Winter brings a divergent change in the weather after the wet monsoon and scorching heat of summer. The changing weather necessitates a modification in nutrition as well. Especially this year, our dietary habits can be a decisive differentiator for our health and immunity. Working from home has become the new norm, resulting in far lesser physical activity and a lot more opportunities for eating. It can lead to weight gain, joint problems, vitamin D deficiency, constipation, and so on, says Pradeep Singh, wellness and nutrition expert, and certified dietitian.
“To add to that, winter brings with it dry skin and hair fall, which are also causes of concern. Therefore, enriching our diet with superfoods may help deal with all these problems and provide you with immunity, good skin, great digestion, and overall holistic health,” he tells indianexpress.com.
But what are these superfoods, and how do they benefit us? In a nutshell, ‘superfoods’ are those edibles that contain a high nutritional value and provide us with a variety of health benefits.
Below, he shares eight such superfoods that you should be eating this winter.
Garlic: If you’re a fan of garlic, winter is the time for you to have it. Garlic is a great source of selenium, germanium, and sulfhydryl amino acids, which help in boosting immunity. It is also a natural antibiotic and is effective in preventing urinary tract infections, lowering blood pressure, preventing bronchitis and pneumonia. This makes garlic one of the best winter diet additions.
Cinnamon: Everybody’s kitchen has this ingredient for sure. Usually shelved with cloves, nutmeg, and other spices, cinnamon is a great source of iron and calcium. It is essential for the production of healthy red blood cells and can also help in reducing spikes in blood sugar levels. A simple way to incorporate it into your diet would be, adding it to your morning cup of coffee or tea.
Almond and walnuts: Just like blankets warm you up in winters, these nuts can warm you up on the inside. Both almonds and walnuts lower bad cholesterol, control blood sugar levels, and reduce inflammation. Walnuts are a great source of Omega-3, while almonds are rich in Vitamin E, antioxidants, and magnesium. So if you’re craving a light snack, don’t hesitate to pick up a few almonds and walnuts to munch on in between meals.
Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are great comfort food. They are also a rich source of fibre, Vitamin A, and potassium. If you want to go easy on the calories and high on the nutrients, sweet potatoes are the answer in winter. It can help with relieving constipation, building immunity, and reducing inflammation.
Mustard greens: Mustard greens, just like other green leafy vegetables, are among the most nutritious foods you can eat. These greens are rich in fibre, and vitamin C, which is much needed during winter to help fight infections. Plus, it helps lower cholesterol and improves liver health.
Citrus fruits: By now, we’ve all heard that citrus fruits are synonymous with vitamin C. So, not mentioning them as a winter food would leave the list incomplete, and for a good reason. Fruits such as oranges, grapes, and lemons are jam-packed with minerals and phytochemicals. Therefore, including them in your winter diet is a must if you want to develop a super-strong immune system.
Carrots: Carrots are rich in beta-carotene that gives them their bright orange colour and makes them rich in vitamin A. The high level of fibre they contain also means you can include carrots in your weight loss diet. They are also beneficial for regulating cholesterol levels. As an added benefit, they have high amounts of antioxidants, vitamin K, and improve overall eye health.
Pea protein: Arguably the most complete plant protein, pea protein, is made from yellow split peas. Unlike beans or rice, it contains all the amino acids that your body requires. It’s also a great alternative to whey or soy, especially if you’re allergic or sensitive to either of the two. Plus, it’s a go-to protein source that will warm you up this winter if you’re a vegan.
Apart from winters, these foods should become a part of your daily nutrition regime as they will help you become fit and maximise your healthspan. A combination of these foods will yield clear skin, healthier hair, improved digestion, increased metabolism, and overall higher energy levels, he says.