As Fall and Winter rolls in and flu season begins to rear its ugly head, it's important to take all the precautions you can to keep yourself and your family healthy. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining proper hygiene is a good place to start, but it may not always be enough to ward off the flu. Keep your body in tip-top shape this season with this guide to essential vitamins you should take daily.
With the sun often in short supply during the long winter months, vitamin D is easily one of the most essential vitamins you should take daily. Vitamin is usually gained from sun exposure and, as such, vitamin D deficiencies become increasingly common during the winter. Vitamin D deficiencies are mostly seen in elderly individuals, but they can occur in younger adults and children as well. Taking a daily vitamin D supplement will reduce the risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency and suffering subsequent ailments, such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
As mothers around the world will agree, calcium is the key to developing strong bones and teeth. However, many children and adults do not get enough calcium on a daily basis. Like with vitamin D, a calcium deficiency can lead to certain bone-related illnesses and may put you at an increased risk of broken bones. The most common illness related to calcium deficiency is hypocalcemia, which can be characterized by fatigue, muscle aches and spasms, and dry or itchy skin.
While iron can be found in various foods, many adults do not receive their proper daily iron amount. This may be due to the fact that everyone requires a different amount of iron. Certain individuals, such as those who are pregnant or going through puberty, will likely require a higher daily amount. Because iron is commonly found in red meat, those who maintain a vegetarian diet are often at higher risk of developing an iron deficiency and can benefit greatly from a daily iron supplement.
To maintain a healthy immune system throughout flu season, be sure to take a daily zinc supplement. Zinc levels tend to be lower in older individuals or people experiencing stress. When zinc levels are low, your immune system does not work as well as it should and may make you more susceptible to the flu or common cold. Zinc deficiency can be characterized by a loss of appetite, diarrhea, or certain skin problems, such as acne or eczema.
Magnesium is another nutrient that is crucial to bone health and energy production. While certain foods are rich in magnesium, including spinach, beans, and nuts, it may take a magnesium supplement to ensure you are meeting your body's daily nutrition needs. Magnesium ensures your body's enzymes are properly functioning and aids in nutrient digestion and absorption. Because magnesium also plays such an important role in your body's metabolism, taking a daily magnesium supplement can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and other diseases related to magnesium deficiency.
Written by LouAnn Moss for The Healthy Moms Magazine