While festivals may be behind us, the festive spirit continues to thrive amidst the encroaching winter chill. As the temperature drops, so do our cravings and energy levels, prompting a shift in both metabolism and mood. Elevate your winter celebrations with a focus on comforting, nourishing foods that not only keep you warm but also sustain your vitality during the colder months. Contrary to the belief that winter calls for sedentary indulgence in calorie-laden treats like panjiri, ladoo, and gajar halwa, it's crucial to strike a balance by staying active and embracing a healthy diet that caters to the heightened demands of our metabolism.
Stay Active, Stay Warm and Stay Healthy with These 6 Delicious Choices:
1. Root vegetables
Nature blesses us with an array of nutrient-rich foods perfectly suited for this season. Root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and parsnips take centre stage, offering versatility in preparation - whether roasted, mashed, or incorporated into soups and stews. Sweet potatoes bring beta-carotene and vitamin C to the table, while beets contribute anthocyanins with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, safeguarding against heart diseases and other non-communicable diseases. Nitrates in beets even work to relax our arteries and improve blood pressure.
Also Read: 5 Comfort Foods To Keep You Warm This Winter
2. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, sweet limes, tangerines, and mandarins abound in winter, packed with immune-boosting vitamin C and essential for lung health. These fruits double as elixirs for skin health, countering the harsh effects of cold air.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and peanuts offer a trifecta of healthy fats, protein, and vital nutrients. Rich in zinc and magnesium, they contribute to robust immunity and contain phytochemicals that function as antioxidants, neutralizing free radicals produced during the heightened metabolic activity in winter.
Also Read: How To Eat Nuts And Seeds In The Morning For Immunity
4. Warm beverages
In the realm of beverages, turn to warm options such as herbal teas (chamomile, ginger, or peppermint) and spiced chai, which not only provide warmth but also deliver a dose of antioxidants. Chamomile and ashwagandha, in particular, are renowned for their anxiety-suppressing and mood-alleviating properties. Additionally, hearty soups and stews, incorporating beans, lentils, vegetables, or meat, not only offer comfort but also serve as complete, weight-conscious meals.
Harness the power of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and ginger by incorporating them into teas, infusions, or your culinary creations. Beyond enhancing flavour, these spices aid digestion, fend off colds, regulate sugar metabolism, and contribute to controlling inflammatory processes.
6. Fermented foods
Consider adding fermented foods to your winter regimen for a robust gut. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, idly, dosa, dhokla, and yogurt all support gut health, fortifying your immune system for the winter battles ahead.
Also Read: 7 Best Yogurt Recipes | Easy Yogurt Recipes
As you revel in the winter spirit, remember the importance of moderation. Cherish the warmth and comfort that food brings, but do so while adhering to a balanced diet that fulfils your nutritional requirements. Embrace a variety of seasonal foods to enrich your festive experience and simultaneously bolster your overall health in the colder months. And, of course, don't forget to incorporate exercise into your routine-whether indoors, at home, or wherever convenient, spending at least 30 minutes in vigorous movement is a must.
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About Rupali DattaRupali Datta is a Clinical Nutritionist and has worked in leading corporate hospitals. She has created and lead teams of professionals to deliver clinical solutions for patients across all medical specialties including critical care. She is a member of the Indian Dietetic Association and Indian Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.