Finally, the winter season is here. People are getting ready to combat the cold weather with sweatshirts, sweaters, shawls, hoodies, etc. but keeping the body warm just from the outside is not enough. The food we eat in winter season matters a lot. Keeping the body strong and healthy from the inside is of utmost importance, especially during the winter season.
The drastic change in weather conditions is the carrier of most common diseases like cold, cough and flu. With the ongoing pandemic, even a common cold or cough can be worrisome. And thus, it is essential to keep a check on what we eat in winter season. Below is a list of the healthiest winter foods that should be consumed during the winter season.
Gur or Jaggery
Swap sugar with the healthy alternative of gur or jaggery. According to Ayurveda, it has hot potency and can be consumed in a variety of ways. It contains loads of vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, iron, magnesium and potassium. It is a natural cure for cough, cold, migraine, asthma, fatigue and indigestion. Gur contains a high amount of antioxidants that boost immunity. Consuming gur in winters generates heat in your body, keeping you warm inside. If consumed with ginger, it doubles the benefits of gur. Without a doubt, gur is one of the most healthy winter foods.
Spices are your best friend during winters. Warm spices such as mustard (rai), asafoetida (hing), black pepper (kali mirch), fenugreek (methi), carom seeds (ajwain), cinnamon (dalchini) are to be consumed in plenty. Mustard and carom seeds are helpful winter coughs and flu, stimulating hunger and digestion and increasing blood circulation. Methi is a natural remedy for joint and bone problems that arise during the cold winter months. Turmeric is an antimicrobial immunity booster. Consuming turmeric milk once a day during winters helps your body generate heat.
These vegetables are available in the market all year round but their demand hits the roof during the winter season. As root vegetables grow underground, they absorb the beneficial nutrients from the soil. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They are also rich in magnesium, potassium and other minerals. Root vegetables are very fibrous and can help keep your guts healthy. High water content root vegetables such as cucumber, spinach and celery prevent heart disease as they have high levels of potassium.
Indian Gooseberry or Amla
Amla is a powerhouse of Vitamin C. It is beneficial for liver, digestion, skin, hair, and controls acidity, blood sugar and cholesterol. It can be consumed in numerous ways such as in the form of chutney, powder or cooked in sugar syrup. It is one of the major ingredients used in Chyawanprash that is consumed during winters. The vitamin content of amla helps to fight the cold and viruses effectively and is also an immunity booster.
Whole Grain Cereals and Pulses
To combat the cold weather, our body requires high energy levels and protein-rich foods. During winters, many Indian households make ‘sheera’ of various varieties like rava, whole-wheat flour, moong-dal, vermicelli, dalia, badam; ‘halwa’ using gajar, doodhi, pumpkin; ‘paak’ and ‘ladoos’ to provide with the strength to fight of winter chills. Makai and bajra rotis, too, are quite popular during the winter season. Consume these foods to keep the body warm during winters. They are also loaded with fibres and support healthy digestion.
Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng
Rejuvenate your body with this miraculous, ancient medicinal herb. A widely used ingredient in Ayurvedic tonics, Ashwagandha is a stress reliever and has a warm effect on the body. It improves sleep quality, prevents water retention in the body and also boosts immunity.
Seasonal fruits have their own properties that keep the body strong and healthy during a particular season. There are a variety of winter fruits that provide the human body with their own natural benefits. Some of the must-have winter fruits are-
Oranges: High amount of Vitamin C and fibre.
Strawberries: Loaded with antioxidants, immunity booster and a natural remedy to many winter ailments.
Pineapple: Hot potency, rich in Vitamin C and strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Papaya: Increases body heat to battle the cold weather.
Tulsi or Holy Basil
Do you know why old British bungalows have tulsi and neem growing in the veranda? Here’s why- it helps the body fight cold borne diseases like cough, cold, sinusitis, pneumonia and respiratory disorders. Tulsi is rich in vitamin A, C, calcium, zinc, iron and is also a strong antiseptic and anti-malarial agent. You can consume tulsi with pepper and honey on an empty stomach to cure a cold and cough. All these properties make tulsi one of the healthiest winter foods.
People experience an increase in appetite and like to consume hot, fried snacks during the winter season. These snacks are surely good for the tongue but definitely not good for your health. Instead, switch to dry fruits to satisfy your food cravings during winters. Dry fruits such as almonds, cashew nuts and walnuts provide the human body with some much-needed nutrients and vitamins. They keep the body warm from the inside and help battle the harsh, cold temperature conditions.
Ghee or Clarified Butter
Consumed in excessive amounts can lead to health issues but consumed in an appropriate proportion paired with physical exercise can do wonders for your body. In winters, when the digestive system is working in full power, consuming ghee can prove very beneficial. It keeps your skin supple, lubricates your joints and tissues and also helps the liver digest fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamins A, K, D and E.
Eggs are considered to be one of the most healthy winter foods. They strengthen your body to fight off harmful organisms and prevent you from falling sick. Eggs are rich in protein that is used by the body to make antibodies and prevent infections. They also contain an adequate amount of fat that supports cell growth, protects organs, and keeps the body warm. The zinc in eggs helps the body to battle common winter illnesses like cold or flu.
!-- Title Goes Here --!
Ginger is one of the most easily found gharelu nuska in every Indian kitchen. The high amount of antioxidants in ginger help the body build a strong resistance to cold during the winter season. Its thermogenic properties keep the body warm and enhance the blood flow. It also helps to cure ulcers, mild fever, acidity, common cold, cough and aids digestion.
Along with consuming these foods on a daily basis, exercising regularly, drinking lots of water and consuming healthy soups can be beneficial during the winter season. The above are sufficient for your body to combat the cold weather; they are all simple foods with lots of benefits! May you stay healthy and strong during the winter season!