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Dietitian's advice for a healthy fall diet to prevent seasonal illness

Dietitian's advice for a healthy fall diet to prevent seasonal illness How to eat in the fall (photo: Freepik)

The arrival of cold weather always impacts our diet. There are fewer seasonal vegetables and fruits available, which can lead to a reduction in variety on our plates. However, the gifts of autumn and winter can also be consumed to benefit our health, according to dietitian Olesya Dobryanska.

What to do with your diet

You can use the principles of color therapy (for example, bright, red, and orange foods can enhance your mood and stimulate activity). During the cold season, it can be challenging to resist overeating as we seek more comfort in food, so you can find emotions in colors, interesting flavors, warm textures, and more.

Consume foods and drinks that provide warmth. Monitor the sugar content in beverages and opt for non-alcoholic options. You can also focus on hot dishes.

Increase the proportion of cooked or pickled vegetables compared to the summer season. If fresh vegetables dominated in the summer, now you can bake them.

Introduce a variety of grains and legumes into your diet. Include citrus fruits, kiwi, and pickled vegetables as sources of vitamin C.

Don't significantly increase your calorie intake. In your daily menu, a slight increase of 150-200 calories more than in the summer should be sufficient. However, it's essential to avoid strict calorie restrictions.

Ensure your diet is rich in iron. Foods like liver and lean beef can support your energy levels and prevent anemia.

What to do with vitamin D

You can obtain vitamin D from sources like fish, eggs, and dairy products, but it's true that consuming the necessary daily amount from these foods in a single meal is often impractical.

For example, 2000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D is equivalent to consuming around 400 grams of fatty fish, 400 grams of hard cheese, a jar of caviar, or nine eggs. Therefore, it's advisable to take vitamin D supplements.

The specific dose you need depends on your lifestyle, location, fortification, age, and any associated health conditions. It's best to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate vitamin D supplementation for your individual needs.

What vegetables are available in the cold season

An autumn menu can include:

  • pumpkin
  • beetroot
  • eggplants
  • carrot
  • sweet pepper
  • all types of cabbage
  • potatoes
  • sweet potato
  • celery
  • parsley root
  • parsnip
  • daikon
  • radish

Some of these vegetables can even be frozen for the winter. If you haven't already added some of them to your daily diet, be sure to do so. Sufficient vitamins and micronutrients will help your body better cope with viruses and adapt to the cold.