Divya R, Senior Executive Nutritionist Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, Kanakapura Road
The days are shorter, the nights are longer and it’s colder all the time. While the wardrobe is filled with warm clothes, kitchen smells of those winter spices. Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Ginger are the flavours of the month. The perfect blend of warmth and the goodness from these foods make the winter more welcoming. Though the winter is the last season of the year, it marks the beginning of the festivities. While, wine & dine are the only thoughts on the mind, self-care should also be a priority. Keeping the body warm, fit and fine through a healthy lifestyle adds more pleasure to the winter joy.
Foods like nuts & dryfruits, berries & other fruits, protein-rich foods, complex carbs and healthy fats are needed to boost your immunity and keep yourself healthy.
Immune boosting foods: Winter is a time wherein majorly cold, cough, chest congestion, bleeding gums, skin related issues, hair-fall or dryness etc. becomes a major concern. Immune boosting foods play a major role in managing these winter blues. Moreover, children and people with weak immune system are more prone to these health issues which leads to more discomfort and anxiety.
Antioxidant rich foods fight off free radicals and takes care of inflammation in the body thus boosting the body’s immunity to combat any kind of infections. Mushrooms, carrots, onion, green leafy vegetables, eggs, natural spices etc. are a good source of antioxidants.
Root vegetables like potato, carrot, sweet potato, yam, garlic, greens, eggs and lean meat are the best warm foods during winter.
Vitamin C rich foods like Citrus fruits, capsicum, amla, berries, peppers etc. improves immunity, promotes skin, hair & gums health and also helps in faster healing.
Micronutrients like Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, K and Minerals like Zinc, selenium etc. are a set of immune boosting nutrients.
Fruits, vegetables, seeds & oils, nuts, lean meat should be a part of healthy balanced diet during winter to nourish the body to keep away from chronic diseases.
Herbs and Spices: Pepper, Tulsi, Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic, Mint, Oregano, Fenugreek etc. are best for improving immunity. They keep the body warm during winter. Anti-oxidant properties in these herbs helps in preventing inflammation and also alleviates the moods in seasonal depression.
Especially during pregnancy few of these herbs help in managing morning sickness, flatulence, acidity and heartburn. Herbs and spices are a boon to a Lactating mother as most of them helps in improving lactation by keeping the body warm.
Fresh food and Hygiene: Winter is the time for comfort, good food and warmth. Also it is proven that food gets digested faster comparatively during winter, thus nourishing the body better than ever. Eating fresh produce always will help to stay nourished through the winter comfortably. Certain foods like fenugreek, ginger, garlic, pepper and other spices are packed with anti-microbial activity to help in fighting cold and cough during winter. Good personal care and hygiene is an added advantage for surviving the winter chills.
Good food for Skin: Hydration is the best mantra and water is the best fluid. Staying well hydrated keeps away the dryness or roughness from the skin. Nutrients responsible for routine skincare includes Zinc, Selenium, Vitamin, C, E, A, beta-carotene. Foods like Nuts, seeds, healthy oils, avocado, potato, tomato, soy, dark chocolates, lean meat and other foods contain these nutrients. Skin issues like psoriasis, allergies, dull & oily skin dryness can be managed by incorporating these foods in daily diet during winter.
Hair care: Healthy Protein and fats along with proper hydration are the major requisition for healthy hair during wintertime. Magnesium, Zinc, beta-carotene, vitamin C and A helps hair to be nourished and conditioned. Hairfall, frizziness, dull hair needs extra nourishment through foods like eggs, oil seeds, yogurt/curd, Bananas, Guava etc. during winter as cold weather makes it more prone to split ends and damage.
Healthy recipes for winter:
Winter recipes should include a lot of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and spices. Eating from a wide range of food groups gives the body all the required nutrients for nourishment and proper functioning.
Below are few healthy and easy recipes to try during winter:
Soups: Soups are a must try recipes during winter as they keep the body warm as well as hydrate it. Soups from carrot, mushroom, Beetroot, Spinach, Coriander, Chicken etc. along with the natural spices are the best remedies to beat the cold.
Til Jaggery ladoos: Til and jaggery are said to generate heat in the body and so are best suited during winter. Few micronutrients present in Til also helps in relieving stress and are considered to be mood elevators. This fibre and iron rich recipe turn out to be a best snack for growing children especially girls.
Vitamin C candies: Amla, orange, pomegranate, kiwi etc. are the main source of Vitamin C. When converted to candies or gummies with honey as a sugar source acts as a healthy food to boost immunity during winter.
Dry nuts shake: Dry nuts are good source of healthy fats. They helps in fighting insomnia and serves as a daily dose of protein and calcium for kids. This recipe is best suited for pregnant women and a lactating mother as the requirement for nutrients during these periods are high comparatively.
Ginger murabba: It helps in handling nausea, vomiting, indigestion and it also improves appetite. Ginger recipe is also a good home remedy for common cold, cough and throat irritation. Morning sickness during pregnancy can also be handled well using ginger in moderation.