Medically reviewed on November 15, 2022 by Morgan Spicer, Medical Communications Manager. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
With calendars filling up with plans, shopping lists getting checked off, and beloved traditions right around the corner, the holiday season has made its arrival once again. And although “the most wonderful time of the year” may be a cherished time of celebrating with loved ones near or far — it can also be quite the whirlwind for both our physical and mental health.
Between stress, traveling, nutritional challenges, and changes in wellness and sleep routines, the holidays can be hard on the immune system. You can do your part to set yourself up for a healthy holiday season by incorporating the right vitamins and supplements to support your overall health.
That’s why we asked Everlywell Consultant and Outpatient Gastrointestinal Dietitian, Nicole Lindel, about the vitamins and supplements whose benefits will last long after the holiday season wraps up. Below, Lindel breaks down 9 important nutrients and some of the foods you can find them in:
Lindel: Adequate vitamin D is most commonly known to help maintain bone health (by promoting the absorption of calcium). It also supports immune system functions, which can include fighting off invading bacteria and viruses.
Some foods that contain vitamin D: Cod liver oil, rainbow trout, and salmon.
Lindel: Research on vitamin A has also shown it to be important for immune function, reproduction, and growth and development. It’s important to note that too much vitamin A can be toxic, especially from eating the livers of some animals in particular.
Some foods that contain vitamin A: Beef liver, sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots and herring.
Lindel: Some research has shown that zinc supplements may help in reducing the severity and duration of symptoms related to the common cold — making it a holiday season essential.
Some foods that contain zinc: Oysters, beef, fortified breakfast cereals, and pumpkin seeds.
Lindel: Vitamin C has been shown to play a role in immune function.
Some foods that contain vitamin C: Red and green sweet peppers, oranges, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, brussels sprouts, and grapefruit.
Lindel: There are two types of iron in the diet: heme and nonheme iron. Heme iron has a higher bioavailability than non-heme iron, meaning it is absorbed easier without the need for absorption-enhancing cofactors. Iron helps prevent iron deficiency anemia and resulting problems. Populations at risk of iron deficiency anemia include pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses, such as inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Some foods that contain heme iron: Lean meats and seafood.
Some foods that contain non-heme iron: Nuts, beans, vegetables, and fortified grain products.
Lindel: Omega-3 has been shown to promote heart and immune health.
Some foods that contain omega-3: Chia seeds, walnuts, and plant oils — such as flaxseed, soybean, and canola oil — and certain fish including salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines.
Lindel: Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, helps the body to convert food into fuel — which is used to produce energy. Vitamin B2 also works as an antioxidant to fight off damaging particles in the body known as free radicals.
Some foods that contain vitamin B2: Eggs, yogurt, wild rice mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, broccoli.
Lindel: Probiotics have been shown to support digestive health across various populations of people. However, the effects vary depending on the strain used, how long it is used, and the symptom being treated. Probiotics require fiber in order to function and encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Some foods that contain probiotics: Fermented foods, such as kimchi, kombucha, Greek yogurt, and sourdough bread.
Our suite of high-quality vitamins and supplements are clean, simple, and backed by science. Get ahead of the holiday season by stocking up these essentials to power everyday wellness:
Looking for some holiday inspiration? Check out the Everlywell 2022 Holiday Gift Guide to give the gift of health to everyone on your list this year. (And we won’t tell if you snag something for yourself, too. 👀)
1. Effects of stress on immune function: the good, the bad, and the beautiful. National Library of Medicine. URL. Accessed November 15, 2022.
2. Vitamin D. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed November 10, 2022.
3. Vitamin A and Carotenoids. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed November 10, 2022.
4. Zinc. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed November 10, 2022.
5. Vitamin C. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed November 10, 2022.
6. Iron: Health Professional. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed November 15, 2022.
7. Iron. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed November 10, 2022.
8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed November 10, 2022.
9. Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). Mount Sinai. URL. Accessed November 10, 2022.
10. Probiotics. National Institutes of Health. URL. Accessed November 10, 2022.