Winters are here again and can be described as:
W: Winter Wonderland
I: Ice is slippery
N: Nothing is hot
T: The weather is cold!
E: Everything is cold!!
R: Really Cold!!!
During winters, the appetite increases and people feel hungrier. Our body’s unique engine works better and foods are better digested. In winters, our body needs more nourishment and craves for the food which provides good nourishment and warmth to the body. With the change in weather also come a lot of health related issues due to low immunity in winters. So, how does one can increase immunity during winters?
Immunity boosting foods is one which is seasonal, organic, fresh and wholesome. The food that grows beneath the surface is considered a warming food. Certain dry fruits (dates), nuts and oilseed (sesame) also provide good warmth. All animal foods fall in the warming category like lean dairy, meat, fish and poultry. Read to learn some of the unexpected benefits of vitamin-rich cold-weather foods you should stock up on right now.
Sweet potato: This is the most versatile tuber loaded with Vitamin A, B2, B6 and vitamin C. A cup of raw sweet potato contains 4 gm of fibres. It is low in glycemic index which makes it a good choice for people with diabetes.
Carrots: Do you remember Bug Bunny favourite food? Yes, carrots are loaded with Beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is required for good immune system, skin and eyes. Indulge in carrot halwa or juice or parathas this winter season.
Green leafy vegetables: Spinach, Fenugreek or mustard are the good sources of Vitamin A, C and rich in antioxidants which help build stronger immunity and fight diseases. Other Greens that fall in this category are coriander, amaranth, celery, radish greens, etc. Methi thepla, Sarson ka saag or Palak paneer are some of the delicacies to enjoy in winters!
Beetroots: Deep red, Sweet and earthy in taste make beetroot a unique vegetable. Beets contain betalains which help to fight cancer, lowers blood pressure. They are rich in Vitamin A, B, C, potassium and folate. Toss in your salad or cook with your lentils to make a healthy, hearty vegetable dish.
Fresh and Dried fruits: Everyone’s favourite dates are warm in nature and best to be consumed during winters. A good source of energy and loaded with fibre, iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins (C and B3). Consume them in the form of barfi, add to milkshakes and smoothies.
Amla: Amla is the richest source of Vitamin C and a very good immunity booster. Add this to your chutneys or consume in the form of juice or eat as amla ka muraba.
Spice Up your food: Ajwain, mustard, asafoetida (hing), black pepper, fenugreek and Suva (dill) produces heat in the body thus keeping the body warm. These spices can be used freely as these keep a winter cough at bay, stimulate appetite, improves digestion and blood circulation. Turmeric especially fresh which resembles ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can be consumed as turmeric tea or have turmeric milk with a dash of black pepper at bedtime.
Herbs and Seeds: Basil or tulsi brewed in water protect against cold and fever. Ginger is common in every household and used to flavour dishes. Ginger is a good warming food and is used in mainly stomach problems like morning sickness, upset stomach, diarrhoea. Add it to dal, soups and tea to reap its benefits. Dry ginger powder mixed with jaggery and ghee, turn it into tiny balls to treat cold and cough.
Sesame or til: Til ladoo or chikki is comfort food for the kids. Sprinkle these tiny white or black seeds on your salads or soups.
Enjoy these seasonal products, bring out the YUM factor in your freshly harvested and aptly cooked vegetables, build up immunity and boost your health!!