Winter is the most magical season. The temperature drops and days gets shorter. It is not just about how well you cover yourself with layers of woollen clothes, but also what you consume that can help you stay warm. A drop in body temperaturestimulates the appetite and you experience hunger.
Sometimes the winter months can make us reach for comfort foods, loaded with sugar that can be bad for both our waistline and our energy levels. Winter being very famous for bringing on weight gain and most of us acknowledge we tend to eat more during winters. This weight gain is caused by our eating behaviour and less of exercise in these cold months. Our body works harder to stay warm by generating its own heat and rising body temperature and so you end up burning calories. You don’t burn extra calories unless your body temperature decreases, and you start to shiver.
BMR(Basal Metabolic Rate) is slightly more in cold evenings in order to generate body heat so people desire to eat more. However, this is no excuse to overeat. There are lots of winter foods that are nutritious and comforting, like roasted root vegetables, roasted makhana, roasted channa or peanuts which are delicious and sweet or soups packed with vegetables, especially with lots of ginger and garlic, different vegetables and fruit salads loaded with natural sweetness, whole cereals , etc.
Take maximum advantage of this season by enjoying a wide variety of available seasonal fruits and vegetables.Here is the list of food items that keeps you healthy & warm during winterseason:
1) Honey: It is natural way to combat cough and cold. This golden syrup is antioxidant rich and has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It boosts immune system.It can be consumed in tea, milk or in salads. It is a healthier option than sugar.
2) Tulsi and Ginger:It can be used in kahwa, tea :provides anti -inflammatory properties and boosts immunity and improves digestion.Tulsi and ginger are the best and natural way to fight off and recover from cold and infections that cold weather causes.
3) Consume citrus fruits: Consume foods rich in vitamin C like oranges, malta, musambi, amla, tomatoes, lemon. As they play an important role in the immune system and energy levels, especially important if you regularly exercise.
4) Ghee : It is rich in vitamin A,D and E and omega 3 fatty acids. It has amazing health benefits & considered good fir brain and heart. It also has exceptional anti – inflammatory properties, and isgoodfor skin ,hair, bones and also boosts immunity, helps digestion and absorption of nutrients
5) Nuts and Dry fruits : Almonds, walnuts,cashewnuts ,raisins ,pistachio, dry coconutprovides healthy fats and keeps you warm and energetic during winter. These are known to improve metabolism, rich in proteins and amino acids. Nuts like peanuts can be taken as best snacking item. Dry fruits can be eaten soaked for maximum absorption of nutrients.
6) Jaggery: It is the best winter food and a great remedy for cough and cold.It not only adds exotic flavour to dishes but also is a healthier option than sugar. Rich in iron and minerals jaggery or gur has warming effect on body.
7) Sesame seeds or til:It is widely used in many famous winter dishes like chikki,ladoo, chutney or as seasoning .Til is rich in vitamin e and calcium and healthy fats. It is good for bones, skin, and hair. A must include in diet item during cold months.
8) Saffron:It is a powerful antioxidant and has many medicinal properties .saffron can be taken in tea, soups, in milk or can be used in kheer and sweet dishes.It not only gives yellow colour to the dishes but also improves white blood cell count and thus improving immunity.
9) Bajra/ragi/makki:Healthier substitute for wheat,they are rich in fibre and vitamin b complex. These gluten free option are nutrient dense source of protein, vitamin and minerals. Can be used in the form of roti, pancakes, dosa, cheela etc.Some like bajra and jowar roasted which is used as snack. Bajra is good source of iron and ragi of calcium and keeps body warm during cold months.
10) Eat more root vegetables: Some of the most warming root vegetables include carrots, radish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic. These vegetables are digested slower in the body, which generates more heat. These roots are rich in Beta–carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B,fibre, antioxidants and essential minerals.
During winter season due to cold weather, low immunity & therefore fall sick easily, but if we take care of what we eat we can prevent from becoming vulnerable to cold and flu.
So the key is to eat well balanced healthy diet to stay warm, healthy and have a strong immune system this winter.
Tips to keep you healthy and fight away winter blues
1) Stay well hydrated by having warm soups, warm haldi milk, kahwa , kadha, masala tea. As winter brings dryness and intake of water becomes almost minimal, keep yourself well hydrated.
2) Winter is a season of all rainbow colour fruits and vegetables ; carrots beets, spinach, fenugreek, bell peppers, broccoli, peas ,strawberries ,grapes ,oranges dates ,pomegranates – all being rich in vitamins and minerals and daily dose of these antioxidants boosts your immunity.
3) Exercise daily as in cold temperature it can increase the speed of calorie burn.
4) Grab maximum winter sunlight whenever possible;it not only gives warmth to body and relaxes your muscles but also provides vitamin D.
5) Have a healthy start of the day by having good nutritious breakfast as it boosts metabolism and keeps you energetic throughout the day. Start your day with hot porridge by adding toppings such as seeds and nuts.
6) Opt for healthy snacking like roasted nuts and dry fruits, peanut chikki, til chikki,roasted makhana, fresh fruits and vegetables with healthy dressings, and soups.
7) Figs and dates keep the body warm and give it an energy boost.
8) Add honey and warming spices to soups, salads and beverages.
9) Consuming high protein, omega 3 and fibre rich foods will help you stay away from a sluggish winter.
As mercury dips in almost every part of the world, it is essential for people to take some dietary measures to ensure that body stays warm from inside. The secret to stay healthy during winter is winterizing your diet. Eating seasonally available food is both warming and satisfying.