Winter: Five foods to keep yourself warm and healthy
From ginger to nuts — all you can add to your regular diet to keep yourself warm this winter.
KATHMANDU, Nov 14: Winter is here. Days and nights are gradually getting colder day by day. While the cold weather is perfect to indulge in decadent dishes, taking care of your body is also extremely important. To keep your skin and gut healthy, and protect yourself from seasonal infections, you must pay particular attention to your diet.
Almonds, walnuts, cashews
Nuts are a natural source of healthy fats and are a great addition to any diet. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and cashews contain a healthy amount of fat and carbohydrate. They can be used on sweet and savory dishes as an added crunch factor. Nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi agreed and said, “When in winters we need more calories to sustain and hence the good fats in nuts are used. Nuts are packed with good fats with dense micronutrients, perfect for chilly winters.”
The healthier relative of the humble, starchy potato and delicious in taste, this winter vegetable is a popular food in India. Roasted and sold as a street snack during the colder months, they are a terrific addition to your diet and are naturally fortified with vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and potassium. Bhuvan added that they are a “great source of fiber and extra energy needed in winters.” You can have it roasted, baked, fried, in a stir fry or eaten in a soup.
Bell peppers, also commonly known as ‘shimla mirch’ in India are as gorgeous to look at, as they are beneficial. They are usually available in green, red and yellow variants and are a great addition to salads, soups, roasts, stir-fries, etc. A versatile vegetable, bell peppers are powerhouses of Vitamin C which boosts the immune system of the body. They also contain Vitamin A, Vitamin E, folates, potassium and other antioxidants. You can eat this versatile vegetable raw or cooked. The nutritionist recommended, “Vitamin C has been conclusively proven to prevent and cure cold. Apart from that, bell peppers are a good source of fiber (with one bell pepper having as much fiber as a roti) and facilitate good gut health.”
A powerful antioxidant, ginger is a flowering plant whose roots are consumed as a spice. Used across the world, and in various cuisines, gingers have a pungent, almost hot taste that is incredibly relieving for common colds and sore throats. Ginger is also used popularly in Ayurveda to treat ailments. It contains essential vitamins such as vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6, magnesium etc. During the cold season, you can add ginger to your tea, soups and curries to give it a distinct warm flavor. Bhuvan listed out a few benefits of ginger and said, “Antioxidants help in better immunity, controlled ageing and slower memory decline. Ginger is one of the few antioxidant sources that work well even when heated and can be easily made part of both food and hot beverages.”
Citrus fruits are a joy to eat during winters, in-season, locally available and always delightful to bite into, winters are synonymous with eating sour fruits. Oranges, limes, custard apples etc are great sources of vitamin c that will keep you protected from common infections throughout the winter season. You can eat them raw or added to cooked, baked goodies, they are still a great way to keep your body warm and healthy.
Dark leafy greens
Especially popular during the winter season, fresh seasonal greens are a great source of vitamin K, said Bhuvan. It is an antioxidant mostly present in cooked uncooked dark green leaves. “It has many benefits needed for blood and bone health”, he added. A few common winter leafy greens that he suggested are spinach, mustard greens, coriander, fenugreek leaves, collard greens, taro greens, drumstick leaves etc.