Winter can be a wonderful and much-awaited season, especially if you are residing in a hot and tropical climate like India. It is the time of the year when finally free from the humid and fetid weather, we can finally go outdoors and enjoy ourselves. As a little girl growing up in the city of Kolkata in India, I remember the winter season as the time we went to the zoo and fairs, had picnics with friends and family, and went to the nearby seaside resorts to soak up the sun. But winter can come with their share of health complications. In winter, as there is fall in temperature and humidity, we can become more susceptible to cold and flu, respiratory ailments, itchy skin, headache and even heart attacks. We must not forget to take care of our health as we set out to enjoy the winter chill. Along with warm cloths, adequate sleep and regular exercise there are certain foods that help in maintaining our health in the winter season. Given below are ten food items we must not forget to include in our diet this winter.
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- Seasonal Vegetables
Mother nature silently provides for us everything we need to stay healthy. One of the best ways to keep up our health in winter season is to eat lots of seasonal vegetables like spinach, carrot, radish, beetroot cauliflower, cabbage, and green peas. They are loaded with essential nutrients like Vitamins B and C, beta-carotene, iron and magnesium, and manganese. They also help to keep our bodies warm and our bones healthy.
- Dry Fruits
Include dry fruits like almonds, apricots walnuts, and dates in your diet. They are filled with good fats like Omega 3 fatty acids and are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and iron. They are not only good for our body, they also help in keeping our hair and skin healthy. They also aid in our digestion and metabolism and provides us with healthy snacking options as compared to oily fast food items.
Ghee or clarified butter has been a part of our diet since ages. Recently ghee has acquired international recognition as well for its various health benefits. It is known to improve our digestion, eyesight as well as constipation related issues. Ghee also prevents drying and cracking of skin during winter by acting as a softening agent. Just one teaspoon of ghee every morning helps to keep our body warm during winter months.
Ginger is an essential part of our diet and has been mentioned in ancient scriptures like Rigveda. Ginger helps in reducing pain and inflammation and keeps our body warm in chilly weather. Having a steaming cup of ginger tea can go a long way in soothing our sore throats.
Tulsi or holy basil can be found in almost every Indian household and has immense religious, cultural and medicinal value. Tulsi is a natural remedy for cold and flu and can provide relief for several respiratory illnesses. It is known as an antiseptic and antioxidant and aids in our metabolism as well.
Jaggery or unrefined sugar is a very common food item in India. It is consumed on its own and is used as a sweetening agent in a variety of sweet dishes like porridge and sweetmeats. Jaggery also helps to keep our body warm during winter by providing us with extra calories and dilating our blood vessels.
One of the common ailments in the winter months is dry skin as well as cold and flu. Honey can be used as an effective moisturizer for our dry skin and lips. It is also a natural remedy for sore throat and helps to boost our immune system. Having a glass of warm water with honey can improve our overall health during winter and can protect us from common cold and flu.
India is famous all over the world for its spicy food. Popular Indian spices like pepper, cinnamon, turmeric and asafetida not only provide flavor to our curries and biriyanis, but they also have several medicinal values as well. They provide warmth to our body during winter months and boosts our immunity thus protecting us from common winter ailments.
- Whole grains
Winter Millets and grains like makai, jowar, bajra are very good for our health as they are high on fiber as well as nutrients and has low glycemic index. Millets can be an excellent choice for those who are suffering from joint pain and inflammation.