Gear Up for Winter

by Enriched Parenting Team

We love the feeling of winter! As the temperature cools down and snow begins to fall, seeing the excitement and joy on our children’s faces warms our hearts! Winter is a festive season filled with fun activities to be enjoyed by the whole family, but it can also be a time where everyone is more susceptible for catching colds and the flu. It can be a daunting task to know how to prepare for this season. We’ve created this winter care guide to help parents become knowledgeable on natural and wholistic ways to prevent and treat illnesses.

It’s important to remember the cold has a taxing effect on the body. You and your family should keep warm and stay bundled up. Pay attention and follow the season’s rhythm so you know when it’s time to “hibernate”. During the Winter, days are shorter. Winter is a great time for easily digestible comfort foods such as soups, broths and teas and for warm home-cooked meals. Minimize sugar and fruit juices from your family's diet to help maintain health. Be aware if dairy products are making your child become congested or phlegmy. If so, eliminate them from your diet. It's important your child is getting high quality protein and high quality fats at each meal.

Vitamin D is key to having a strong immune system to protect from colds and the flu. It is synthesized by sunlight exposure to your skin. The summer is the best time to get sun exposure to be able to store enough Vitamin D to protect your immune system during winter. One way is to ensure you aren't overusing sunscreen or sunbathing. Your skin synthesizes Vitamin D sulfate through sunlight which travels freely through your blood in its water soluble form while an oral nonsulfated Vitamin D supplement requires LDL and may not give the exact same benefits.

However, Vitamin D supplements should still be used in time where sunlight is not as accessible. A recent study in Finland (1) reported most adults need about 8,000 IUs of Vitamin D a day. For babies who are six months or older and are breastfed, they can be supplemented 1500 IU. As for children older than a year old, experts say they need to be 3000 IU’s of vitamin D. These doses are also dependent on a person’s BMI. For babies younger than a year who are on enriched formula, they need to be supplemented about 1000 IU. A 2017 scientific review of 25 randomized trials found that Vitamin D supplements cut rates of acute respiratory infections. Children taking 1,200 IUs of Vitamin D were 42 percent less likely to come down with the flu than ones who took a placebo, according to a 2010 study.

Vitamin C is also an essential key to be able to maintain your family’s health throughout the winter. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system functions and boosts the white blood cells. People who regularly have Vitamin C in their diet or as a supplement are able to fight off illness quicker. It has also been shown to decrease the number of colds in general in physical active people. A review by the Cochrane Collaboration(2) showed an 13% decrease in cold symptoms who took one gram of of vitamin C daily for prevention. So many delicious foods contain Vitamin C like root vegetables, bok choy, cabbage, winter squash, parsnips, raddichio and celery root. Winter can be an amazing time to try out recipes and make new nutritious dishes for your family.

It’s important to pay attention to how much sleep and exercise that you and your family are getting. Your family needs to be getting enough restorative sleep to be able to fight off a winter cold. Without exercising regularly, your bodies will not have the resistance it needs when it comes to warding off and defending against illnesses. If you overexert yourself too much and become stressed out, you also become susceptible to illness so try to keep a healthy balance!

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5541280/
2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239295855_Cochrane_review_Vitam...

Vitamins and supplements

Food and nutrition