03 2021 Jan
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Be sure to incorporate them into your diet this season

Winter is here. The much awaited season often leads to unhealthy eating habits. Cold weather, more often than not, intensifies our desire to munch on comfort foods and pushes us towards a more sedentary lifestyle.

Winterizing the diet with healthy foods can be fun and tasty without taking in any extra calories and avoiding an extra layer of fat. These foods will also help you fight the cold.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Don't wait for thirst to make you drink water as, during winters, one doesn't really feel like drinking it. Since 70 per cent of our body is water, taking in enough fluids is the basis for keeping our body working at its best. Gorging on a hot bowl of soup or sipping on green tea, ginger tea and various other herbal teas are also beneficial. One can also include fluids such as labaan, Aloe-Vera juice, coconut water or detox water, like lemon + mint + cucumber water, fennel + mint water, in their daily routine. Though tea and coffee are in demand during the cold season, try and avoid them as these caffeinated drinks are diuretics and may lead to water loss in our bodies.

Include Vitamin C-rich foods like yellow and orange fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Some Vitamin C- and Vitamin A-rich foods are carrots, sweet potatoes, yellow and orange bell peppers, gooseberries, oranges, kiwis, sweet limes, tangerines, mangoes, papayas, apricots and berries like cranberries and blueberries. Toss these foods in soups, salads or smoothies to decrease dryness of the skin and increase the efficiency of the immune system (cold or flus are very common during winter).

Spice up your meals. Spices not only satisfy our taste buds but also help us stay warm by increasing the metabolism. One can add spices like garlic, ginger, clove, pepper and asafoetida in the diet. These spices are great decongestants and are known for anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. They are extremely good for people suffering from bronchitis and asthma, which can be easily aggravated during cold weather.

Have a handful of nuts and seeds. Munch on a small portion of almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds every day. Nuts are calorie-dense foods packed with protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, and some essential vitamins and minerals. These portable nuts and seeds make great healthy snacks that suppress the appetite. They are also warm in nature and can be used as mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks instead of other unhealthy junk. Roasted, salted nuts are best avoided. The salt is not needed, and roasting affects the oils and decreases the vitamin and mineral content. Add to your yoghurt, salad or dessert to make a complete meal, so that one can provide plenty of vitamin E and micro minerals like magnesium and selenium to the body.

Protein is the right choice! Having protein-rich foods during winter increases thermo genesis that will help you stay warm. Some of protein-rich foods are eggs, meat, fish, legumes and milk and milk products. Pulses like chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, soyabeans, tofu and brussel sprouts are also great. Legumes, pulses and sprouts are considered an excellent source of protein, Vitamin C and fibre, which will not only help us keep warm but also increase the efficiency of our immune system. Vitamin D requirement during winter increases due to less exposure to the sun, so tuna fish can be a good choice during this time as it is rich in protein and vitamin D.

Whole grain cereals are a good option. They are rich in fiber as well as some essential vitamins and minerals. Fiber provides bulk to our diet and helps us maintain our metabolic rate. Whole grains like wheat, barley, oats, rice and millets like bajra and jowar are rich in vitamin B12 and folic acid. Choose vitamin D fortified cereals. Whole grains aid digestive and heart health, maintain healthy blood sugar levels and prevent depression.