Winters are the most fascinating time of the year. It brings with it cozy mornings, pleasant evenings, festivities, piping hot tea, coffee, soups and much more .Along with all this comes the chapped lips, dried skin, cold and flu. However, the amazing thing about this season is that it brings many wonder foods with it. These are not only high on nourishment but are also a tasty treat.
It is blessed with the foods that help nourish your body, enhance the digestive processes and improve your immunity, thereby improving one’s health and vitality.
These, immunity boosting, foods that are available during the winters are:
- Citrus fruits: Oranges, kinoos, lemons, sweet lime etc these are the foods that have a high amount of vitamin C which is a wonderful antioxidant. Vitamin C is important to maintain the integrity of skin so improves the quality and shine of the skin and help to remove dark spots. Vitamin C is also essential for bone health. Citrus fruits also have Flavonoids which help to lower the triglycerides and improving good cholesterol. Citrus fruits also have a good quantity of fiber, about 3-4 gm per 100 gm.So if you eat an orange (approx weight 200gm), you will get 1/4th of the days requirement of fiber and also that of Vitamin C.Citrus fruits have been proven to have anti-carcinogenic effect and reduce the risk of kidney and gall stones.
- Ginger: Ginger is a wonderful spicy herb, long being used by Asians for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties. Gingerol is the bioactive substance in fresh ginger, which has been proven to lower risk of many infections and inflammations. Ginger extract can inhibit the growth of many different types of bacteria. Fresh ginger is also effective against the RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which is a common cause of respiratory infections. It is very warming and promotes healthy sweating, which is helpful during colds and flu’s. Gingerol is also a very potent anti-inflammatory compound. It is very effective in the muscular pains and aches caused due to patients of arthritis which is aggravated during winters. Ginger is also proven to be effective in prevention of colorectal and breast cancer. It can be taken fresh or in the dried form.
- Honey: Honey is an excellent and delicious source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It contains certain enzymes, which play an important role in imparting the functional properties to honey and make it a unique and healthy sweetener. These enzymes in honey also impart it the anti bacterial and anti fungal properties .Honey is very effective in reducing nocturnal cough in children and allowing proper sleep. Honey is very helpful in reducing weight. A teaspoon with hot water in the morning is beneficial for weight loss. It can be mixed with ginger juice to impart its benefits of reducing cough.
- Gur (jaggery): Is unrefined sugar, obtained by boiling sugar cane juice or from the sap of coconut or date palm. It is much better than refined sugar and has many health benefits including its ability to cleansing and detoxifying the body. It also aids in the digestion process and also provides many vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, calcium and phosphorus and antioxidants .It helps the body get rid of free radicals and helps in flushing out the toxins from the liver. It acts as a vaso-dilator (dilates the vessels) and therefore helps in relieving common symptoms of cold, asthma and respiratory problems. For this it needs to be taken with hot water or tea. About 10-15 gm of jaggery per day is good to impart its health benefits.
- Green leafy vegetables (GLV’s): Green leafy vegetables like fenugreek (methi), spinach(palak), mustard leaves (sarson), coriander (dhania) and others are good sources of Vitamin A, C and K. Vitamin K improves bone strength and blood’s clotting capacity. Vitamin K also has anti inflammatory properties and is heart healthy. GLV’s also help fight depression and reduce the risk of memory loss. They are the best cancer- preventing food, due to the presence of carotene, an antioxidant. GLV’s are very high in fiber and low in calories, so they are very beneficial in maintain and reducing weight and also help to regulate the digestive processes. Including a minimum of 200 to 250 gm of GLV’s in daily diet will provide up to 1/5th of the day’s fiber. They can be eaten in the form of vegetables, in sandwich, soups, salad or prepared with chicken or egg.
- Walnuts: These are loaded with plant – based omega-3 fatty acids. They help to boost heart health and help fight depression. They are abundant in antioxidants and fiber and help prevent a large number of health problems. Walnuts have biotin which is helpful in strengthening hair. Omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts help in lowering the cholesterol levels of blood. It is low glycemic index, so it is beneficial in managing blood glucose levels and also for weight management. Its anti-oxidant properties help in removing free radicals from the body thereby delaying the process of ageing. 2-3 walnuts daily, soaked overnight are good enough to impart their health benefits.
These foods provide good quantities of many important vitamins and minerals which are beneficial in improving the immune system. These help the body regenerate and keep warm and healthy during the winters. Improve your health and vitality by including these foods in your daily diet.
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