The colder temperatures tend to welcome a host of health issues—many of which can be prevented (or at least tempered) by the right vitamins and supplements. That's according to Barbara Mendez, a Manhattan-based integrative nutritionist and registered pharmacist specializing in functional nutrition and "the science of how food, medicine, and supplements affect happiness and well-being," reads her website. She believes that the right seasonal vitamins and supplements can help you "maintain a healthy balance in your gut flora, which is necessary for your overall wellbeing." Read up on the three "most valuable supplements to have on hand during the cold winter months," according to Mendez:
1. A high-potency probiotic formula: "This is something I recommend for all of my clients," she writes. "Replenishing beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is one of the most important practices in keeping your immune system functioning optimally." She recommends a high-potency blend with both acidophilus and bifidus, like Jarro-Dophilus EPS by Jarrow ($70 for 60 capsules).
2. Vitamin D: For obvious reasons, Mendez recommends supplementing with vitamin D during the harsh winter months. It helps strengthen your bones as well as your immune system. "Find out your levels through a simple blood test administered by your doctor at your next physical and then if you need to, supplement accordingly," she instructs.
3. Olive leaf extract: "This is one of the very best supplements I know of to help with both viral and bacterial infections, which means it will work well whether you have a cold, the flu or the beginnings of a sinus infection," she explains. Of course, if you're running a fever and experiencing the chills, contact your doctor and first determine if you need antibiotics. Her favorite olive leaf extract? Olivir by Davinci Labs.
Head over to Barbara's personal nutrition blog for more, and read up on the one supplement a neuroscientist wants you to take next.