Juhi Gulati Amla
During winter, people tend to eat more and exercise less. Behavioural changes include feelings of hopelessness, lack of concentration, social withdrawal, and fatigue. This condition, known technically as the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is more commonly known as winter blues. So, it is important to keep a check on the calorie intake to have a fit body and mind. Experts suggest that foods consisting of vitamin C, D, Omega-3 fatty acids and lighter meals can help.
Throughout the winter, it’s especially important for us to support a healthy immune system, the body’s natural mechanism to resist illnesses. Vitamin C, which is found in citrus fruits, can help support a healthy immune system and has the added benefit of helping to reducing tiredness and fatigue.
* Whole grains and pulses: The traditional Indian whole grain cereals besides wheat and rice include bajra, oats, maize or corn. Millets can be used to make hot porridge. Whole pulses and legumes like beans, soyabean and lentils can be used in soups and stews.
*Herbs, spices and condiments: Winter is an excellent time to incorporate ginger, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric and cloves into one’s daily diet. In addition to their warming effect, they contain phytonutrients, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight infections and disease. Garlic has special decongestant, antibiotic and antifungal properties to fight coughs, colds and sinusitis. Ginger increases peripheral circulation (circulation of blood to the extremities).
* Nuts and oilseeds: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, black and white sesame seeds and flax seeds are nutrition-packed for cold days. They are rich in heart-healthy fats, fiber, magnesium and vitamin E.
* Honey and jaggery: Natural substitutes for sugar and have warming effects.
*Dark green leafy vegetables: Mustard greens and amaranth greens (bathua) are good sources of iron and folate and help maintain good haemoglobin levels.
* Vitamin C: Carrots, pumpkin, turnips, cabbage, tomatoes, oranges, guava, lime and amla help fight infections like the common cold and flu.
* Lean meats, fish, and poultry: These high protein foods are associated with increased heat production and higher thermogenesis.
* Fluids: Hot soup, masala tea, green tea, kahwa and hot water with condiments help keep the body hydrated and maintain body temperature. Tea and coffee also produce warmth but should be consumed in moderation.
* Alcohol can be helpful in keeping warm: Alcohol dilates the blood vessels near the body’s surface, giving a feeling of warmth. But as the body’s heat escapes, alcohol cools the inner body. However, it must be remembered that alcohol raises blood pressure and can cause hypoglycemia, so heart patients and diabetics must consume it only in consultation with their physician.
Juhi Gulati Amla