Don’t give in to the temptation of skipping the gym and convincing yourself you deserve a calorie splurge to warm up and offset your winter discomfort? If you do so, you may not be alone but remember, no weather warrants unhealthy eating habits. Just as you shouldn’t overdo ice cream during summer, you shouldn’t go bonkers over hot chocolate and warm cookies during winter.
So, it is time to winterise your diet and this is the right way to do so:
Local produce can be hard to find when cold weather inhibits crop growth, but root vegetables (beets, carrots and turnips) can withstand the cold and you can reap the benefits. Roast carrots for a boost of beta-carotene, or boil turnips for vitamins C and A.
Oatmeal is much more than just a conveninet breakfast food, it also provides nutrients that are essential during winter. Oatmeal is high in zinc (important for proper immune function) and soluble fibre (associated with heart health).
Soup is winter’s perfect food — as long as you go easy on the salt and beef. Look for soup recipes that call for chicken broth, vegetable broth or water as the base and include a lot of vegetables. Pair your soup with a side of whole-grain crackers for a dose of grains.
Spicy tuna roll
For a surprisingalternative to typical comfort foods — often loaded with fat and sugar — try sushi. Choose rolls lined with tuna or salmon. Both are good sources of vitamin D. During the winter months, when you have limited exposure to the sun, food sources of the bone-healthy vitamin become even more essential.
Broccoli and cauliflower
Aside from getting the flu shot and washing your hands regularly, these cruciferous vegetables may be your top defense against winter sickness. Broccoli and cauliflower are both high in vitamin C, which is associated with enhanced immune function.
Three types of immunity
According to Ayurvedacharya Dr Partap Chauhan, director Jiva Ayurveda, ayurveda propagates three types of immunity:
Sahaj (hereditary) – immunity you’re born with.
Kalaj (seasonal) – immunity that comes and goes with seasons
Yuktikrit (established) – immunity you can develop with a balanced diet and systemic practice of yoga.
It is the third type of immunity one should acquire during the winter and it can be easily done by adopting an ayurvedic lifestyle.
Oils and butter
More than half your immunity is driven by the process of digestion. Ayurveda equates digestive strength with a ‘fire’ (known as ‘agni’ in Sanskrit) in the stomach. Because we tend to become fairly lethargic during winters, this fire may lose some of its potency. That’s why it’s important to include generous amounts of natural oils, desi ghee, and butter in your diet to keep this flame alive.
Boiled food is one of the best options for winter. Have plenty of soup, stews, and broths made of winter foods. Carrots, beets, green leafy vegetables as well as other root-based vegetables are extremely beneficial and can be had steamed or otherwise.
Dry-fruits are a must for the winters. Cashews, pistachios, dates, almonds, walnuts – are all good for your winter diet. Not only do these help generate heat within the body, they also give you the energy needed to fight winter laziness.
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