With the onset of winter season, we prepare ourselves for cold, windy waves and bring about some changes in our diet. The temperature of our surrounding starts going down rapidly, so everyone wants a way to keep him/her warm. There are several foods that we stop consuming as they have a cold property and there are certain foods that we start adding into our diet in order to be able to sustain through the season without falling ill or having any seasonal health problem. In winter, our body needs comparatively rich food which provides warmth as well as nourishment. However, many healthy winter foods around us help us to keep the body warm even when it is chilly outside. Here are some specific Indian winter foods, which we can find easily in our kitchens or in our surroundings.
- Oranges: This fruit is the best source of vitamin C and helps our body fight against germs and gives potassium, minerals, folate (vitamin-B9) and fibre. But above all it is low in calories.
- Apples: Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids ( promote healthy blood vessel function), and dietary fibres. We must have this fruit during winter and take it as our midday snack.
- Carrots: Carrots have the highest amount of beta-carotene (vitamin-A) in compared to other fruits and vegetables. It is also an excellent source of vitamin B, C, D, E and K. We can eat them raw or cooked.
- Turnips: This is a rounded, root vegetable like a beetroot. It has a sweet taste and starchy texture that contains fibre, folate, vitamins and minerals and the best turnips come in the market during winter.
- Mustard Leaves: Green leaves of mustard, a winter crop is highly nutritious. Several vital antioxidants, carotenes, vitamins and minerals are there in its fresh green leaves. We must include the goodness of this food in our diet in winter and get the benefits.
- Fenugreek Leaves: Fenugreek leaves (Methi) are loaded with vitamins and minerals along with lots of fibre and phytonutrients (found in plants only). These also help in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar level along with overall health benefits.
- Spinach: Spinach leaves contain flavonoids and carotenoids which are antioxidants along with lots of vitamins and minerals. These are rich in vitamin A, C and K and contain omega-3 fatty acids. To get the complete nutrition, avoid boiling or cooking it too much.
- Pea: Peas are rich in Vitamin-K and contain essential B-Complex vitamins. They have all necessary minerals along with folic acid and ascorbic acid. They are not just eaten after being cooked with other vegetables, but we can have them raw in salads and add them to soups. They provide us with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
- Radish: Radishes are easily available in abundance during winter season. They are pungent or sweet in taste and provide us with potassium, lots of roughage, folic acid and ascorbic acid. We can either cook them or even eat raw.
- Beetroots: Beetroots can be consumed throughout the year, but they are the best ones during winter season. They contain compound that help prevent heart and liver diseases and also help enhance the blood flow to brain.
Some other Indian charms of winter are:
- Tulsi and Ginger: A cup of tea with ginger and tulsi will keep you protected from cold and flu throughout the day. It is effective like a traditional medicine.
- Honey: Honey is very useful in combating against cold and flu.
- Ghee: It cuts down the bad fats when consumed in small amounts and also helps to keep our body warm.
- Dry Fruits: Dry fruits are one of the best foods in winter. Apricots, almonds, dried figs and dates give us natural warmth.
- Whole Grains: The whole grains keep us warm. Whole grains like bajra, pearl millet and ragi or finger millet should definitely be included in our diet.
- Jaggery: Jaggery (gur) not only improves our digestive system but also keeps us warm.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon promotes the body’s metabolism, helps in generating heat in very cold weather and needs to be a part of our winter healthy food.
- Saffron: Consuming saffron keeps our body warm. We can just boil saffron in milk or add it in other foods.
- Sesame: Sesame seeds help resist various respiratory disorders. We can enjoy sesame delicacies like the “chikki”or “laddu”.
- Hot Soups: Most of us like to have a bowl of hot soup on a chilly winter evening. It is one of the best ways to get instant warmth.
In winter our body metabolism becomes low and so it is advisable to take fruits and vegetables that are low in calories and have dense nutrients.