Winter foods

There are various outfits you can use to keep your body warm during winters, but how many will protect you from within ?  The best way to ensure that you stay warm is by opting to make a few conscious changes in your diet. 
Bengaluru-based nutritionist Dr. Ranjani Raman tells us that a high intake of junk and fatty foods can result in poor immunity and superficial warming.  Observing today’s lifestyle, she says, “Winter is when our body naturally craves for foods that keep our body warm.  However, we may end up making the wrong food choices, so care must be taken to pick the foods that boost our health during winters wisely.”  
Here are some easily accessible food items that you can depend on : 
(1) Citrus Fruits —– Fruits, on the whole, help increase immunity.  However, focus on Vitamin C-rich fruits such as oranges, sweet lime, pineapple, guavas, strawberries.  Taken on a daily basis, these fruits can spike up vitamin C levels and, therefore, help fight infections.  (2) Legumes —- Legumes have a generic property of warming the body and are an ideal source of protein.  A good intake of protein helps in keeping the metabolic rate high, especially since the levels of body activity reduces during winter.  Include a cup of peas, beans, soy beans, in your diet, to ensure a satisfying appetite. 
(3) Green Leafy Vegetables —- Most vitamins help fight diseases —— these are called protective foods.  Including cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach,  mint, parsley supplies your body with vitamins such as C, A, K and helps fight infections. 
foods-keep-warm-winter_grande(4) Root Vegetables —- Potatoes, carrots, radish, turnip, onion and beetroot are considered to be great winter vegetables.  It is believed that foods  grown underground have warming properties.  They also contain sufficient antioxidants that help prevent cancer. 
(5) Yogurt —- It is common to ignore curd during winter, but by doing that you tend to miss out on healthy bacteria that boosts intestinal health.  During the chilly season, the craving for taste takes over the craving for healthy food, which can result in an upset stomach.  A cup of curd keeps the stomach in check. 
(6) Spices —- Spices such as mustard, fenugreek, pepper and turmeric have natural warming properties.  They also help in increasing metabolic rate.  Spicing up cooked vegetables can double the benefits in winter.  Excess of chilly powder should, however, be avoided.  Instead, add pepper and green chillies for natural flavour. 
(7) Herbs —- Many herbs have medicinal properties, and it is advisable to include the same in your daily diet on a daily basis.  Basil helps ward off cold and fever.  Ginger has natural warming properties and can be added to beverages, soups and gravies.  Garlic is good for the heart.  Sesame seeds are also warming and can be used in cereal-based preparations, gravies, salads or breads. 
(8) Nuts —- Nuts provide healthy fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin E, and also provide healthy fats.  Fats help in warming the body as they have natural insulating properties that can prevent cold.  They also prevent dry skin, which is common during winter.  One can choose to chew on almonds, pistachios and walnuts regularly. 
(9) Avocados —- Avocados are one of the most natural and healthiest foods that contain a lot of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron and copper, amino acids and healthy fats.  This again has an insulating effect, thereby helping one stay warm. 
(10) Dry Fruits —- This is an ideal group of foods to snack on during winters.  They take care of your micro-nutrient requirement, while providing ample health benefits.  A handful of figs, dates, raisins and apricots can also enhance brain power and help fight sweet cravings.

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