects.
Like vitamin C, zinc has antiviral properties. When zinc levels are low, the number of T-cells decreases, thymic hormone levels are reduced, and white blood cell activities become less efficient. This is easily reversed when you get enough zinc.