So arm yourself against a winter blues NOW

In winter our body is put to the test, the cold and dark days can sometimes affect our health a little. One notices this more than the other. But how can we protect ourselves from a winter blues?

Winter dips, vitamin D deficiency, colds, weight gain and not to forget the flu epidemic that affects some Dutch people every year. Anyone looking for information about our health on Google in winter will encounter many obstacles. And not only that; Tips are teeming with how to get through the winter without illness. From taking extra vitamins or eating chocolate to exercising and looking for daylight.

There are approximately 480,000 Dutch people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the official name for winter depression. Another 1.3 million people seem to suffer from winter blues and associated milder symptoms numbers the Winter Depression Polyclinic of the University Hospital Groningen.

“There are no different health advice per season”

Liesbeth Smit, nutritionist

In the Nutrition center they are clear about it. In winter, all you have to do is eat healthy, using the five-wheel as a guide. In short: enough vegetables, fruit, whole grain products, beans, oil and nuts. And don’t forget to drink enough water. Food scientist Liesbeth Smit also agrees. “Basically you just have to do what you have already done in every season: healthy and varied food.” There is no different health advice per season, emphasizes Smit.

Much attention to vitamin D in winter

Vitamin D is often given a lot of attention during the cold season. Our skin in the Netherlands can produce vitamin D itself from March to November due to the influence of sunlight, explains the spokesman for the nutrition center. This vitamin is also found in foods such as oily fish and, to a lesser extent, in meat and eggs, and is added to low-fat margarine, margarine, and baked and fried products.

People who feel less energetic, or sometimes even lazy or depressed during the winter, are often asked to take vitamin D. However, opinions about its effectiveness are different, said the spokesman. “In 2015 the Health Council concluded that the effect of vitamin D consumption on depressive symptoms was inconclusive.” So the research results do not all point in the same direction.

Smit also sees that “getting through the winter” stories often focus on vitamin D, but vitamin D is only recommended for certain groups of people. In addition to young children and pregnant women, women over 50, men over 70, and people with dark skin must take vitamin D, Smit says.

“If you don’t come out with your heads and hands uncovered every day, you must be taking vitamin D all year round. This is sometimes the case for people with an illness or a particular lifestyle, but the ‘normal Dutch person’ can go all winter live. on which vitamin D is produced in the other seasons. “

A third suffer from winter frost

A research von Radar among 30,000 respondents at the end of 2017 showed that a third said they were suffering from the onset of winter or even depression. In many cases it is about tiredness, need for sleep, increased appetite and (as a result) weight gain. These results are pretty coherent. Those who stay indoors a lot and open the kitchen cabinets more often have a greater chance of a disappointing figure on the scales.

Some of these respondents say they are trying to keep the winter blues from engulfing them themselves. For example, more than a quarter try to make the house a bit cozier, one in five goes outside more often during the day and others try to move more (14 percent) or make it easier (12 percent).

In addition, the cosiness of friends is sought. The group experiencing a winter bath also tries to manipulate this feeling by making the adjustments above. A large proportion of this group (85 percent) also try to get more sleep.

A small number of hours of sunshine ensures a bath

The effect of the lower number of hours of sunshine is also reflected in studies on the onset of winter. Hours of sunshine generally make us feel good, happy, and comfortable. It is therefore not surprising that this is sometimes less in winter. As a result, people with winter depression are sometimes referred for a treatment that has been proven effective for many: light therapy. According to the Polyclinical winter depression 70 to 80 percent of the symptoms disappear after repeated sessions under a daylight lamp.

Whether or not winter changes your mood, there are many options that could potentially serve as good advice, experts unanimously write. Get fresh air more often, eat healthy, look for daylight while it is available, and most importantly, see what you need.