Know Your Vitamins!

It’s important to take a combination of vitamins to keep you feeling good this Winter and to help prevent unwanted coughs and colds. Award-winning pharmacist and PillTime founder Paul Mayberry gives the following advice on what you should be including in your diet this Winter.

Vitamin D

From  October until early March we don’t get any Vitamin D from sunlight. The vitamin is made by our body under the skin in reaction to sunlight, so it’s important to introduce good food sources in the Winter such as:

  • oily fish – salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • fortified foods such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals
  • or dietary supplements – in the UK, cows’ milk is generally not a good source of vitamin D because it isn’t fortified, as it is in some other countries.

The Department of Health recommends that people should take a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D throughout the year if they: are not often outdoors, such as those who are frail or housebound, are in an institution such as a care home or usually wear clothes that cover up most of their skin when outdoors

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and has several important functions. It helps to protect cells and keeps them healthy, is necessary for the maintenance of healthy connective tissue and helps wound healing. Good sources of Vitamin C can be found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables such as:

  • oranges and orange juice
  • red and green peppers
  • strawberries
  • blackcurrants
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • potatoes

Zinc

Zinc has become a popular treatment for the common cold. The NHS says taking zinc syrup, tablets or lozenges may be an effective treatment for colds.  Taking zinc supplements within a day of the symptoms starting will speed up recovery and lessen the severity of symptoms! It helps to make new cells and enzymes, processes carbohydrate, fat and protein in food and helps with the healing of wounds and fighting infections. Zinc is found widely in the environment and in foods such as:

  • meat
  • shellfish
  • dairy e.g. cheese
  • bread
  • cereal products – e.g. wheatgerm

Vitamin B Complex

Referred to as Vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 — play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines. These essential nutrients help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. While many of the following vitamins work in tandem, each has its own specific benefits, Vitamin B complex can increase energy, enhance mood, improve memory, and stimulate the immune system. Vitamin B5 is found in almost all foods. To boost your intake of B vitamins, look for the following foods:

  • cereals, and whole grains (a source of B1, B2, and B3
  • green leafy vegetables (a source of B2 and B9)
  • eggs (a source of B7 and B12)
  • chicken (a source of B3, B6 and B12)
  • citrus fruits (a source of B9)
  • nuts (a source of B3 and B9)
  • kidney beans (a source of B1 and B2)
  • bananas (a source of B6 and B7)

This advice comes from pharmacist Paul Mayberry the creator of PillTime  – the free NHS online pharmacy