With the unpredictable weather showing some form of stability, and winter fast approaching, here’s a list of foods that you must include in your diet
The past few months have been a topsy-turvy ride in terms of seasonal shifts. Now with the rains finally bidding adieu, the winter has slowly started to creep in. With this change in temperatures, our body will need foods and ingredients to keep us warm and healthy.
Sakina Diwan, dietician, Bhatia Hospital Mumbai, says, “In winter, our bodies crave rich foods that provide warmth along with nourishment. When the temperature fall the metabolism of the body slows down in order to conserve energy and keep the body warm. This is one of the reasons why we feel sleepy and lethargic during winters. Hence opt for foods that can not only keep you warm but also boost your energy levels.”
Winter is the time for comfort, good healthy food and warmth. Purvi Pugalia, founder, SOCH Foods LLP, says:
Bodily experiences change in terms of energy levels, metabolism and food preferences during winter months. This is the best season to stock your body with healthy foods.
So, what are winter’s secret ingredients that you can bank on?
Tulsi and ginger
Tulsi is great for treating bronchitis, colds, congestion, coughs, sore throat and similar ailments. That makes it a must for your garden or pantry this winter. Ananya Banerjee, owner of studio LAB- Lifestyles of Ananya Banerjee, says, “Pair the tulsi with ginger which is said to have properties that can warm you up and can even boost metabolism, promote blood flow and can soothe joint pains. You can have them with a cup of hot tea.”
Turmeric promotes digestion, boosts the immune system and is a great warming ingredient in the winter months. Be sure to add it in curries.
Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. It is also cholesterol free. Rushabh Parikh, founder of Black & Green, virgin avocado oil, says, “Avocado oil is also known to be very rich in nutrients. The high levels of Vitamin A, E and D also act as antioxidants and have a range of functions in the body. The blend of healthy fats, proteins, and vitamins make it a powerhouse for your body. The protein helps support the structures of collagen and elastin in your skin, while the fat keeps your skin moisturised. Hence it proves to be a great health food during the winters.”
Red bell pepper
Diwan adds, “Vitamin C is essential for boosting the immune system and red bell peppers contain double the amount of Vitamin C than that of citrus fruits.”
Protein-rich salmon is a superfood for getting your essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for the activation of bacteria-fighting cells.
It is the most easily digestible fat which gives the body its required warmth. Diwan says, “Ghee also aids in digestion and prevents constipation.”
Known for adding flavour, garlic is an ingredient that has been found to help fight off colds and other infections.
Warm in nature, its regular intake helps in keeping the body warm. Pugallia adds, “Honey is also a good remedy for keeping cold, cough and flu at bay and strengthening the immune system.”
Carrots, beetroot, and spring onions are a must-have. Their digestion is slower than other vegetables which generate more heat.
What foods should you avoid?
You may feel tempted to have a few dishes but avoiding them will let you have a better winter experience. Karishma Chawla, nutritionist, and lifestyle educator says, “Avoiding any real food or cold foods completely depends on your body’s immune system. Hence there is no reason to restrict any kind of food intake. Though the cold weather may give us reasons to indulge in hot, spicy and grounding foods, this doesn’t give us a free ticket to indulge in unreal or fried, junk and sugary foods.”
Diwan, suggests that it is better to reduce milk intake in winters because it causes phlegm cough and may thicken the phlegm already present in the body. “This can make you more uncomfortable and can increase the irritation in the throat. Then fried food is a source of trans fats and adds up to the total calorie consumption,” he says.