Winter Nutrition Guide: Natural Food To Keep Your Body Healthy & Warm This Chilly Season

Winter holidays can be deadly in terms of the increased focus on food and especially those once-a-year desserts.
Certain types of food can improve your immunity and keep you healthy during winters. To know what they are, keep reading ahead!

In winter the days get shorter and as the temperature starts to drop there is a greater tendency to stay indoors where it is warm, be less active and eat comfort foods. One of the most important ways to strengthen your immune system and performance is through absorbing the daily nutrients we get from our food.

With the colder winter weather come coughs, colds and the flu season, plus, for some of us, winter weight gain. It’s an important time to make sure you stay on top of your diet and keep yourself well-nourished.

Best the flue

Here is a list of foods to eat to fight Common Cold

Sticking to a healthy diet won’t prevent you from picking up winter illnesses, but it can help maintain your immune system to better protect you. And should you fall ill, a nutritious diet can help speed up your recovery.

The range of seasonal fruit and vegetables declines at this time of year, and the weather can make getting out and about less appealing. However, while daylight may be in short supply, there are still ways that you can look after your diet and your heart health. Here, we share our nutrition tips on how to get through a cold winter’s day.

Committed to eating healthy this winter? Here are 9 foods you should add to your diet!

1.Cook with Natural Oils & Desi Ghee

Now, this already sounds delicious, but let us find out why these foods are good in the winter. According to Ayurveda, the digestive strength of your body is equated with fire or ‘agni’. It is believed that a large part of your immunity is boosted by digestive processes. While this ‘agni’ which is crucial, becomes lesser in the winter season, as we become lethargic.

Eating natural oils and desi ghee can help keep the digestive system functioning well. As a result, you can boost your immunity and prevent yourself from falling sick.

Healthy oil

Here is an guide to pick the healthiest cooking oil

2.Focus on Healthy Carbs

The longer hours of darkness during the winter can lead to drops in serotonin levels, which may cause the sad feelings known as the winter blues. It can even bring on some food cravings. Listen to your cravings – there is a reason for them!

In the winter, with fewer sunny hours, your stored serotonin (the “feel-good” brain chemical) starts to decline. Your cravings for carbohydrate-loaded comfort foods are your body’s cries for more serotonin. But be careful when choosing carbohydrates to boost serotonin! Opt for nutritious whole grains and choose high-quality carbs such as:

• Nuts

• Whole grains

• Beets

• Sweet potatoes

• Yams

• Squash

• Pumpkins

Squash

3.Consider Adding Vitamins C, D, and Zinc Supplements to Your Diet

Vitamin supplements, like vitamin C, D, and zinc, can help meet the challenges of staying healthy in the winter.

• Vitamin C, found naturally in fruits and vegetables, can help boost your immune system and prepare you to fight a cold or the flu. You must seek out red bell peppers if you want to stay healthy during the winter. This is because red bell peppers contain high amounts of Vitamin C.

Vitamin D is mood-lifting and can be produced by the body with the help of sunlight. But since natural sunlight in winter isn’t abundant, you should seek out food containing Vitamin D to match your deficit.

• Vitamin D sources are primarily foods such as fish (e.g., salmon, tuna and cod), eggs, avocado and mushrooms. Adding supplements to your diet this winter may help reduce your risk of developing depression and unhealthy cravings.

Zinc

• Zinc, naturally found in fish, dairy, eggs and some cereals, can also help ward off infections.

How taking a zinc supplement can benefit your health

4. Opt for Seasonal Produce

Keep your diet full of your favourite fruits and vegetables this winter. Be on the lookout for regional and seasonal fruits and vegetables, since valuable ingredients can be lost by lengthy transport and storage times.

Some of the most winter varieties such as pumpkin, chicory, radicchio and warming root vegetables include carrots, radish, potatoes, onions, garlic are particularly good at this time of year. These veggies are digested slower in the body, which generates more heat. Include more of these vegetables in your winter diet to stay warm. Some of these vegetables are seasonal and fresh, and hence, are even healthier for the body.

With fruits, choose varieties that are harvested in late autumn, such as apples, pears, pomegranates, oranges and grapes.

5.Nuts Keep You Awake

Prolonged periods of low sunlight also means that more of the sleep hormone melatonin is produced. This makes you tired, sluggish and unmotivated. To keep this in check, you need melatonin’s opponent, serotonin, which is formed from the amino acid tryptophan. All kinds of nuts, from peanuts and cashews to hazelnuts and also sunflower seeds provide you with this valuable substrate.

Nuts

Here are some healthy peanut butter deserts

6.Use Honey as Your Sweetener

Swap processed sugar with honey as a sweetener for your winter beverages. Honey is naturally warm can even be added to hot salads as a salad dressing. However, diabetics may want to exercise caution while using honey during winters.

Another excellent natural sweeteners to consume during winters are Figs and dates, rich in calcium and iron and are both warmings in nature. They also boost body energy.

Honey

Here are surprising health benefits of Honey

7.Warm-up From The Inside

As a general focus, make sure many hot foods and drinks with lots of spices should be on your menu. These warm your organs and muscles internally, stimulate blood circulation and metabolism, while developing resistance to low temperatures. By using spices like cloves, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg in your meals, you can not only jazz up the flavour of your food but also prepare delicious teas. These spices can be added to curries, teas and coffees and essentially to any wintery hot beverage.

Spices

Healthiest spices with the most powerful health benefits

8.Mix Yoghurt with Meals

Yoghurt is a natural probiotic. This means that it contains good gut bacteria. Good gut bacteria are basically healthy species of bacteria that exist in your gastrointestinal tract and support normal digestive functions. They help your body ward off infections and diseases as their presence affects different body functions, including immunity.

Why you should eat for your gut health

9.Stay Hydrated

Wintertime hydration is still an important consideration despite the cold weather. Lower temperatures, sweating less and a general lack of thirst may mean that exercisers and non-exercisers alike drink less water and, instead, drink more comforting hot beverages such as tea, coffee, soup and chocolate.

While it’s cold, your caffeine fix may seem even more attractive because it helps keep you warm. While their caffeine content means that urine output increases which could cancel out some of their contribution to hydration. To remedy this, try replacing some caffeinated beverages with caffeine-free alternatives such as herbal and fruit tea, soup, warm water with lemon, decaffeinated coffee and tea. Adding tea to your diet can not only help keep you warm but also has been linked to:

• Preventing some illnesses.

• Building up immunity.

• Stimulating metabolism.

So, apart from keeping your extremities (hands, head and toes) covered during winters, you may want to follow the above-mentioned diet tips to keep warm naturally during winters.

Prevention is better than a cure for the winter blues so put these tips into action to stay on track this winter.

Extra Help

Pumpkin soup

Here is a Healthy & Dairy free pumpkin soup for weight loss

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar

Fight Coronavirus With Food -What foods to Eat to Avoid Coronavirus

If you have a healthy immune system, your body can safeguard you from any disease, even the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.

While as of now, there is neither any vaccine available nor proven home remedy to protect you from the COVID-19, there are some vitamins and foods which you can inculcate in your diet to have a strong immune system and in turn, fight the infectious disease.

How food affects health

The foods you eat help your immune system. Inflammation is a natural alert to fight invaders. But, if it goes on too long, it can hurt you and your ability to fight disease effectively. 

Eating foods that reduce inflammation (“anti-inflammatory” foods) helps your immune system.

Here is an ultimate guide about treating Inflammation

Can supplements prevent COVID-19?

No single food, nutrient or supplement can prevent coronavirus infection, but eating healthy helps your body fight disease. It’s all about balance.

Supplements (like vitamins and minerals) can be helpful, but only if you’re not getting enough of those nutrients regularly. 

Supplements can actually be bad for you if you take too much at one time. Everything is best in moderation. If you have underlying or chronic health conditions, check with your primary care provider before taking them. 

Looking for ways to help prevent coronavirus?

Adding these 7 immunity-booster foods to your diet may help

1.Yogurt for Gut Health

“Yogurt is a natural probiotic and aids in the formation of good bacteria in our body. Remember, it has to be freshly made.

Yogurt recipe

Do you know that a huge proportion of the immune system is actually in the gastrointestinal tract?

Here is a guide to keeping your Gut Health and Happy

Eating yoghurt daily can improve immune function because it increases the body’s production of antibodies that fight off viruses. To avoid added sugar, choose plain, unsweetened yoghurt.

Here is the easy homemade recipe of kombucha

2.Turmeric for Anti-inflammatory Properties

The golden spice turmeric is known for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Curcumin, the compound present in turmeric is a very potent agent and aids in the healing of wounds and infections. This is the reason, it is often suggested to have turmeric milk.

Turmeric latte

‘Most people have it (turmeric) in the wrong way. If you are having Haldi (turmeric), don’t have it in water, instead, boil it in the milk and have the popular turmeric milk.

You can also try our homemade turmeric latte.

3.Garlic & Onions for Antiviral Properties

Garlic, a popular and pungent herb with a characteristic aroma, is widely believed to have antibacterial and antiviral effects, including helping to fight the common cold.

Garlic gets that distinctive smell from sulfur compounds and regardless of whether you love the aroma, it offers protective benefits to your health and immune response.

Antiviral foods

That’s because when garlic is crushed or chopped, it produces allicin, highlighted for its antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Onions have a substance called quercetin, which may help regulate histamine

response and contains antiviral properties.

Looking for more powerful healing spices? Check the list of top healing spices

4.Mushroom for Antibacterial Properties

Shiitake mushroom to be precise are packed with beta-glucans which are known to be antiviral and antibacterial compounds. They not only help in giving a kickstart to your immunity but also appear to subside inflammation.

You can enjoy stir-fried shiitake mushrooms by thinly slicing the mushroom caps and sauteeing in coconut oil.

5. Citrus and Leafy Greens for Vitamin C

Among all kinds of Vitamins, Vitamin C and Vitamin D play a major role in strengthening one’s immunity.

People who have been infected with the COVID-19 are being given Vitamin C through IV (Intravenous therapy) – that delivers fluids directly into a vein.

Citrus

Red bell peppers

Red bell peppers reign supreme when it comes to fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. One cup of chopped red bell peppers contains about 211% of your DV of vitamin C. That’s about twice more than an orange (106%).

Broccoli

Broccoli is also rich in vitamin C. Just half a cup contains 43% of your daily value of vitamin C. Broccoli is also packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that support our immune system. It also contains vitamin E.

Strawberries

Just half a cup of strawberries contains 50% of her vitamin C needs for the day.

Spinach

Spinach is rich in vitamin C and full of antioxidants that help shield our immune cells from environmental damage. Plus, it has beta carotene, which is the main dietary source of vitamin A — an essential component of proper immune function.

Check out the 5 immunity boosting food juices

6.Nuts and Seeds Supply Immunity-Supportive Vitamin E, magnesium & selenium

Not only do they have magnesium, but they’re also rich with vitamin E, an antioxidant that’s been shown to improve the body’s ability to fight off bacteria and viruses.

Nuts

Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, which works as an antioxidant and helps boosts the immune system. Small but mighty, just one ounce of dry-roasted sunflower seeds can give you 49% of your daily value of vitamin E.

Just one Brazil nut packs more than 100 per cent of your daily selenium needs, a mineral that can strengthen your immune system. Other options like almonds, walnuts, and pecans can give you that vitamin E boost with just a small handful.

7.Zinc for Cell Functions

Zinc is a mineral involved in the white blood cell response to infection. Because of this, people who are deficient in zinc are more susceptible to cold, flu, and other viruses.

This essential nutrient helps maintain the body’s ability to make new cells and enzymes, process carbohydrate, fat and protein in food and also increases the speed of healing muscles and wounds.

If you’re a meat-eater, good news: red meats are particularly high in zinc, as are shellfish and eggs. Vegans, go for nuts, whole grains and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans).

Try our creative recipes to add chickpea in your daily diet

Taking supplementary zinc may be a good strategy for older people and others at increased risk. If you decide to take zinc, make sure to stay below the upper limit of 40 mg per day and avoid administering nasally, due to the risk of olfactory complications.

Also read : Low Carb Foods That Will Instantly Boost Your Immunity

By Priyanshi Bhatnagar