I remember an incident when I was quite young wherein my grandma offered me some kind of sweet to eat. I happily accepted but spat it the next minute. Because that thing tasted nothing like sweet. She advised me to eat that up as that sweet is no less than a medicine for the winter season. It helps one stay warm. Being naïve, I ate it up but made some awful faces thereafter. I was not ready to believe that food instead of sweater will help me stay warm. However, after so many years, I came to understand what my grandma was trying to say. Her medicinal sweet indeed works. I didn’t complain about weather last winter as much as my friends did. This is because my mother had given me what my grandma used to give – a sweet prepared out of fenugreek seeds.
Not just fenugreek seeds, there are many foods that work inside out by keeping the temperature of the body warm. Hence, it is required that our diet changes according to weather. While in summers, you should eat food that keeps you cool – I do not mean ice creams rather I mean foods like cucumber, in winters, you should include sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds, peanuts, etc. in your diet. If your diet is planned according to weather, your body will not react extremely. When your food is good, your health will follow suit. Eating warm foods in winter will save you from cough and cold to an extent as well.
Do you know additional calories are required in order to keep your body warm? Winter season brings with it many ailments. Your body needs a fair share of calories for dehumidifying air, prevent you from cold and keep you snug. Gorging on warm foods will even keep your energy levels high in the season. I also remember my mom telling me that whatever you eat in winter keeps you going on throughout the year. I think this is what animals and birds do. They collect food in summer and eat it up in winter. I think even we should eat hard and workout harder in winter to stay fit throughout the year.
This is my favourite root. While I do not like much in other things, but ginger is a must in my cup of green tea. I even like ginger cookies – they taste spicy and sweet at the same time. But, why is ginger associated with winter. This is because ginger is a root that helps in digestion. With the onset of winters, our diet comprises rich heavy food. Together with this, even our activities become limited due to shorter days. If you feel lazy after a heavy meal, pop some ginger and find lethargy bidding goodbye to you. Ginger even helps in throat inflammation and relieving congestion.
What should I say about this magical food – there are so many benefits of a tiny pinch of turmeric powder. Turmeric is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral as well. While it is beneficial all-round the year, winter has some special relation to this yellow food. Turmeric helps keep respiratory ailments at bay during winter. It even keeps your skin glowing when had with warm water in the morning. This is because turmeric is rich in antioxidants as well. I usually give raw turmeric powder mixed with honey to my two year old to cure coughing. Do not forget to add a pinch of turmeric in soups this winter to stay healthy.
I love munching on carrots in winter, especially because I need something to eat to beat the hunger pangs that arrive with this chilly season. Carrots help in digestion as they are high in fiber. So, munching on carrots is a healthy trait. Carrots also help in improving night vision due to the presence of beta-carotene in them. If you are looking for something to lock in your age, then carrot is the answer. This wonder food is even high in antioxidants. Include carrots in your diet to flush out the toxins naturally.
Again, high fiber content of sweet potatoes makes them a winter favourite. Including sweet potatoes in your diet is very beneficial in winters. This is because sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C enriched foods help to keep winter ailments like cold and cough at bay. If you feel stressed up in winter season, eating sweet potatoes will be a welcome change. Due to less of sunshine, you might not get as much vitamin D as required in this season. With high content of Vitamin D, sweet potatoes are a hot favourite in winters. Also, this cousin of potatoes even builds up your immunity.
It is the season of greens, right. My refrigerator is stocked with different kinds of greens with the onset of winters. I do not need to think much on what to cook in this season. While I knew that leafy greens are good for health, but I was not aware that they are particularly good for winter season. Leafy greens are rich in beta-carotene as well as vitamin c. Plus, they are even full of antioxidants. This means eating them is good for your health and skin as well. In addition, you can ward off winter ailments by including these in your diet.
Red Bell Peppers
In winter season, the most required thing is… immunity. If your immunity is low, nothing can save you from recurrent cold and cough. Make sure that your diet includes red bell peppers on a regular basis. Rich in vitamin C, red bell peppers help build immunity. It is better compared to citrus fruits as well due to double the amount of vitamin c in it.
A few years ago, refined flours ruled the roost. This is because refined flours are quite flexible. However, the trend has reversed now. More and more recipes are being prepared using whole grain flour. Whole grain cereals as well as flours are very good for health whereas refined flours have been stripped of all the nutrition. With winter, whole grain becomes all the more popular. Whole grain provides you with required protein, carbohydrates and fiber. They even keep you warm during the winter season. Make sure that you include whole grains in your diet.
While fresh fruits are a favourite in summers, dry fruits top the list in the winter season. This is because dry fruits are warm in nature. High in protein and fiber, dry fruits keep you filling full for a longer period as well. Popular dry fruits in winter are apricots (high in iron, potassium and vitamins), dates, raisins, almonds, figs, peaches, prunes and walnuts as well.
There is so much that can be done using this magic food. It is quite tiny in size but very useful and versatile. Garlic does not only add flavor and fragrance to meals, but it is known to build immunity as well. With contents like potassium, sulfuric compounds like calcium, garlic can be your best kept secret to survive the winter season without getting any coughs and colds. Garlic is even helpful in treating vaginal infections, skin infections, bacterial and viral infections as well.
Fennel seeds are known to cool the body. However, they are even helpful to ward off the winter. Thanks to the presence of vitamin C in fennel seeds, they are helpful in increasing the resistance of your body to infections that are quite common in this season. Fennel seeds are also rich in B vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper, fiber, selenium, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, potassium and antioxidants. The presence of zinc in it helps in keeping you away from winter ailments as well.
Winter is a season of spices. I love the smell of cardamom in warm tea, cloves in concoctions, cinnamon in cookies, black pepper and bay leaf in soups. While the taste is enhanced with the addition of spices, they are quite necessary as well in this season. Including cloves in your diet in winter helps in warding off winter problems like joint pains and cough. This magic food also helps in loosening up the mucus in the throat. Cinnamon too helps in relieving cold and its symptoms by warming up the body. Rich in antioxidants, cardamoms too helps relieve cold. The presence of vitamin c in black pepper is quite essential in winter as it acts as a natural remedy against cold and cough. If you desire soft and supple skin in winter, consume it with warm water in winter. Raw coriander seeds contain folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin A and protect against common cold and even help in preserving healthy tissues.
If you are not drinking enough water in winter, you are making a big mistake. The need for moisture goes up in winter months as the air is drier outside. Plus, if you use heater and bathe with hot water, the skin loses moisture all the more. Drinking enough water will make sure that your skin is bouncy and fresh. Water even keeps you satiated and prevents unrequired munching. This prevents adding extra pounds in this season.
If you are suffering from cold in winters, do not make a mistake of staying indoors all day long. Fresh air for an hour every day will help you recover faster in this season. Go out in the sunshine and take in the vitamin D. It will help your body build immunity and ward off the infections as well. Going out for a walk or other physical activities will also keep winter blues away.
Stay Away from Alcohol
The popular notion is that alcohol keeps you warm in winter. However, this is not the truth. Contrary to general belief, alcohol is not a great choice to keep your body warm in winter. In fact, the rush of heat that is felt on consuming alcohol is false. Your overall body temperature does not rise through alcohol instead the core temperature goes down by drinking it. You might be exposed to the risks of hypothermia because of this.
Are you warmed up for winter now? Winter season is already knocking our doors. This is the time to make the most of it. Instead of sitting in your blanket and cribbing about it, go outside and embrace it with grace. All you need to do is take a healthy diet and balance it with planned workout. This will definitely help you sail through this season. Happy winters folks!