Winters can often tempt you to just laze around all day; one cup of coffee after another, some rich dark chocolates and major food cravings that come with the festive season.
Whilst you satisfy your winter food cravings and indulge in some guilty foods once a while, it is also important to keep a check on your overall nutritional intake.
Since winters can bring with them seasonal flu and other sicknesses, it’s beneficial to increase your immunity levels. Tweaking your diet to suit the season can help combat any ill-effects of weather change on your body.
You can also include the following foods in your diet during the winter season to retain your metabolism and energy levels.
Give a fresh start to your day with warm oatmeal and dry fruit breakfast that will keep you energized for a longer time. Oatmeals contain high amounts of zinc that contribute to the better functioning of your immune system and also soluble fiber that boosts heart health.
A good immune system will help combat the flu-causing viruses and keep you healthy. You can also take the liberty to top your porridge with seasonal fruits like dates, apples, and cranberries or include legumes, oysters and spinach in your diet, which are also good sources of zinc.
Soups and Root Vegetables Instead of Sugary Foods
Winter season can often urge sweet-lovers as well as others to indulge in sugary delights and comfort foods. Though these foods can be highly comforting, when consumed regularly they can adversely affect your energy levels and waistline.
You can always go for healthy comfort foods such as nutrient-rich soups, roasted root vegetables, chicken broth, and whole grain crackers. These will not only satiate your taste buds but also take care of your overall health.
Vitamin C-Rich Fruits and Vegetables
Include a lot of fresh veggies, leafy greens and citrus fruits like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet potatoes, beetroot, white radish, spinach, mustard greens, blueberries, kiwi and strawberries in your diet. You can easily find these vegetables online at sites like Woolworths Online or in the market.
These foods are rich in fiber, beta carotene, zinc, Vitamin C, magnesium, Vitamin A and iron that can greatly benefit your heart, red blood cells, white blood cells, abdomen, cellular function, bones, and eyes.
Improve your iron intake by consuming a lot of leafy vegetables, red meats, and lentils or natural iron supplements. Iron content helps strengthen your immune system and in turn, prevents any viral infection. Mushrooms are also a great option during winter. Their antibacterial and antiviral properties aid in fighting infection.
They are also good sources of essential nutrients such as Vitamin D, selenium, phosphorous, Vitamin C, iron, potassium, copper and niacin.
Dry Fruits and Warm Beverages
Say no to fried and junk foods that will disturb your digestion. Instead, include a good amount of dry fruits in your diet that will generate body heat and protect you from the harsh winter.
You can also add some fun to your winters by consuming beverages with a hint of alcohol. If it’s too cold outside you can shop online for your preferred brand of liquor at places like Dan Murphy’s and enjoy a drink or two (only alcohol or alcohol mixed with lemon juice) with your friends.
Though it may not be a solution for your cold, it will certainly help you get through the chilly nights! However, alcohol can dehydrate your body quickly so be careful not to have more than one drink.
Fish, Cheese, and Eggs
While Vitamin B12 helps boost your immune system and reduce fatigue, Vitamin D makes up for the lack of sun exposure. These vitamins can be found in Salmon, Tuna, cheese, milk, eggs, and cereals. Foods rich in Omega-3 are also essential to enhance airflow and protect the lungs from respiratory infections.
Turmeric, Ginger, and Cinnamon
Antioxidants are undoubtedly the best immunity boosters in that they shield your cells from the ill-effects of free radicals. This, in turn, lowers the risks of inflammation in the body. A glass of milk mixed with turmeric during bedtime; ginger juice mixed with honey or some cinnamon after food will work wonders for cough, cold and indigestion.
Bananas, Brown Rice and Whole Wheat Bread
You may often find your mood dropped to a real low during the long, cold winters. That is when the ‘feel good’ hormone ‘serotonin’ plays a major role. You must consume foods like bananas, fish, almonds, dairy products, peanuts, dried dates and soya that contain ‘tryptophan’ – an amino acid responsible for the production of serotonin.
Mixing these foods with unrefined carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, brown rice or oats add to the process by releasing insulin, which helps in carrying tryptophan to the brain (the place where serotonin is produced).
Follow these simple tips during the winter season and reap the benefits. Making a few changes to your diet and modifying your daily routine can have long-term benefits on your overall health. So go ahead and enjoy the winters, while keeping diseases at bay!