Colder months mean less sunlight, less produce availability, and a higher risk of numerous health issues. Luckily, here are some foods and beverages you can consume to help avoid nutritional deficiencies and ward off illnesses.

1. Spicy tuna roll

If you are looking for healthier options when it comes to winter comfort foods, look no further than sushi. The Cleveland Clinic recommends choosing rolls lined with tuna or salmon to get a good dose of vitamin D.

"During the winter months when you have limited exposure to the sun, food sources of the bone-healthy vitamin become even more essential. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with impaired growth, weakening of the bones and even the risk of heart disease," the website states.

2. Winter squash

Available up to mid-March, there is still time to pick up winter squash such as butternut squash. With firmer flesh than the summertime counterparts, they can be used well with soups, stews, casseroles, bread, and desserts, according to the Nutrition Source.

Despite being low in calories, most varieties of winter squash are high in fiber content — which means they can help provide satiety and reduce the risk of overeating. When temperatures are low, your body can also benefit from vitamin A and potassium, both of which can be obtained from squash. 

3. Green tea

Instead of hot chocolate on the daily, how about making a hot cup of green tea your go-to? Not only can it help in boosting your vitamin and mineral intake, but it may also provide additional health benefits compared to other types of teas.

"The leaves are dried and lightly steamed, not fermented like other black teas," Michele Gilson, a registered dietitian from Kaiser Permanente, told Reader's Digest. "The tea has catechins — a type of antioxidant — that can help ward off viruses."

4. Brussels Sprouts

The period from September to March is said to be the peak season for this cruciferous vegetable. Aside from fiber, folic acid, it is a good source of vitamins K, A, and C.

While vitamin C cannot completely protect you from colds, it has been associated with an enhanced immune function which means a lower risk of winter illnesses. Broccoli and cauliflower are some of the other cruciferous vegetables you can add to your plate for a similar benefit. 

5. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a great addition to any winter diet, according to Geeta Sidhu-Robb, a nutritional expert and founder of Nosh Detox. Speaking to Cosmopolitan UK, she highlighted their antiviral and antibacterial properties which could help in warding off infections.

"Mushrooms provide a range of essential nutrients like selenium which an antioxidant, as well as niacin, potassium copper and phosphorous. Additionally, mushrooms provide protein, vitamin C and iron," she added.