In winter our body is put to the test, the cold and dark days can sometimes affect our health a bit.

One notices this more than the other.

But how can we protect ourselves against a winter blues?

Winter dips, vitamin D deficiency, colds, weight gain, and don't forget the flu epidemic, which affects some of the Dutch every year.

Anyone looking for information about our health in winter on Google will encounter many obstacles.

And not only that;

it is teeming with tips to get through the winter without disease.

From taking extra vitamins or eating chocolate to exercising and looking for daylight.

There are approximately 480,000 Dutch people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the official name for a winter depression.

Another 1.3 million people suffer from a winter depression and associated milder complaints, according to figures from the Winter Depression Polyclinic of the University Medical Center Groningen.

“There are no different health advice per season” Liesbeth Smit, nutritional scientist

They are clear about this at the Nutrition Center.

In the winter you just have to keep eating healthy, with the Wheel of Five as a guideline.

In short: sufficient 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 keep doing what you already do all seasons: healthy and varied food."

There are no different health advice per season, Smit emphasizes.

Much attention to vitamin D in the winter

There is often a lot of attention for vitamin D in the cold season.

Our skin in the Netherlands can produce vitamin D itself from March to November due to the influence of sunlight, the spokesperson for the Nutrition Center explains.

This vitamin is also found in food, such as in fatty fish and to a lesser extent in meat and eggs, and is added to low-fat margarine, margarine and baking and frying products.

People who feel less energetic or sometimes even lazy or depressed in winter are often told to take vitamin D.

But opinions about its effectiveness differ, the spokesman said.

"The Health Council concluded in 2015 that the effect of vitamin D use on depressive symptoms is inconclusive."

So the research results do not all point in the same direction.

Smit also sees that the focus in stories about 'getting through the winter' is often on vitamin D, but vitamin D is only recommended for specific groups of people.

In addition to young children and pregnant women, women over fifty, men over seventy and people with dark skin should take vitamin D, says Smit.

See also: This way you get enough vitamin D in the winter

"If you don't come out every day with your head and hands uncovered, you have to take vitamin D all year round. This is sometimes the case for people with a disease or special lifestyle, but the 'normal Dutchman' can live all winter long on the vitamin D produced in the other seasons. "

One third suffers from winter frost

A Radar survey among 30,000 respondents at the end of 2017 showed that one third say they suffer from a winter dip or even depression.

In many cases it involves fatigue, needing sleep, an increased appetite and (as a result) weight gain.

Those results are quite coherent.

Those who choose to stay indoors a lot and open the kitchen cabinets more often will have a greater chance of a disappointing figure on the scales.

Some of those respondents say that they themselves try to prevent the winter blues from taking hold of them.

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 take it easier (12 percent).

In addition, the cosiness of friends is sought.

The group that does experience a winter dip also tries to influence this feeling by making the above adjustments.

A large part of this group (85 percent) also tries to sleep more.

Small number of sun hours ensures a dip

What is especially reflected in studies into winter dips is the effect of the smaller number of hours of sunshine.

Periods of sunshine generally make us feel good, happy and pleasant.

It is therefore no surprise that this is sometimes less in winter.

People with winter depression are therefore sometimes referred for a treatment that has proven effective for many: light therapy.

According to the Winter Depression Outpatient Clinic, 70 to 80 percent of the complaints disappear after repeated sessions under a daylight lamp.

Regardless of whether or not winter changes your mood, there are plenty of options out there that could potentially serve as good advice, experts unanimously write.

Get some fresh air more often, eat healthy, look for daylight while it is available and especially see what you need.