Winter Immunity Diet Guidelines

When many people think of a winter diet, their mind goes directly to warm comfort food. In some cases, such food is just that: comforting. However, it can also be full of not-so-good-for-you ingredients such as extra fats, excess carbohydrates, and sugar. Unfortunately, even if these types of foods taste good, they’re doing your body a disservice, especially when it comes to your immune health.

During the winter months, there are fewer things more important than keeping your immune system running optimally. With cold and flu season and the added concern of COVID-19, immune health this winter has never been more important. The good news is that even during the winter months you can do certain things to keep your immune system functioning at its best, keeping your body in fighting shape if you do happen to encounter a virus or other pathogen.

How can I boost my immune system in winter?

There are many things you can do during the winter months to keep your immune system ready for battle, so to speak. They include:


Exercise has been proven to help boost immune function. While most types of exercise will do, it’s best to keep it at a moderate pace and do it regularly. This could include lifting weights for roughly 30 minutes a day or going for a walk brisk walk outside. The only thing you’ll want to avoid is pushing your body too far, because exercise that’s too intense has actually been shown to have negative effects.

winter foods
Image by Davies Designs Studio on Unsplash: Are there any winter foods that boost your immune system? Read on to find out!

Get enough sleep

In the winter months, your sleep schedule may be compromised due to a lack of sunlight during the day and what feels like less time to accomplish the things you need to do. But sleep and immunity go hand in hand, so it’s important that you get the right amount of quality sleep during the winter months to ensure your immune system is ready to go if faced with infection.

Reduce stress where possible

Stress isn’t always avoidable – it’s often just a part of life. The unfortunate thing about this is that stress can actually hinder your immune system’s ability to ward off infection. To make sure you have the strongest immune system possible during the winter months, you’ll want to practice stress reduction techniques as much as possible to keep your stress levels at bay. Why not try a yoga practice or meditation session to keep yourself calm?

Get enough vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for immune health. But there’s less sunshine in the winter, and that means your body isn’t getting the same amount of vitamin D that it does the rest of the year. If you can’t get outside as much in winter because of where you live, you might want to supplement with vitamin D or ensure that your diet has a lot of vitamin D-rich foods to keep your levels up.

What should I eat to stay healthy in winter?

What you eat during the winter to stay healthy is very similar to what you need to eat all year round to keep your body in good shape. Wholefoods, nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources are all good options to keep your body in fighting shape.

The foods that are most important when it comes to a healthy and well-rounded winter diet include:

  • Colorful fruits and vegetables: These have high levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. If you can’t get fresh fruit and veg, opt for frozen over canned, as frozen options retain much of their nutrients more effectively.
  • Healthy fats: Healthy fats play a role in the cellular response and function of immune cells. Healthy fats in the diet can include olive oil, avocado, and salmon.
  • Fermented foods: Fermented foods help keep the gut bacteria balanced, which is important for immune health. Some fermented foods to add to your diet include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.
  • High-fiber foods: Wholegrains and legumes are great fiber sources. Fiber helps to keep the gut healthy, which in turn helps the immune system. 
  • Spices: Spices such as turmeric, black pepper, garlic, and ginger each possess their own immune-boosting properties.
  • Lean means: Protein is vital for immune function, and lean meats are a great source.

As mentioned above, your body gets less vitamin D in the winter, so eating food that is high in vitamin D is also a great place to start for your winter immunity diet. Foods high in vitamin D include:

  • Salmon, herring, and sardines
  • Canned tuna
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Foods fortified with vitamin D such as orange juice, oatmeal, and some milks

When getting enough vitamin D through diet, you’ll always want to ensure that you’re getting enough calcium as well. Vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption in the body, so if you aren’t getting enough of it, your body won’t be able to absorb the calcium you do eat – which is not a good thing, because both these elements are important for immune health.

plate of winter food
Image by Mark DeYoung on Unsplash: What should I eat during winter?

The immune system relies heavily on various nutrients to ensure that it runs properly. These include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D (as mentioned above)
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Protein

To ensure you’re getting enough of each, try to make sure you’re eating some or all of the aforementioned foods. For example, lean meats can provide you with a good amount of protein, zinc, selenium, and iron. Good choices would be lean beef, turkey, chicken, shrimp, lobster, or fish. Vitamin C can be found in colorful fruits and vegetables, which you can serve alongside your protein.

You also want to make sure you’re staying hydrated in winter. While it can be tempting to stick to hot cocoa and other warm winter beverages, plain water is best. If you do wish to have a warm drink, try mixing warm water with lemon and honey for the perfect winter beverage to help you stay warm and hydrated.

The secret to a winter diet that’s good for your immune system? Getting all the important nutrients the body needs all year round. Happy cooking!

Featured image by Farhad Ibrahimzade on Unsplash

Easy 15-Minute Winter Fitness Routine

It can be hard to find the time or motivation to work out in the winter. Darker and shorter days make it feel like there’s just not enough time to fit everything in – and when it’s cold out, you probably just feel like snuggling on the couch instead! That being said, working out in the winter is just as important as working out in the summer (if not more so!). This is because the winter months leave more people deficient in key nutrients that affect immune function, and because catching a cold or flu is much more likely when the weather is on the colder side.

The good news is that you don’t have to brave the snow-covered streets or wind chill to take care of your physical health throughout the winter season. You also don’t have to push anything on your to-do list back either, because a workout can be as short as 15 minutes and still benefit your health! But how effective can a 15-minute workout be, and what sort of routine should you do? Read on for some tips for exercising in winter, including our favorite easy 15-minute winter fitness routine.

Can a 15-minute workout be effective?

According to a study published in The Lancet, 15 minutes is likely the bare minimum amount for daily exercise to be effective. While it may sound like it’s not enough, think of it this way: anything less than 15 minutes is likely not going to provide you with results, but 15-minute workouts and above can really benefit you.

The researchers of the Lancet study looked at varied durations of exercise and found that devoting even such a seemingly small amount of time to moving your body can actually boost your life expectancy by three years, and reduce your risk of death by 14%. The exercise itself can also be simple, such as a no-hassle brisk walk. 

yoga fitness routine at home
Image by Maryjoy Caballero on Unsplash: There are countless apps that offer free at-home workouts without the hassle of special equipment.

Can you lose weight by working out for 15 minutes?

As is the case with a 15-minute workout being effective for your overall health, it can also help to shed unwanted pounds. However, to lose weight, your body must optimally be burning calories both while you’re working out and while you’re at rest. You will also need to reduce your caloric intake. When it comes to losing weight, the type of 15-minute workout you do matters more than the duration of your workout.

For example, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to reduce the length of your workout while still getting the same weight loss benefits. One particular study looked at a short HIIT workout against other longer workouts, and found that even 10 minutes of HIIT is comparable to a 45-minute jog.

Another study found that HIIT can help you up your calorie burn by working more intensely but for less time. Researchers examined men who did both HIIT exercises and steady-state cardio and found that the HIIT participants burned more calories in much less time than their steady-state counterparts.

How can I exercise at home in winter?

It can be a little trickier to get exercise in the winter months, especially if you live in an area that is far too cold or snowy to offer you any sort of outside exercise options. However, home exercises that are done indoors can be just as effective. You don’t even need a home gym setup to accomplish at-home workouts!

Some easy ways you can incorporate quick workouts at home include:

  • Yoga: All you need is a mat and a little bit of open space, and you can get moving with one of the thousands of instructional yoga videos on the web.
  • Calisthenics: Calisthenics, or bodyweight exercises, are severely underrated – but they’re even used by the military because of how effective they are. Types of bodyweight exercises include push-ups, crunches, leg lifts, planks, squats, lunges, chair dips, and calf raises.
  • Free apps: There is a plethora of free exercise app options for people who have no equipment and limited space.

How can I improve my cardio in winter?

If you’re looking for cardio in the winter, you don’t have to go all out and run around in freezing cold weather just to get it. There are plenty of indoor exercises you can do to boost your cardiovascular health, including:

  • Dancing: Just because you don’t have a home gym doesn’t mean you can’t get your body moving! Just turn on your favorite tunes and dance the calories away. 
  • Stair climbing: Whether you live in an apartment or a house, you likely have access to some sort of staircase. Climb up and down the stairs for just 15 minutes and you’ll have completed your daily cardio workout.
  • Jumping jacks: Anyone can do jumping jacks, and they take up virtually no space!
  • Mountain climbers: Mountain climbers involve you being in the plank position and essentially climbing your knees up to your chest, one at a time, at a quick pace.
  • Jump rope: You do need a jump rope for this exercise (and high enough ceilings if you’re working out indoors), but there’s a good reason why boxers typically jump rope to stay in shape. It’s a highly effective cardio exercise.
person doing home workout
Image by Sergio Pedemonte on Unsplash: Can a 15-minute workout keep you in shape?

The Easy 15-Minute Winter Fitness Routine To Keep You In Shape

Working out at home takes some motivation, but your health will thank you if you spend at least 15 minutes a day exercising. Try the following workout routine to get your heart rate up and reap the benefits of daily exercise:

  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • 1 minute bodyweight exercises (15 seconds of push-ups, 15 seconds of crunches, 15 seconds of lunges, 15 seconds of squats)
  • 5 minutes jump rope or jumping jacks
  • 1 minute repeated bodyweight exercises
  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 1 minute plank hold
  • 1 minute repeated bodyweight exercises
  • 1 minute jump rope or jumping jacks
  • 1 minute mountain climbers
  • 1 minute plank hold

This is just one exercise routine example that will have you partaking in cardio, strength building, and HIIT all at once – and it’s only 15 minutes long! Follow this routine or try putting together your own mix for a fast and effective daily workout routine.

Featured image by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

5 Delicious Winter Foods That Aid Fat Loss

For many people, the chill in the air that hits right before wintertime is a signal to go into a form of personal hibernation. This means less time outdoors, more time spend doing sedentary activities, and possible weight gain. That being said, there is no obligation to pack on the pounds during the winter months – remember, you aren’t actually hibernating!

The arrival of winter doesn’t mean you have to give up fresh fruit and vegetables in exchange for foods that are not going to be kind to your waistline. In fact, there are plenty of in-season winter foods that are great for losing weight or keeping your weight maintained, even during the cold and dark days of the season. Read on to learn more about some delicious winter foods that aid fat loss.

How can I lose fat in winter?

The key to losing fat in the winter is to eat healthily and exercise. While it may seem harder to eat healthily because the freshest produce isn’t available to everyone (especially those in colder climates), it can still be done.

The most important step to losing fat in the winter is maintaining your exercise program. If you usually exercise outside and can’t during the winter months, consider joining a gym or getting a piece of cardio equipment for your home. That way, any type of exercise you would have done in the great outdoors can still be done from the comfort of your own living room.

Once you have managed to keep your exercise routine in check, you can figure out what types of foods you should be incorporating into your diet so that not only is the produce fresh, it is also good for your waistline.

What should I eat to lose weight in winter?

Eating a diet rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is the best way to make sure that your weight loss journey stays on track throughout winter. Eating local and in-season is always better, because the further away from harvest a food is, the less nutrient-dense it becomes.

butternut squash
Image by Viviana Rishe on Unsplash: What foods help burn fat faster? 

So, what winter foods should you be adding to your diet for an extra weight loss boost over the winter season?

1. Butternut squash

Butternut squash isn’t only low in calories – it’s also high in filling fiber that will help keep your appetite regulated so you’re not tempted to overeat. A cup of butternut squash will cost you just 87 calories in exchange for 7 grams of fiber.

The type of fiber in butternut squash is important, too. The vegetable contains both insoluble and soluble fiber; soluble fiber keeps you fuller and reduces your appetite. Research has shown that diets higher in dietary fiber could help to reduce overall levels of body fat and promote weight loss.

2. Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are nutrient powerhouses and contain complex carbohydrates. This means the carb is linked with three or more different sugars, including fiber. While you won’t be able to scarf down sweet potato fries and still see fat loss, eating sweet potatoes the right way can help to promote fullness and reduce cravings, which aids in the reduction of calorie intake overall throughout the day.

3. Carrots

Carrots are a great in-season option, and not just because they’re versatile and delicious. Carrots contain high levels of nutrients and are low in calories, so they are able to help decrease cravings and encourage feelings of fullness. As is the case with butternut squash, it’s the fiber content of carrots that really helps aid in a reduced appetite.

4. Kale

Kale is one of the best foods you can eat when you’re trying to lose fat. The low-calorie vegetable has a high water content, and because of this combination, it has a low energy density. This means that you can eat a ton of kale and the calories won’t add up in the same way as other foods. Low energy density foods have been shown to significantly help with weight loss.

bunch of kale
Image by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash: How can I reduce my belly fat in the winter? Snack on some kale!

5. Beets

Beets are another in-season vegetable with a low energy density that can aid in weight loss. They also contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function at its best. Because of their high nutrient content, beets can help you keep off the fat; for example, the fiber they contain has been shown to aid in weight loss.

Beets may also help to improve athletic performance because of the nitrates they contain. Nitrates have been shown to improve the efficiency of certain parts of cells known as the mitochondria, in turn helping to fuel every cell in your body with the energy it needs to push you through a tough workout.

When the seasons change, it can be difficult to keep up with a routine. This is especially true when the days grow shorter and the nights longer, and the air gets a little too chilly to enjoy. While the winter does come with its downsides, the plus side is that you don’t have to give up on your weight loss journey just because the season has changed. Add the aforementioned foods to your diet this winter and you can reap nutritional benefits that will aid in fat loss all season long.

Featured image by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

Satisfying Winter Meals That Are Low In Calories

Eating healthily is important regardless of your weight. You want to give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs so you can feel good and stay protected from illness and chronic disease. While there is no shortage of healthy meals for you to incorporate into your diet to keep your body nourished, when winter rolls around and the temperatures drop, it’s easy to reach for hearty (but less-than-healthy) comfort foods.

That being said, winter doesn’t have to put a damper on your healthy eating routine. For those who are trying to lose weight, healthy eating in the winter is especially important because we tend to exercise less and become more sedentary during the colder months. Luckily, there are plenty of great meal ideas for you to try this winter that are low in calories as well as satisfying and comforting.

Weight loss and nutrient levels

Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. That’s why it’s important to think about long-term sustainability when it comes to losing those excess pounds. If you want to lose weight in a healthy way, you have to address some key issues: nutrient depletion, sleep habits, and hydration. Hydration and sleep may not be highly affected in the winter because it’s easy to keep up with your patterns even when the seasons change, but nutrient depletion can affect you without you even realizing it.

Take vitamin D, for example – otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin. In the wintertime, most people get less sun exposure. When that happens, vitamin D levels may plummet. Research has shown that there may even be a connection between low levels of vitamin D and weight gain. This is only one example, of course, but eating healthily in the winter is vital to make sure that your nutrient levels are where they need to be for your body to work for you and not against you on your weight loss journey.

winter stew
Image by W on Unsplash: What are some good dinner ideas for winter nights? A hearty stew is always a good option.

Low-calorie winter meals

A calorie deficit means you expend more energy than you consume, which is what leads to weight loss. To do this, you’ll have to make sure you’re adding some healthy, low-calorie, nutrient-dense meals into your diet. Below are some healthy winter recipes for weight loss that are bound to help you shed those extra pounds.

Vegetarian chili

Nothing says comfort food quite like a loaded bowl of vegetarian chili. It’s that warm, delicious mix of flavors that satisfies both your waistline and your tastebuds. To make vegetarian chili, you can choose your own variation of vegetables: sweet potato and black bean, butternut squash and red kidney beans, or even just your favorite bean mixed with carrots, celery and anything else you have on hand. Most vegetarian chilis can come in well under 450 calories per serving, and they’re so filling that you won’t even think about needing another bowl.

Slow cooker meatballs with zoodles

There’s nothing quite spending a winter’s day relaxing while your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting for you! A good slow cooker meatball recipe is just the trick to have a healthy meal without having to put a lot of work in. Use ground turkey instead of beef to make this meal even leaner and combine it with a pinch of paprika, a clove of garlic, and your low-calorie breadcrumbs of choice.

In the meantime, chop some onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and parsley, combine with tomato paste, and gently fry for about a minute before putting them into the slow cooker. Top the vegetables with your meatballs, set it on low, and spend the next five hours living your life! Once the meatballs are done, serve them over some zucchini noodles and voila: a healthy and hearty winter meal under 400 calories.

making zucchini noodles
Image by Igor Miske on Unsplash: What are some good healthy winter meals on a budget? Top zucchini noodles with meatballs for a tasty low-calorie dinner!

Good old-fashioned stew

Would it even be winter if you didn’t make a stew at least once? Similar to chili, the great thing about stew is that you can really make it your own. You can use any type of protein mixed with your favorite vegetables to create a low-calorie yet hearty meal.

To keep things simple and lean, try a chicken barley stew. You’ll need some boneless, skinless chicken, barley, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, potatoes, chicken broth, white wine or white wine vinegar, and the herbs of your choosing (typically, thyme, rosemary, and sage add a nice winter flavor).

Cook the chicken, then shred it with forks and set aside. Then sauté your vegetables, deglaze the pan with your white wine or vinegar, and add everything together to simmer for a good half hour to an hour. While this recipe may take some time, it’s high in protein and is less than 350 calories per serving.

These are just a few dinner ideas for winter nights that you’ll love to add into your rotation after you try them. Eating healthy, low-calorie meals doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the heartiness you enjoy when the temperature drops! Losing weight in the winter is entirely possible, and with the right meals, you’ll be that much closer to your goal by the time the last frost melts.

Featured image by American Heritage Chocolate on Unsplash

Why Lack Of Vitamin D In The Winter Poses A Serious Threat To Your Health

Between diets that lack the appropriate nutrients to the inability to store certain vitamins in the body, getting the recommended daily dose of all the essential nutrients one needs can be a difficult task. Some vitamins, such as vitamin D, are especially important for overall health. Since the vitamin’s primary source is sunshine, the winter months pose an increased risk of deficiency.  

Getting vitamin D the old-fashioned way is hindered for much of the winter season because there are less hours of sunlight, and less sunshine during cold and cloudy winter days. There’s also the common desire to avoid the cold by staying indoors much more than one might in the summer time. But how dangerous is a vitamin D deficiency, particularly in the colder months? Here’s why lack of vitamin D in the winter poses a serious threat to your health.

What is vitamin D and what does it do for the body?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. It is fat-soluble, which means it is synthesized within the body when the skin absorbs the sun’s rays, and then stored in fatty tissues. The nutrient is also absorbed into the body through food. Since it acts as both a vitamin and a steroid hormone, it is important for a variety of different processes throughout the body. One of the most important processes is calcium and phosphorous absorption, which helps with bone health. 

Vitamin D also plays a vital role in the function of the immune system, as it acts as both an immune system regulator and moderator. It is a nutrient that the immune system relies on to ensure that the response to pathogens is initiated properly to avoid infection and illness.

Other studies have found that vitamin D has exceptional disease-fighting abilities. It can help to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis, and can even prevent the development of the flu. The essential nutrient also plays a role in mood regulation and has been known to reduce symptoms of depression.

Vital RX - vitamin D
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: How to get vitamin D in winter? Get outside, even though it’s cold out.

What does it mean if you’re lacking vitamin D?

If you don’t get enough vitamin D in your system, your body becomes deficient and many of the processes that rely on the nutrient may begin to malfunction. There are many reasons that one may lack vitamin D. The amount needed will vary slightly from person to person, but there are daily recommended amounts based on age that most people should adhere to. For people aged nine and over, anywhere from 600 IU/day up to 4000 IU/day is recommended. The upper level intake is the highest amount of the vitamin that can be taken without adverse health effects.

Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by certain health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease. These diseases can cause the intestines to have difficulties absorbing the nutrient if it is taken as a supplement. Weight loss surgeries, obesity, and kidney and liver diseases can also play a role in vitamin D deficiency. The body’s ability to make vitamin D also decreases with age, and those who are less mobile and thus spend less time outside all year round can also suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

If vitamin D deficiency becomes severe it can cause rickets – a bone problem that affects mostly children and leads to bones that are easily bendable, breakable, and painful. Rickets can develop in adults, where it is referred to as osteomalacia. These conditions occur only in the most serious of vitamin D deficiency cases.

For those who are lacking in this essential nutrient but not yet suffering the most severe consequences, symptoms may appear to be mild in nature and include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness, cramps, or aches
  • Depression and other mood changes
  • Frequent infections
  • Back pain
  • Wounds that don’t heal properly or are slow to heal
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss

About one billion people in the world are suspected to be deficient in vitamin D, and it is one of the most commonly found nutritional deficiencies worldwide.

How to get vitamin D in winter

Getting vitamin D in winter can be tricky. Since people spend less time outdoors, the chances of a deficiency in winter are greater, thus more vitamin D may need to be introduced through other means during those cold months. A great way to keep vitamin D levels up naturally in the winter is by getting outside as much as possible. Even if it’s cold out, if the sun is shining, your body can still absorb the rays and synthesize vitamin D.

Another great way to get more vitamin D in the winter months is through diet. The best food options to get as much vitamin D as possible include:

  • Pork
  • Mushrooms
  • Fatty fish such as mackerel, oysters, shrimp, and tuna
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Vitamin D-enriched foods such as orange juice, cereal, soy milk, and yogurt
Vital RX - mushrooms
Image by Cocoparisienne on Pixabay: Mushrooms are an excellent dietary option to get more vitamin D in the winter.

You may also want to increase your intake along with your enriched diet with vitamin D supplementation. If you believe your vitamin D levels are severely low, getting a blood test with your primary care physician can let you know just how much you need to restore yourself to adequate levels. They may opt for a prescription supplement of vitamin D or recommend a good over-the-counter supplement.

Getting enough vitamin D in the winter may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. In the winter months, it is especially important to have enough of the nutrient because it can help ward off infection and chronic disease. As the winter season is typically flu and cold season, you’ll want to avoid getting sick as best you can with adequate levels of vitamin D.

Featured image by Free-Photos on Pixabay

4 Easy Steps To A Simple Winter Detox

As the body’s largest organ, the liver has a pretty big job to do. Along with over 500 other different functions, it provides the body with the much-needed exit door for toxins. It does this by filtering out all the blood that comes through the digestive tract and sorting through different nutrients, toxins, and hormones.

Since the liver is a detoxifier all on its own, it can be hard to imagine how you can help the process out. But some detox programs can actually give the liver a little boost when it comes to getting its job done properly. During winter, a specific type of detox may be especially important because the what the body needs during those cold months of the year is different than in other seasons. So, what is a winter detox, exactly, and how can you do it for optimal health? Read on for our easy steps to a simple winter detox.

What is a winter detox?

In the simplest terms, a winter detox is just a detoxification program that occurs in the winter season. There’s much more to it than just doing your simple juicing and cleansing, though. A detox is designed to reset and rejuvenate the body to help battle fatigue and other unhelpful symptoms that happen when the body is weighed down by too many toxins.

When it comes to winter detoxification, the idea is to focus on eating better, moving more (even though it can be hard to get outside exercise), and balancing your body and mind. A winter detox should include foods that have warming properties to ensure that the optimal metabolic state is reached. It’s important to keep warm in the winter for overall health because when the internal temperature is stable, the body is more likely to be able to fight off viruses and infections.   

Vital RX - winter soup
Image by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash: How can I detox my body at home naturally? Start with your diet.

What are the benefits of a detox diet for winter?

When the seasons change, the body undergoes some changes, too. This is because it has to prepare itself to adapt for the colder temperatures. Processes like metabolism, hormone levels, and circulation all need to adjust when colder temperatures roll in. Lifestyle changes such as more indoor time and the consumption of heavier comfort foods can also lead to changes in the body. With all these different changes come all-new toxins for your body, some of which it might not be used to.

The biggest benefit of doing a winter detox is to help your body adjust to those changes. Since there will be new toxins to eliminate, the body will need to be ready and able to get rid of them so that any side effects from being over-toxified don’t set in. Think of it as a fresh start for your liver.

How can I detox my body in winter safely?

If you want to do a detox, it might be tempting to look up a quick three-day program so you can get it over with. However, the safest way to detox the liver is by taking your time. This is because toxins need ample time to be released from the body or they may end up sticking around and triggering an inflammatory response. This can lead to flu-like symptoms (and the feeling that you’re hurting your body more than helping).

You don’t want to end up overloading your detox pathways so that nothing can get out, so you’ll also want to pay close attention to what you’re putting into your body during a detox. If you’re trying to eliminate toxins but continue to consume others, it’s a losing game. You have to be tuned into your body and really listen to it. If something doesn’t feel right, chances are you should slow the detox program down.

How do you do a simple detox?

Here are our four key steps to a simple winter detox.

1. Start with your diet

Eating a proper diet is vital to a winter detox. You’ll want to eat warming foods designed to help keep the body’s temperature where it needs to be during long bouts of cold weather. Start by eliminating sugars, processed foods, and caffeine from the diet, and eating winter detox foods such as healthy soups, walnuts, fruits like blueberries and cranberries, Brussels sprouts, and salmon.

2. Practice mindful relaxation

Mental or emotional health is just as important as physical health during a detox. When stress is at an all-time high, the body can have a more difficult time removing toxins, as the overabundance of stress hormones slows the detoxification process.Taking a long mineral bath or doing an online yoga class from the warmth and comfort of your own home can go a long way toward reaching a nice and relaxed state.

Vital RX - winter
Image by Clint Patterson on Unsplash: A winter detox can be as simple as just a few lifestyle changes.

3. Stay warm

Feeling sluggish in the winter happens to everyone. Less vitamin D, coupled with the fact that circulation suffers in cold temperatures by trying to preserve warmth for the internal organs, can lead to winter tiredness. Stay cozy with warm socks, blankets, sweaters, or heating options when you’re in your home.

4. Supplement where necessary

Even if your diet is ideal and your winter detox is going smoothly, supplementation can help make sure that your body is getting what it needs while it’s hard at work getting rid of what it doesn’t. Riboflavin is a great supplement to take because of its immune supporting benefits, and milk thistle, dandelion root, and turmeric can all help the liver get the toxins out.

Doing a winter liver detox can help you rid the body of the toxins that build up over the course of the colder months, and keep you healthy throughout a season where many people are more susceptible to illness.

Featured image by Rodolfo Sanches Carvalho on Unsplash

14 Immune-Boosting Winter Foods To Fight Off Illness

The immune system can always use an extra boost, but that is especially true in the winter months. During the winter, colds and flus typically affect people in higher numbers because people are more likely to stay in enclosed spaces for longer and because viruses thrive in the cold, low-humidity conditions.

Making sure your immune system is up to par when flu season rolls around is crucial to warding off illness and keeping yourself healthy all year round. There are plenty of things you can do to stay on top of your immune function – including eating some immune-boosting winter foods.

What are home remedies to boost your immune system?

There are a few things you can do for your immune system that require little effort and can be done from the comfort of your own home. Getting enough quality sleep is vital to immune health because the less quality sleep a person gets, the more likely their immune system will weaken, leaving them open to illness.

Moderate exercise is also a great way to help improve the functionality of the immune system. Research has shown that people who engage in moderate exercise regularly, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, light hiking, and biking, show an improvement in the way their immune system functions. The one caveat is that the activity shouldn’t be too intense, as intense bouts of exercise can actually suppress immune function.  

Staying hydrated is also a simple way to keep the immune system up to par. Dehydration can cause a variety of ailments such as headaches, mood imbalances, and heart and kidney issues, and when the body is fighting to stay healthy on its own, it has a hard time fighting off pathogens. It’s also worth noting that keeping stress levels down can have a positive effect on immune function. You can reduce stress through relaxation exercises such as meditation or yoga.  

Vital RX - winter exercise
Image by Einar H. Reynis on Unsplash: How do I boost my immune system to fight a cold? Try some moderate exercise such as jogging.

What foods boost your immune system when sick?

Diet is the best way to ensure that your immune system is running at its best. If a cold or flu has already taken hold of your body, there are specific foods that can lessen the duration and severity of the illness by boosting your immune function and getting you back to health.

  1. Broths. Broths are great when you’re sick because they keep you hydrated, are easy to stomach, and contain vital nutrients that the immune system needs to be ready for battle.
  2. Garlic. Garlic has both antibacterial and antiviral effects, so it’s a great addition to your diet if you’ve caught a cold. It has been shown to help stimulate the immune system.
  3. Honey. Honey is full of antimicrobial compounds, which give it antibacterial effects. This has led to honey being used to help people ward off illnesses and get over common flus and colds.
  4. Oatmeal. Oatmeal is bland enough to eat while sick but also packs a punch when it comes to helping you get over that pesky cold. Oats contain beta-glucans, which stimulate the immune response.
  5. Berries. The immune-boosting effects of berries come from polyphenols, a type of antioxidant.
  6. Green leafy vegetables. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach have vitamin C, beta carotene, and antioxidants. When consumed regularly, they can give the body a better chance at fighting off infection.  
  7. Citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, a vital nutrient for immune health. The vitamin plays a role in the production of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infection. Having more white blood cells will make the immune response stronger.
  8. Yogurt. Natural yogurt is high in vitamin D, a nutrient that helps regulate the immune system and its response to outside invaders.Vitamin D can also be found in supplement form, and in Vital RX’s Immune Health Subscription Box.
  9. Bell peppers. Bell peppers have both vitamin C and beta-carotene, two crucial nutrients for optimal immune health.
  10. Sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are a great immunity booster because they are full of nutrients that help immune function, such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, and magnesium.
  11. Kiwi. When the body is fighting off an infection, it needs all the nutrients it can get. The kiwifruit is a superfood of sorts and is full of essential nutrients such as folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
  12. Almonds. The immune system requires vitamin E to do its job; almonds are packed with this nutrient.
  13. Papaya. Another vitamin C-packed fruit that you can eat while sick is papaya. The fruit also contains a specific digestive enzyme known as papain that lowers inflammation throughout the body.
  14. Shellfish. Shellfish may not be your first thought when considering immune-boosting foods, but they are a great food to eat when sick. This is because they have a ton of zinc, a mineral that helps immune cells function properly.

This list, although not exhaustive, is a great place to start when thinking about boosting your immune system this winter. The important thing to remember is the vital nutrients that are needed to help ward off infection and keep the immune system running strongly.

Specific nutrients that are vital to immune health include:

  • Vitamin C. (Spinach, kale, strawberries)
  • Vitamin E. (Nuts, seeds, oils)
  • Vitamin A. (Carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash)
  • Vitamin D. (Salmon, tuna, fortified cereals)
  • Folate/Folic acid. (Enriched foods such as pasta, bread, and rice)
  • Iron. (Red meat, chicken, turkey, beans, broccoli)
  • Selenium. (Seafood, poultry, cottage cheese)
  • Zinc. (Baked beans, yogurt, chickpeas)
Vital RX - shrimp
Image by Elle Hughes on Unsplash: Shellfish such as shrimp pack a lot of iron, an immune-boosting food.

If the immune system is functioning properly, it becomes a lot harder for pathogens to infiltrate the body. Eating immune-boosting foods all year round is a great way to keep your health up to par, but adding them in when temperatures start to drop can be a great immunity boost in winter.

Featured image by Bluebird Provisions on Unsplash

How To Avoid Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) This Winter

As the seasons change, different types of health conditions become more prevalent. In spring, many people suffer from heightened allergies, while in summer, those with asthma may experience worsened symptoms, and winter poses a bigger threat for the spread of the flu.

The beginning of fall is generally the prime time for Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, to come into effect. But what exactly is SAD? And is there anything you can do to combat symptoms if you suffer from the condition?

What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mental health issue that appears when the colder weather begins to roll around. It is not considered to be its own entity, but rather a form of depression that occurs seasonally, at the same time every year. In cases of SAD, depression symptoms tend to go into remission during other seasons of the year and return again like clockwork when autumn begins.

SAD leads to mood changes that generally have a person feeling down for an extended period of time. It can sometimes affect people in the spring or summer, but mostly occurs in the fall and winter months. This has led to the disorder being referred to as winter depression, or the “winter blues”.

General feelings of sadness can occur naturally when the cold weather starts to hit and the year winds down. Such feelings are not generally considered a case of SAD, but when mood changes begin to affect daily activities in a negative way, it’s more likely to be considered Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is generally recurrent in individuals who suffer from the condition; it doesn’t just happen over the course of one seasonal change, but rather every year around the same time.

Vital RX - SAD
Image by freestocks on Unsplash: Less daylight is one of the main reasons researchers believe people develop SAD.

How does SAD affect you?

Since SAD is a type of major depression that only occurs for four or five months out of the year, the symptoms tend to present the same as they would in someone with year-round depression. Those who suffer from depression at all points of the year tend to experience symptoms that may or may not appear in those with SAD.

The typical symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness, and depressive thoughts
  • Losing interest in hobbies or other activities that you used to enjoy
  • Appetite changes and weight fluctuations
  • Sleep interruptions
  • Feeling short-tempered or sluggish
  • Depleted energy levels
  • Cognitive difficulties such as problems with focus and concentration
  • In serious cases, thoughts of suicide or death

For those with SAD, other symptoms may take hold. They also differ depending on the time of the year SAD sets in and vary on a person-by-person basis. Typical symptoms that occur in people suffering from winter SAD include:

  • Hypersomnia or oversleeping
  • Overeating with a high focus on carbohydrates 
  • Weight gain caused by overeating
  • Feelings of wanting to hibernate and withdraw socially

The symptoms of summer-induced SAD are different than those experienced in the winter months. They include:

  • Insomnia
  • Weight loss and decreased or poor appetite
  • Restlessness and agitation, which may lead to violent behavior
  • Increased levels of anxiety

To get a diagnosis, one must describe their symptoms and the pattern of their symptoms to a mental health professional to determine if SAD is the cause behind their mood changes.

How long does SAD last and who does it usually affect?

Depending on the person, SAD generally lasts anywhere from four to five months. Once the seasons begin to change again, symptoms tend to dissipate. Some research suggests that SAD is caused by changes in the amount of daylight one gets. In winter-onset SAD, the lack of sunlight contributes, while in the less common summer-onset SAD, the culprit is the presence of too much sunlight.

Young women with a family history of depression are generally most at risk for the illness, as well as those who live far away from the equator. The risk for developing SAD tends to decrease as people get older.

Vital RX - seasonal depression
Image by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash: Many people with winter-onset SAD socially withdraw, like a form of hibernation.

How do you fight SAD?

Dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder can be tough, but there are ways to cope with the mood changes and symptoms that come along with seasonal depression. One of the best ways to combat SAD is through the use of light therapy. This therapy is performed using a bright light that is meant to mimic the natural light of the morning hours. If used in within the first hour of waking for at least 40 minutes, light therapy can be shown to improve mood by changing levels of brain chemicals.

Other forms of treatment include antidepressant medications or psychotherapy sessions to help improve symptoms. Some natural forms of treatment include mind-body connection activities such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, and music and art therapy.

Seasonal Affective Disorder affects around 4–6% of people seriously, while a mild form of the illness can affect up to 20% of Americans every year. The people affected are generally located throughout the northern part of the country, where weather changes are more prevalent. Although the symptoms of SAD can sometimes be debilitating, knowing the right ways to combat them can mean all the difference when it comes to coping with a recurring case of the winter blues.

Featured image by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

11 Supplements That Can Boost Your Energy Levels This Winter

With winter on the way, energy levels are bound to decrease. Less time outside in the sunshine and warm weather can make even the healthiest person feel as though they need an afternoon nap. But even if your energy levels take a hit because of seasonal changes, there are ways to improve them.

The body relies heavily on different processes to stay balanced. Everything from the immune system to organ function can have detrimental effects on energy levels. The energy metabolism is one of those systems that needs a constant flow of the right things to operate at its best. Getting the proper amount of restful sleep, exercise, hydration, vitamins and nutrients can all make a huge difference when battling dips in energy this winter – and so can supplements that boost energy levels.

What is the energy metabolism?

When the food you consume is digested, the body breaks it down to single out certain nutrients. It sends these where they need to go and converts them into energy. The chemical reactions that are undergone to transform food to energy exist in a cycle, which needs to be steady to be ideal.

Vital RX - healthy foods
Image by Brooke Lark on Unsplash: How can I boost my energy level in the winter? As well as eating a nutritious, balanced diet, you can add some supplements to your routine.

What is the best vitamin to take in winter?

The body goes through many changes with the seasons. For example, for people in areas where the weather grows cold, their brain signals their body to begin storing more fat for the winter as an evolutionary response to having less food. This circannual rhythm can lead to increased levels of metabolic syndrome, leaving people with lower levels of energy and feelings of chronic fatigue. 

To battle the effects of seasonal changes, supplements can help. The best vitamins to take in the winter to help keep energy levels up include:

Vitamin D

Since there is less sun and it can be harder to spend time outdoors, many people suffer from lowered levels of vitamin D during the winter months. This seemingly unavoidable deficiency can be managed with a higher intake of the vitamin.

Vitamin C

Flu season often begins in the fall and goes well into winter. When the risk of coming down with the illness increases, energy levels could be compromised when the immune system is working harder to keep you healthy. Vitamin C can assist immunity, thus helping to keep energy levels where they should be.


Both iron and energy metabolism are directly related to respiratory health. Iron is needed to help transport oxygen throughout the body. If oxygen levels are depleted because of low levels of iron, fatigue will take over.

Supplements that boost energy levels

Battling chronic fatigue can be difficult, especially in the winter months. But there are quite a few supplements that can be taken regularly to help keep up energy levels when they feel depleted. These include:


Considered a medicinal herb in Ayurveda medicine, ashwagandha has been shown to solidify resilience throughout the body when under bouts of great mental or physical stress. The stress caused by seasonal changes can be curbed with the use of this supplement, thus increasing energy levels.

Coenzyme Q10

The body uses CoQ10 to protect against oxidative damage. If there isn’t enough of this nutrient available, energy levels will suffer due to lessened availability of much-needed oxygen.

Vitamin B12

Although seasonal changes may not contribute to lower levels of B12, not having enough can often lead to worsened symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD can lead to fatigue, so supplementation with B12 could combat this.


Creatine has a direct effect on the body’s energy levels because it gives phosphate to the adenosine triphosphate molecule. The ADP provides energy to cells, so if it is without the necessary phosphate, energy levels can suffer.

Vital RX - winter energy levels
Image by Ben White on Unsplash: What vitamins can I take to increase my energy levels in the winter?

Vital RX Energy Box

Vital RX has created a number of different subscription boxes with supplements designed to keep you healthy all year round. The Immune Subscription Box is full of immune-boosting ingredients to help battle seasonal flu and cold, while the Energy Box can help keep your stamina up even on the coldest, darkest days. Here are some of the supplements contained in these boxes:

MIC Combo Blend

Generally used in fat loss, lipotropic injections can help promote overall fat loss in the body when used in conjunction with diet and exercise. The use of this supplement in the Energy Box is to help people get to a healthy weight, which improves energy levels.


Synapsin are proteins. They are in their highest amounts within the nervous system and have a direct effect on cell metabolism regulation. Synapsin work with the ATP to help keep energy levels where they’re supposed to be.


The sex hormone DHEA is commonly known as the “youth hormone”. It boosts bone strength and can help increase memory function and bone health.


To help support bone density, lean body mass, and increased muscle mass, the peptide MK677 is included in the Energy Box. It has shown to be effective in reducing overall body weight, which can lead to better energy expenditure.

The aforementioned supplements can assist in keeping everything running as it should so that you can stay energized through the winter months. Vitamins for fatigue tend to contribute to a variety of other processes within the body, so it’s often a win-win to add these into your routine.

Featured image by Freestocks on Unsplash