Winter brings with it a chill in the air and the spirit of joy, happiness and celebration. Along with this, it also brings in a whole bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables that are widely available in the local markets. Seasonal fruits have their own properties; for example, oranges, mousambi and pomegranate are widely available during winters and are brimming with vitamin C and antioxidants, which are known to boost immunity and keep infections at bay. During winter, there is a chill in the air, which brings with challenges like colds, coughs, and the general flu-like symptoms; in order to combat this and protect ourselves, fresh fruits and vegetables (especially the vitamin C rich variety) will benefit us a lot. Vitamin C fruits like orange, sweet-lime, guava, kiwi, etc. help to boost the immunity and helps to fight against different viruses, bacteria and other microorganism. One of the best and easiest ways to protect from catching cold, cough and flu is by choosing locally and seasonally available fruits. And if you are expecting and planning to have a baby, these are the winter friends that must include in your diet.
Here are 7 of the best winter fruits (with benefits) to eat during pregnancy:
Oranges are well known for its nutritional benefits. Oranges are very rich in vitamin C, hence its consumption on a regular basis will help in boosting our immune system. It prevents skin damage and also it helps in iron absorption which is one of the most important nutrients in pregnancy. It contains folate/folic acid, which is known to help in preventing neural tube birth defects. Oranges can be consumed by adding it to a salad, fresh juice (either alone, or along with other fruits.
This fruit is full of crystal-shaped beads/seeds. Pomegranates are rich in iron which helps to prevent iron-deficiency. During pregnancy, it is very helpful in increasing hemoglobin levels. It is rich in fibre. It keeps the digestive system healthy and prevent from constipation. The best way to consume it is in the form of pomegranate-beetroot juice. You can also add pomegranate to poha as it will increase the nutritional value and help in iron absorption.
3. Custard Apple
It is also known as 'Sitaphal' - a fruit that is found only in winter and is loaded with essential vitamins like vitamin A and C. During pregnancy, Vitamin A helps in building eye sight of the growing baby and mother, and vitamin C will help in boosting the immune system of both mother and baby.
The best form to have custard apple is to eat it as a whole fruit or along with the milk in the form of sitaphal rabadi/kheer, which will also help boost your calcium level.
Apples, whether red or green, are one of the most popular fruits. It is one of the delicious fruits that is loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, A, potassium and pectin. Pectin is pre-biotic which helps feed the good gut bacteria. They help in aiding in digestion as they are rich in insoluble fiber. It helps to reduce heart burn also.You can consume apple in form of apple kheer, apple pie, apple juice or you can have apple cider vinegar in water to avoid heart burn.
Kiwis are filled with good amounts of folate, and vitamin C. It helps keep the skin healthy as the nutrients available in it are vital for the body. Consuming it in pregnancy will help to improve the cognitive development in babies.It can be had as kiwi lemonade, smoothie or infused kiwi and mint in water.
6. Indian gooseberry (Amla)
Also known as amla, Indian Gooseberry is one of the richest sources of vitamin C, and also have other essential vitamins and minerals like E, A, iron, calcium and fibre. Include it in your diet to build immunity against flu, common cold and other viral infections. In pregnancy it helps reduce morning sickness, maintains blood haemoglobin levels, and may even reduce the risk of developing gestational diabetes.Amla can be added to mint chutney or to a glass of vegetable juice to fortify it further with vitamin C. Additionally, you can dry the amla and make amla candy.
7. Berries (strawberries, mulberries etc.)
Berries are available in different shapes, size and colour with lot of health benefits. They are high in vitamin C, antioxidants, fibre, potassium and folate. In pregnancy, it could help in maintaining amniotic fluid as it has good amount of water content. Also as it is rich in antioxidant protect against the cell damage that free radicals cause. It can be consumed in the form of berry smoothie, can be added in yoghurt, or oatmeal, etc.
About Author: Shivani A. Bavalekar is a senior executive nutritionist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Pune (Kalyani Nagar).
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