Depending on where you live in North America, you may be in the middle of a February freeze, one of the coldest times of the year. And there are chilling reasons why this is so.
Interestingly enough, the winter solstice in late December is the day when minimal sun exposure occurs, so it would be easy to assume that this would be one of the coldest times of the year. However, there is some energy exchange going on into space between the sun and the earth. Yes, the earth gets energy from the sun, and the earth also emits energy.
During the two months following the winter solstice, the earth releases more energy than it receives, sending temperatures spiralling downward in the Northern hemisphere. Think of it as the period of time when the heat that the earth absorbed from the previous summer slowly cools off, leading to frozen Februarys.
Chilly weather often increases the likelihood of catching a cold. Have you ever wondered why it’s called a cold? Back in the 1500s, the symptoms of the common cold resembled exposure-to-cold symptoms, so “cold” it was named.
As for the actual cause, humidity is much lower during the winter, creating an environment that increases the chances of survival for the most common cold-causing viruses, including rhinoviruses and coronaviruses (Note: there are many common coronaviruses, not just SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.) It has also been suggested that cold temperatures dry out the nasal lining, which allows easier penetration by cold viruses.
And just like the unspeakable virus that haunts us all of late, the best ways to avoid exposure to viruses is by avoiding contact with others who are infected, washing your hands frequently, breaking the face-touching habit, cleaning frequently touched surfaces with disinfectant and wearing face masks.
(Note about mask-wearing: In Asian countries, the wearing of face masks is second nature to most people, who do so for a variety of reasons, including protecting others from catching their colds. Now that’s being considerate.)
If you have managed to read this far, you may have started to wonder where nutrition comes in. Keep hanging in there. It’s coming.
Hunger Sets In
One of the many results of winter living is that exposure to cold lowers body temperature, burning more calories and increasing the likelihood of consuming more calories to compensate.
It’s easy to imagine returning from a refreshing hike during which you constantly see your breath in clouds of mist. You crave comfort food. This is one of the reasons people tend to put on extra weight during winter. As well, the reduced availability of fresh fruit and vegetables (or lack of appeal) can lead to less healthy food choices.
This is where nutrition and winter may have an impact on the immune system: your built-in health defender. It’s a fact that nutrient-deficient diets “can impair the production and activity of immune cells and antibodies.” Additionally, processed foods limit the variety and number of nutrients, which can have a negative effect on the immune system.
Then there’s the microbial side of the immune system: good bacteria. Eating poorly can disturb these beneficial microbes and lead to gut issues and suppressed immunity.
Of course, a healthy diet doesn’t apply to winter only; it’s a year-round health necessity. It’s simply worth a constant reminder given the nature of the winter season, with its increased risk of colds and flus (not to mention the virus that has caused a worldwide pandemic): It’s vital get nourishment that supports a healthy immune system.
AIM Winter Nutrition
Being able to dip into the plant nutrients provided by a year-round garden is a godsend for those who live where it never gets cold. The Garden Trio is a blessing for those who live in frigid zones, where gardens remain inhibited by cold temperatures until the spring. BarleyLife (or BarleyLife Xtra), Just Carrots and RediBeets deliver a year-round abundance and diversity of nutrients in the juice powders of barley leaves, carrots and beets that are easily mixed and consumed even on the coldest night of the year.
Gardens produce greens that fall into the category of superfoods: arugula, broccoli sprouts, kale, spinach and Swiss chard. AIM produces two super whole-food powders using all five of these garden greens combined with barley leaf juice powder: LeafGreens and CoCoa LeafGreens.
You can even get protein from the garden. Peas are a rich source of vegetable protein. ProPeas makes it a supplemental source that is available throughout the entire year.
There’s so much more available to further support your immune system this winter. FloraFood repopulates your microbiome with three good strains of bacteria. Fit ’n Fiber feeds those good bacteria while increasing your fiber intake. Proancynol 2000 supports a strong immune system by delivering protection from seven antioxidant-rich ingredients. And the AIM list of support goes on.
For a nutritional boost season after season, supplement with AIM nutrition that works.