When temperatures start going down it is natural for people to keep themselves warm. In Kashmir we have an extended winter spreading over five months. But, usually the harshest winter period is experienced during the forty-day ‘Chilai Kalan' starting from December 21 through which we are currently undergoing. When the temperature drops and cold weather sets in, fuel your body with food that can help raise your body temperature and make you feel warm. Here are some healthy and nutritious winter foods that can help keep you warm in cold weather.
1. Red Meat
Red meat is a good source of iron which is an important mineral to help carry oxygen throughout your body. People with low iron may notice cold hands and feet or feel tired easily. Eating red meat can also supply vitamin B12, which contributes to healthy nerves and a strong immune system.
Red meat provides health benefits for all humans. For women to maintain optimal health, there are certain nutritional requirements that must be considered. Women need to consume about twice as much iron per day as men, since the iron-rich uterine lining is shed every month during menstruation. An average of 125 milligrams of iron leaves the body with each cycle. Naturally, women have a higher risk of developing anemia. Red meat contains much higher levels of iron than plant-based foods.
Honey is very useful in combating colds and flu. Health problems related to our respiratory systems are more common during winter because breathing in the chilly winter air can easily make us sick. But having a spoonful of honey mixed with a glass of warm water and a few drops of lemon can keep these problems away.
3. Date Palms
Dried dates enhance our performance and can be used as a painkiller for colds or headaches. They also strengthen our immune system. They have a positive effect on the heart and are an excellent tool for the prevention of cancer.
4. Dry Fruits
Consumption of dry fruits enhances energy and stamina and is great for overall health. Some of the best dry fruits to eat during the winter season are: Almonds, Cashew Nuts, Walnuts, Apricots, Pistachios, and Pumpkin Seeds.
Caffeine in coffee increases r metabolism, which can raise the body temperature.
Ginger is one of the most well-known and most widely consumed herb for its warming effect. Eating raw ginger in winter is a great way to combat cold. It also has antibacterial properties.
7. Drink Water
Water keeps your body functioning at its best and helps regulate your internal temperature. Dehydration causes your core temperature to drop, which may lead to hypothermia. People are less likely to drink water when it is cold outside because they don’t feel as thirsty. You may want to carry a water bottle with you to serve as a reminder.
If you want your body to stay warm, just boil saffron in milk and also add raisins to it. Saffron is known to be warm in nature and provides immunity against various allergies and colds.
Vitamin D in Winter
During this long cold season, many people become deficient in vitamin D due to decrease in sunlight exposure. Popularly known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, vitamin D is a unique nutrient that our bodies naturally create when exposed to sunlight. Its main function is aiding in calcium and phosphorus absorption, an important role with promoting skeletal strength, bone health, and bone density.
Vitamin D helps to support immune wellness, neuromuscular health, and cellular function. There are two forms of vitamin D—D2 (ergocalciferol), which is most often found in supplements and added to foods, and D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the more easily absorbed form of vitamin D that is recommended for older people due to its bioavailability. In recent years, Vitamin D3 has seen a great increase in availability as a supplement form.
What are some food sources of Vitamin D?
Foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D include cod liver oil, cold water fish (such as mackerel, salmon, and herring), butter, and egg yolks.
Unfortunately, vegetables are notoriously low in vitamin D. However, the best choices when it comes to veggie-D are dark green, leafy vegetables. You can also find vitamin D in certain mushrooms that have been exposed to sunlight.
Winter Skin Tips
The cold temperature and winds bring excess dryness in the air. Many people suffer from dry flaky skin during the winter. Eczema (skin inflammation) is prone to flaring in the cold season. Keep an eye for any changes to your skin. Skin may become more irritated and dry in the winter. Elbows and knees are known trouble spots. Exfoliate and moisturize so that skin stays soft and supple.
Take care of your hands
Wear gloves to protect your hands from wind and cold. Some people find wool gloves to be itchy. If that's the case, try cotton or leather gloves that won't irritate your skin. Make sure to slather on a good moisturizer to keep your hands from cracking in the dry air.
Prevent chapped lips
Lips are particularly sensitive to dry air. Use a SPF lip balm to protect against chapped lips and sun damage. Carry lip balm with you everywhere to keep your lips smooth.
Be careful with acne treatment or harsh creams
Try to decrease the use of harsh topical skin ointments and creams. Acne medication is known to dry out skin. In the winter when it is prone to dryness, your skin may not be able to handle these types of products. Consult your dermatologist when topical medication is drying out your skin too much.
Just because it is winter, don't skip on sunscreen. The sun's rays are even more potent when they reflect off white snow. Make sure you use sun block even during the winter. Stick to SPF protection of at least 30.
Experts say to use an oil based moisturizer too because the body produces less oil in the winter. If you have acne, consult with your dermatologist first about the best moisturizer for your skin type.
Whether you love the winter season or not, this is a time of year when it is vital to take extra special care of your health. If you struggle with getting sick during the colder months, beneficial warming foods and spices can often come to the rescue.
Follow these simple tips during the winter season and reap the benefits. Making a few changes to your diet and modifying your daily routine can have long-term benefits on your overall health. So go ahead and enjoy the winters, while keeping diseases at bay!