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Winter can be tough on your mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are numerous foods that may help to improve everything from your mood to your sleep. Here are five foods to keep in your home this winter.
Mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D. Even if it is a sunny winter, Northerners who live above a 35 latitude mark (pretty much a line from NYC to Boulder, Colorado) most likely won't get enough vitamin D — which is crucial for bone health — because the sun stays lower in the sky. If you're not a fan of mushrooms, there are other foods that can help increase vitamin D levels like salmon and vitamin D-fortified orange juice, cow, and plant milks.
Foods like tempeh, kombucha, sauerkraut, yogurt, and pickled vegetables are good sources of probiotics, which can help to support your immune system during the tough winter months. Studies have shown that there could be "promise" when it comes to the health benefits and efficacy of probiotics on immune health.
3. Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherries are naturally rich in melatonin, a hormone that affects sleep. Research has shown that drinking tart cherry juice was "beneficial in improving sleep duration."
In addition to improving sleep, which is the key to staying healthy all winter long, tart cherry juice has been found to reduce pain and muscle soreness and is popular with athletes and distance runners.
Here's a Dr. Oz-approved tart cherry juice mocktail for your next party.
4. Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, a trace element that has been linked to enhancing immune function. They've also been linked to improved heart health and thyroid function, but more research is needed. Despite a slew of health benefits, be sure to limit your daily intake to only a few of these nuts: Too much selenium can lead to a rare, but dangerous life-threatening condition.
5. Veggie Soup
Chef Nikki Dinki, author of "More Veggies Please!: Easy Kid-Approved Meals and Family-Friendly Comfort Foods with Surprising Veggie Twists," created this "flu-fighting" Broccoli Cheddar Soup packed with veggies to keep you satiated and healthy this winter. It's made with a whole head of broccoli, zucchini, and carrots to support your immunity all season long.
Pro tip: Make in big batches and freeze to have on hand.