Snuggled inside the blanket or soaking the winter sun with a cuppa hot chai or cappuccino us a must. Those honey smeared peanuts and sesame patti’s are also a must-have in this season. But as you gorge onto mouth-watering and addictive delicacies, they not only affecting your weight but also your overall health. Experts list a few tips to follow in winters to keep safe from the pollution, the novel virus and adapt healthy eating:
Jaggery is a winter vitamin shot, with best warming ingredients its loaded with iron and other minerals which fortify the body against the winter chills. It is great for people with high blood pressure and helps in digestion, boosting haemoglobin and cleaning the body from within to breathe easy in this pollution. A small piece of jaggery in any form must be included to the diet in winters.
Intake of vitamin D as we have less exposure to sunlight is very important to keeps the bones strong and prevent dryness of skin. Vitamin D is also known for its effective immune strengthening benefits.
The immune system is constantly overburdened with toxins from fried food in winters thus it is advisable to detoxify the body by keeping a fast once a week or using herbs like cilantro in green smoothies or juices.
Garlic contains compounds that fight germs and helps to boost the immunity. Sulphur present in the garlic boosts the disease-fighting response of some types of white blood cells in the body when it comes in contact with any kind of viruses, which causes common cold and flu.
The active compound curcumin in turmeric fights infection and inflammation by preventing damage caused by free radicals. And to improve the bioavailability of turmeric don’t forget to add black pepper which contains a compound called piperine, which when combined with turmeric, increases the absorption of curcumin by upto an astonishing 2000%.
Dry and sweet snacks such as panjeeri prepared during winters in the northern parts of our country is very warming and believed to help relieve body pains and opens up muscles and joints. One can make different versions of this using whole wheat, millets, sattu, or moong dal flour and to this, add ghee, nuts, dry fruits, and spices like cardamom, fennel seeds, saffron, and nutmeg.
Include green leafy and root vegetable like sarson, bathua, methi, palak(spinach), sweet potato, yam, carrots etc as they are packed with vitamins and minerals. Some common vitamins found in these vegetables are beta-carotene that can be converted in the body to vitamin A, B-vitamins, folate and vitamin C. They are also rich in magnesium, potassium and other minerals found in the local soil. When we eat what’s in season we are not only helping the local agriculture but we are also eating food when it has it’s peak nutrient values, leading to overall health.
Winter millets like bajra, ragi and makai as they are good quality starch, high in protein and fibre. Also they are good for maintaining cholesterol levels and energy.
Citrus fruits like lemon, alma, orange and grapefruit are the juiciest and are loaded with vitamin C which help in boosting immunity and keeps the cough and cold away.
Kahwa green tea acts as an immunity drink, which helps to fight the winter by keeping us warm and free from any infection due to its ingredients like saffron, cinnamon, cardamom, almonds and bay leaves which are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.
Good quality pure ghee generates instant heat and energy for the body to help keep the body warm and cleanse the body from inside. Ghee should be used instead of oils to make every day sabzi and roti.
Fresh turmeric root should be consumed in hot water or hot milk before sleeping as it is an Ayurvedic adaptogen and helps to keep the body immune and healthy.
Relax, enjoy and sleep well! Chronic stress, depression due to darkness weakens the immune system so enjoy life and sleep for 6-7 hours a day.
Inputs by Nutritionist Harleen Gulati and Clinical Nutritionist Ridhima Batra