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Understanding How Your Nutritional Intake Varies with The Change in Season

As the winter season is setting in and the temperature is falling, people are shifting to warmer clothes and shoes and preferring to stay at home. But despite all the changes, people still stick to the same diet routine they follow every season. They don't realize that the food or diet they consume in the summer may not necessarily complete their body's nutrition requirements in winter.


But how is your diet linked to seasons? If you have this question in mind, read along. This blog talks about how nutritional intake varies from season to season and how you can make the right changes to fill the nutritional gaps adequately.

The more you learn about dietary intake from season to season, the more you can enjoy the health benefits of the foods you eat. So, keep scrolling to get all the details.

How Does a Change in Season Affect your Body?

As you shift from shorts to comfy trousers and hoodies, it is also important to recognize how your body is adapting to the change with the change in seasons. Here's how your body is affected by the seasonal change: -

  • Change in Body Temperature - During summer, people often crave lighter and cooler foods. That is because of thermoregulation, the process your body performs to maintain the right body temperature.
  • But with the falling temperature in the environment, the body has to work harder to keep its temperature warm. Therefore, it demands more energy and, thus, more calories.
  • Insulin Resistance - During late summers and early winter, your body increases insulin resistance. It is to store fat in the tissues and make itself well prepared for the chilly winters. That is why people tend to gain more weight in winter.
  • Dry skin - Due to a decrease in temperature and humidity in autumn and winter, dry skin is something you might notice with the shift in temperature.
  • Flu - The risk of flu is another common effect of change in the seasons. The shifting of seasons lead to changes in temperature that can stress your body, leading to the weakening of your immune system.
  • SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a form of depression that happens to several people during the onset of winter. It is the time when you feel depressed and sad. The best way to fight the disorder is to add more carbs to the diet as it boosts the mood. Carbs consist of insulin that drives tryptophan to your brain, which gets transformed into the feel-good hormone called serotonin.

How Does Nutrition Come into Play?

As seasons change, the body's requirement for various nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and food, in general, also change. For example, during summers, the Vitamin D intake is higher as you tend to go out more, and the sun shines bright during the season.

But in winter, you face the sun less often. That means lesser absorption of Vitamin D through the sun's rays. That is why you must add foods like tuna, etc., to add Vitamin D to your diet in winter.

Let us take another example. An orange taste betters and has much more Vitamin C in winter than in summer or spring seasons. Or, summer fruits have more water content to keep you cooler, while winter vegetables provide warmth which is better than consuming a slice of watermelon in winter. That's how and why seasonal food matters and why you must consider it.

Also, if you keep focusing on what you eat in summer or spring and continue consuming the same in the winter season, you might not get all the essential nutrients in the right amount for your body. That is because summer foods have to be preserved with artificial agents so that they can be consumed during the other seasons. And during this process, the food loses most of its nutrients and flavors, depleting most of its health benefits. All that proves why seasonal food and organic nutrition are your best friends.

Do You Know What Nutrients You Tend to Lack in Specific Seasons?

Winter Season

Embracing yourselves with the elements of winter during the winter season is not the only thing you should do. You must also take care of the nutrients you might miss during the cold season. Here are the nutrients you might miss out on in winter: -

  • Potassium
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Fiber

Summer Season

You not only lose water through sweating during summer but also essential nutrients and minerals like: -

  • Electrolytes
  • Vitamin A

Does Your Diet and Body Lack Nutrients? How To Find Out?

While lack of different nutrients leads to different symptoms, here's what you'll generally notice if your diet doesn't offer your body the nutrients it needs:

  • Hair fall – falling of big clumps of hair on the pillow, in the shower, etc., might be because of lack of Iron in your body.

  • Fatigue – Unexplained fatigue occurs commonly due to a lack of Vitamin D.

  • Dry Skin – Vitamin A is responsible for the tissues that cover the surface of your body, be it from inside or outside. Reduced Vitamin A in the body can lead to dry and itchy skin.

  • Deterioration of Night Vision – It is another symptom of a lack of vitamin A.

  • Irregular Heartbeat – It signifies that you might not be getting enough calcium.

How to Fill those Gaps with Dietary Supplements and Food?

Nutrient deficiencies are common. But once identified, you must take quick actions and make the right changes in your dietary patterns to ensure you stay healthy. Here's what you can do to fill these nutrient gaps in your diet: -

  • Eat the right food – Focus on what is available in the market for you to eat, depending on the seasons. Make sure you consume enough amount of fiber. Fiber is easily available in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and fiber supplements. Even if you are on a diet and avoiding fats and carbs, make sure you still consume a certain amount of fats, proteins, and carbs. If you are a vegan, you can opt for plant protein and other vegan sources of nutrients. It is crucial for producing energy in the body and also enhances vitamin absorption.

  • Make vegetable soups – It is a simple way of getting all goodness of vegetables regardless of the season. Add preferably seasonal veggies to get maximum health benefits and organic nutrition with good taste and flavors.

  • Do not forget to add Vitamin C – Vitamin C is needed all year round. It helps you stay healthy during the changing seasons by boosting your immune system.

  • Take dietary supplementsSupplements are one of the best ways to provide shortfall nutrients. These are very helpful for filling nutrient gaps. Even if you are the healthiest eater, you could be missing out on nutrients. That is where a multivitamin supplement helps.

Wrapping Up

If you wish to stay healthy regardless of the seasons, you must not rely on the same type of food all year long. With the change in seasons, the ratios of nutrients, like fats, proteins, carbs, etc., in your diet must also change.

However, if you cannot make changes in your diet, make sure to add natural supplements. This way, even if your diet lacks the nutrients, the supplements will cover your body's nutritional requirements.

References

  • Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research; Marriott BM, editor. Nutritional Needs in Hot Environments: Applications for Military Personnel in Field Operations. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1993. 10, Effects of Heat on Appetite. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK236229/

  • Moellering DR, Smith DL Jr. Ambient Temperature and Obesity. Curr Obes Rep. 2012 Mar 1;1(1):26-34. doi: 10.1007/s13679-011-0002-7. PMID: 24707450; PMCID: PMC3975627. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3975627/

  • Melrose S. Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview of Assessment and Treatment Approaches. Depress Res Treat. 2015;2015:178564. doi: 10.1155/2015/178564. Epub 2015 Nov 25. PMID: 26688752; PMCID: PMC4673349. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4673349/

  • Chauhan K, Shahrokhi M, Huecker MR. Vitamin D. [Updated 2022 Sep 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441912/

  • Hodge C, Taylor C. Vitamin A Deficiency. [Updated 2022 May 15]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK567744/

  • Johnson K, Sattari M. Vitamin D deficiency and fatigue: an unusual presentation. Springerplus. 2015 Oct 7;4:584. doi: 10.1186/s40064-015-1376-x. PMID: 26543719; PMCID: PMC4628075. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4628075/

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