Winter is here and most of us are enjoying the slight drop in temperature. The cooler weather makes us crave for foods like tea, coffee, spicy foods, fried foods, chocolates and hot soups. Many people believe that winter is the time of bingeing, but that is always not true. These extra calories are valid only if you are living in freezing conditions, as in the north of the country. Elsewhere winter is mild, but it definitely is the time to enjoy some seasonal delights!
It is that time of the year to eat foods full of nourishment, to make your body and immunity strong for the rest of the year.
Certain winter foods generate heat and help cope with the falling temperature. The heat produced in the body by these foods is called diet-induced thermo-genesis. The energy released during digestion and assimilation eventually helps increase body heat.
Keep yourself healthy and warm with some of these winter special foods:
- hyawanprash – Chyawanprash is magic potion made of herbs. It is a delicious nutritive jam made with many herbs and amlas which is the main ingredient. Chyawanprash is said to be an anti-aging supplement. It aids rejuvenation and anti aging hence its link with youthfulness. It also enhances the assimilation of nourishment from the foods we are eating. Amla with its phytonutrients, antioxidants and digestive enzymes acts as anti-aging. It also works as a mild laxative and thus help you relieve the bloated feeling when you wake up and also with the constipation too.
- Our basic grains – Traditional grains like jowar, bajra, barley, oats and corn have great warming properties. Relish these grains in the form of rotis.
- Garlic – Garlic is known to be the easiest home remedy to cure fever and cold. It has the ability to increase the levels of enzymes that help the liver detoxify the blood that gives it special immune powers. Eating raw garlic provides maximum potency but if you cannot tolerate the strong taste, you can have it in cooked form.
- Green tea and chamomile tea – Green tea is a powerful antioxidant and has strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. Drinking approximately three to five cups of green tea a day keeps your immune system in check. Chamomile tea is also said to possess antioxidants that help fight against cold and flu during the winters.
- Honey – It is known to be the safest and the easiest way to cure cold and fever during winter. Honey is known for its antibacterial properties that help fight bacteria and virus. You can have honey every night before going to bed, or mix it in a cup of warm milk for added advantage.
- Spices – Besides generating heat, spices like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, garlic, cloves and pepper also contain phytochemicals that act as decongestants, are anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Ginger and garlic especially are great decongestants and improve blood circulation.
- Hot soups – They are definitely the season’s favourite. A bowl of healthy and wholesome soup is not only nutritionally sound, but will also make you feel full and prevent you from eating junk food. Avoid ready soup mixes as they contain high amount of starch and preservatives. Homemade soups and stews are the way to go.
- Dry fruits – Snack on unsalted nuts and dry fruits like almonds, cashew nuts, raisins, walnuts and apricots. They are nutritionally dense and take longer to digest, keeping your appetite in check. Have them in appropriate quantities (6-8 pieces) and balance the intake with a healthy dose of exercise.
- White radish, onion and garlic – They are rich in isothiocyanates and indoles, phytochemicals that help prevent cancer. Their strong flavour helps to pep up the taste of food.
- Leafy greens – Methi, Palak, Sarson are all available in abundance and are a good source of beta-carotene and Vitamin C – both powerful antioxidants that help fight disease and build immunity. Others in this category are coriander, amaranth, celery, radish greens, etc.
So this winter eat fresh, eat healthy and build a strong immune system. Healthy nourishment is the first step towards a healthy body.