Valuable vitamins: how to get enough, even in winter

What seems easy in the summer can be a challenge in winter. Your immune system has to deal with all sorts of viruses and bacteria. This is the time of year when you need to pay special attention to your diet.
In summer you're full of energy, but as soon as winter approaches you feel tired and weak. There could be a reason for this. Many people find it difficult to eat healthily in the winter. The range of fresh fruit and vegetables is limited and you get tempted by sweets and biscuits instead. Your body lacks the important vitamins and nutrients it needs to strengthen your defences and it becomes more susceptible to viruses.

Vitamins from a packet?

Many people rely on food supplements to compensate for their "sins”. But it's not that simple, unfortunately. Providing your body with a balanced diet means giving it enough of all the important nutrients through the food you eat. It needs enough vitamins, minerals, trace elements and dietary fibre to stay healthy and productive. Vitamins in tablet form can supplement a healthy diet but they are not a substitute.

Give sauerkraut a chance

Experts recommend that we eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. In summer there is an abundance of fruit and vegetables, but even in winter you still have plenty of choice. Sauerkraut and cabbage are great sources of vitamin C. They help your immune system build up its defences. Just 150 grams of sauerkraut is enough to cover your daily requirement. Frozen vegetables are also much better than their reputation leads us to believe. Flash freezing preserves almost all their vitamins.

Local even in winter

The range of locally grown fruit and veg is much wider than you might expect. All types of cabbage, leeks, carrots and of course fruit that can be stored for a long time, such as apples and pears, are also available in the winter from Swiss growers. Buying local is also good for your health as imported food loses many valuable nutrients during the long time spent in transit. Search the internet for a seasonal calendar of Swiss fruit and vegetables and you might be surprised.

Pay special attention to the sunshine vitamin

Vitamin D supports your calcium metabolism and strengthens your bones and muscles. Although your body produces its own vitamin D, it needs sunlight to do this. So in the winter you should eat foods rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish like salmon or mackerel. Vitamin D is also found in eggs and mushrooms. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a deficiency.

Find a healthy mix

Even if you can’t avoid every cough and cold, there's a lot you can do to stay fit in winter. A balanced diet and exercise in the fresh air are key. After a snowball fight, you can treat yourself to a few biscuits with a clear conscience.

Were you paying attention?

Then you can answer our quiz question before you head out into the snow: