Boosting immunity: 10 foods a nutritionist recommends to maintain fitness during winter
Boosting your immune system to deal with these problems is precisely the reason why winters call for some changes in your regular diet.
Like every season, winter comes with its own set of health risks. According to the Cleveland Clinic, health problems like fever, chills, postnasal cough and cold and viral infections are as common during winters as are inflammation, dry skin and associated skin issues. While the winter season in most parts of India isn’t as harsh as other parts of the world, lack of sunlight and vitamin D is also known to lead to depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other mental health issues.
Boosting your immune system to deal with these problems is precisely the reason why winters call for some changes in your regular diet. We asked Akanksha Mishra, a Nutrition and Wellness Expert associated with myUpchar, which foods should be consumed more of during winters. The following are the 10 foods recommended by our expert:
1. Nuts and seeds: “During winter, try to add different nuts and seeds to your diet in different ways,” Mishra says. “Nuts and seeds have a good amount of energy, protein, vitamin E, C, omega-3 fatty acids, folate and antioxidants which keep you warm and help your body boost your immune system. This apart, these foods also prevent your body from certain types of cancer and obesity.”
Mishra recommends you take one handful of almonds and walnuts in the morning to start your day, and consume homemade chikki, energy bar, laddu with peanut, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flaxseeds, roasted makhanas and dates whenever you feel hungry.
2. Root vegetables: “Sweet potato, yam, turnip, carrot and beetroot are root vegetables that are seasonal during winter and good sources of energy,” Mishra explains. “These veggies can keep your body warm while the high concentration of antioxidants, vitamin A and C, and minerals like iron and potassium can help fight off chronic diseases, reverse signs of ageing and detoxify our body.” She recommends you consume these root vegetables in salads, soups and cooked or stir-fried vegetables for your regular winter diet.
3. Green pea: “During winter, green peas are widely available in most parts of India. They are super delicious and nutrient-dense food option during this season,” Mishra says. “Peas are a great source of complex carbohydrates, fibre, protein, vitamin A and K, and they are also packed with minerals such as manganese, folate and iron. All these nutrients make peas good for the skin, nails, immune system and even weight management.”
Mishra recommends you have green peas as soup, stir-fry, cooked vegetable, nimona, green pea chaat and ghughra dishes.
4. Fenugreek: “Fenugreek leaves are commonly used green leafy vegetables during winter but we often underestimate the benefits of fenugreek seeds,” Mishra says. “You should add both of them to your regular diet in different ways. Fenugreek leaves are rich in fibre and antioxidants which is helpful in controlling your blood sugar and serum cholesterol while also aiding weight loss. Fenugreek seeds are known for their phytonutrients and galactomannan properties, which can regulate your appetite and improve your immunity.”
Mishra suggests you take fenugreek seeds as a tea, sprouts or by adding in your curry or vegetables, while leaves can be consumed like any other leafy green vegetable.
5. Spices: “Spices are commonly used ingredients in the Indian kitchen and many studies show that black pepper, clove, cinnamon, dry ginger, cumin seeds are great sources of antioxidants,” Mishra says that adding that these spices can aid digestion, cure sore throat and help reduce the risks and symptoms of certain types of infections. She recommends adding these spices in kadha, black tea, soup, curry and lentils for daily consumption.
6. Turmeric: “Turmeric is popular because it has curcumin which is known for its antioxidant and phytonutrient properties,” Mishra says “Try to have at least half a teaspoon of turmeric per day. You can add this superfood in your milk, pickle, curry and lentils.”
7. Jaggery: “Jaggery is a superfood that we consume in different ways during winter,” Mishra says. “It stimulates the digestive enzymes, which improve digestion and reduce acidity, bloating and gas. Jaggery has a mild laxative effect which helps tackle constipation. Eating jaggery also helps fight cough, cold, flu and other ailments that commonly occur in winter.” Mishra recommends you add this superfood in your tea, laddu and chikki and have a one-inch piece as a dessert after your meal.
8. Ginger: “Ginger is effective in keeping you warm during winters in both its raw and dry forms,” Mishra suggests. “Due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anti-gastric properties, it helps boost digestion and keeps stomach issues at bay.”
Mishra recommends you use ginger in your tea, kadha, chutney, curry and salad seasoning.
9. Ghee: “Ghee is known for its warming nature and contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which helps with fat burn and weight loss,” Mishra says. “Add 1-2 teaspoons of pure and homemade ghee in your dal or vegetables daily during winters,” she adds.
10. Garlic: “This winter, add garlic to your chutneys and salads,” Mishra recommends.” Garlic contains allicin, which contains organosulfur compounds that boost your immune response. Eating garlic daily can help you fight a cold, cough, flu and other infections that commonly occur in winter.”
For more information, read our article on Healthy recipes.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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