Berry-full bowls, slices of pineapple, and juicy watermelon halves are a refreshing treat on a hot summer's day. But come winter and it's piping hot tea and butter-laden parathas that catch our fancy.
While chilly outdoors might tempt you to stock-in on comfort food, it's important to ensure the intake of a balanced diet. Enter nuts and dried fruits. These bite-sized powerhouses are packed with nutrition and have the added benefit of being portable and lunchbox-ready.
Nutritionist Prachi Agarwal says, "Nuts are high in nutritional density and help you feel full, suppress your cravings and prevent the much-dreaded winter weight gain."
While your Diwali remnants would make for piles of cashewnuts and almonds, it's always good to tap into the other favourites, and incorporate them into your diet in innovative ways.
From grinding pine nuts in your pesto mix, stir-frying dried figs and prunes to adding steamed rice and chopping mixed nuts and dried fruits over your grilled meat- there's a lot to do. Here's a lowdown on some of the nutty blessings that you can include in your diet for a healthier winter.
These tiny bites pack in fatty acids that help in lowering cholesterol levels, apart from the other health benefits. "It is good to have indigenously-found Chilgozas, a variety of pine nuts. These are known to be rich in Vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, which all work towards improving the heart health, lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow, too," says nutritionist Tripti Tandon.
From L to R: Pine nuts, Dried figs, Pecan nuts and prunes
Winter brings with itself a plethora of cough and cold related problems, which is where dried figs or anjeer come into the picture. Dried figs aid in treating common cough and help combat asthma related problems. Fibersome and healthy, figs help in regulating daily digestion, and are known to help in weight loss. They are also known to contain cancer-fighting properties.
Antioxidant-rich pecans are heart-friendly. "As a good source of Vitamin B3, pecans are a great way to combat the staying-in-bed tendencies that follow the chilly winter days. Thus, a moderate intake helps in fighting fatigue while providing energy," explains Tandon. There is a myriad variety of pecans that exist, and all are known to aid weight loss and also balance blood pressure.
Dried plum gives way to prunes. While they've been known to have high fiber content that moderates digestion, regular intake during winters ensures a stronger immune system too. "Consuming some soaked prunes at bed time helps in fighting cold and congestion," Tandon adds. Some studies have also suggested that prunes can help fight chronic diseases and ailments.