As the little ones sniffle, sneeze and shiver this ice-kissed winter, we’d like to offer some warmth apart from those itchy woollen sweaters, monkey-caps and hand warmers. We share some foods that keep them warm this winter. However, the relationship between food and winter goes beyond keeping us warm.
Winter – Food – Our Body
Winter is the time our hunger shifts into high gear. And this is justified because as the temperatures drop, our metabolism slows down and consequently our body temperature goes down. Eating helps kick-up the metabolism, generate heat to keep you warm and also nourish the body.
While nothing can completely stop a cold in the killing, a healthy immune system can help you battle the germs that cause cold and flu. But if you still have bad luck and end up catching a cold, a healthy immune system helps reduce the duration and severity of the cold.
Foods for Warmth and Strength
Foods that pack a punch of energy and/or protein are the right kind of fuel to combat the cold temperature. Whole grains such as maize (makkai) and millets (bajra, ragi, jowar etc) are warming and energizing. Don’t miss out on having makkai roti, or the Gujarati winter delicacy – Ponkh (tender jowar). Another source of energy is roots and tubers such as carrot, potatoes, sweet potato, and yam. Radish, beets, turnips, onion and garlic additionally provide phytochemicals and strong flavours that pep up the taste of food.
Protein-packed pulses, lentils, beans and nuts like pigeon pea, broad beans, green peas, and groundnuts are winter specialities. Groundnuts offer good fats as well! Speaking of fats, ghee is not only high-energy but a source of essential fats that nourish the skin. Sweets are a good for winter as they are rich in energy, fat, and protein (if it is dal based). Gajar ka halwa, moong dal halwa, besan ladoos are popular.
Coming to fruits and vegetables. Papaya and pineapple are the warmth providing fruits. Hearty winter greens like methi (fenugreek leaves), palak (spinach leaves), sarsoon (mustard leaves), amaranth, mint, and radish greens are high in vitamins A, C and minerals like iron and calcium. These vitamins are antioxidants that amp up immunity.
In this context, a special mention goes to Amla, one of the richest sources of vitamin C. No wonder amla juice and amla muraba are plentiful during winter. Tulsi, turmeric, and ginger are the other immunity boosters which not only have anti-microbial properties but also keep the body warm.
Spices provide warmth and immunity apart from flavouring food. Hot liquids like herbal teas or soups with spices, ginger, and the like are perfect to combat the winter. Last but not the least dates and sesame seeds are warm in nature and are highly recommended in the winter months due to their energy, fat, and micronutrient content. Indulge in dry fruit ladoos, dates burfis or til chikkis guilt free. All said and done, remember moderation is the cornerstone of eating right.