Besan milk, guavas, oats: Eat smart to fight infections this winter
Like every season, winter has its perks. The endless celebrations (oh-so-many-festivals) and the sweet pursuit of all things warm and woolly - endless cups of chai, revelling in the winter sun, falling in love with your bed - adds to the fun.
But the season also brings a host of infections with it.
Get sufficient exercise, fresh air, the sunshine and include the following foods in your diet to avoid falling sick this winter:
Ginger and liquorice
Liquorice, also spelt licorice and known as mulaithi in Hindi, is a common ingredient in cough medicines and ginger is well known for its medicinal and anti-inflammatory properties. The two, when taken together (either boiled in water or added to morning tea), help keep throat infections at bay.
Apples, oranges and guavas
These winter fruits are rich in vitamin C (builds immunity), fibres (beneficial for digestion) and contain antioxidants (which shield body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation) and help fight off cancer, asthma, heart diseases. They help strengthen the immune system against infections and viruses.
“Low levels of immunity make people prone to cough and cold in this season. A rainbow diet of seasonal fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants is advisable to boost immunity,” Dr Cheenu Prashar Vig says.
Green leafy vegetables
Seasonal greens like spinach, fenugreek (methi) and bathua are rich sources of nutrients and antioxidants and excellent for boosting immunity. Fenugreek increases body heat and spinach is high in fibre. They are rich in calcium (good for the lazybones who avoid outdoors in winter), potassium, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin K (helps strengthen bone mass) as well. They also take care of deficiencies in the body while fortifying it against infections.
Besan ka dhoodh
This concoction is excellent for people suffering from asthma, congestion or water retention. Roast one tablespoon of besan or gram flour with one teaspoon of ghee and add milk to it. After it is boiled, let it simmer for a while.
“Have it for dinner. The milk in the mixture (skimmed preferably) will ensure a good night’s sleep, while the besan will keep the body dry at night and prevent formation of phlegm,” Dr Shikha Sharma says.
Rich in carbohydrates and proteins, porridges make for an ideal winter breakfast. Oats are slowly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, making you feel energised and full for longer. It contains zinc (good for the immune and digestive system) and vitamin B6 that helps produce serotonin in the brain, which is beneficial for those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder or winter depression.
With inputs from Dr Shikha Sharma, founder of NutriHealth, and Dr Cheenu Prashar Vig , senior clinical nutritionist at Max Healthcare
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