Giving us a much needed break from the hot humid weather, it’s now time for foggy mornings and chilly evenings! Winter is the time for comfort, good food, warm clothing, and a nice hot cup of chai.
It is known that our body spends or uses energy for three purposes: continuous functioning of organs, for physical activity during the day and digestion of food we eat. Diet Induced Thermogenesis (DIT), is the amount of energy spent by our body above the basal metabolic rate (BMR) due to the cost of processing food for use and storage. The calories spent is around 10% of one’s daily intake. Values are higher at a relatively high protein, alcohol and fiber intake and lower at a high fat consumption; which means that a diet rich in proteins and fiber will need more energy for its digestion and thereby our body will burn more calories compared to a high fat diet.
Further, during winter our core body temperature drops and the body uses more energy to generate heat and keep it warm. This involuntary muscle tensing can increase your metabolic rate two to four times, which stimulates hunger.
Winter also brings together a number of diseases, the most common being colds, flu, cough, bronchitis, asthma, itchy skin, headaches, joint pains, sinusitis and a sore throat. As much as we take precautions against there, our body needs a good immune system for proper prevention against these infections.
Winter symbolizes food, so replenish your body with nutritious food rich in all the vital nutrients! This helps to curb hunger, increase metabolism, boost your immunity to ward off ailments and keep your body warm.
What comes to your mind when you think of cold weather?
Maybe a nice Masala chai or cappuccino, a plate of hot parathas, a bowl of warm soup, a few makke ki roti(s) and sarson ka saag, yummy khichadi with ghee, steaming hot rasam rice, munching on til or peanut chikki, some bajra rotla and undhiyu… well the list is never-ending and makes you more hungry as you go on! The best part is, they’re healthy as well!
Here are some benefits of including these foods in our daily diets:
- Eat Green to Not Feel Blue
Fresh vegetables like carrots, onions, garlic, radish, sweet potatoes, beetroot, and winter greens like palak, methi, sarson, muli, pudina, coriander, are rich in minerals, fiber, beta carotene and antioxidants.
Have at least 4-5 portions, i.e. 500gms of vegetables everyday across your meals (cooked or fresh).
- Go Nuts With These Munchies
Dry fruits or nuts, and oil seeds like sesame, peanuts, almonds, dates, fenugreek seeds are rich in proteins, calcium, fiber and minerals. Til chikki, peanut laddu, dates barfi, methi pak are all foods that boosts the immunity and increase metabolism.
Have a handful of nuts every day, i.e. 20gm (make it a mid-morning snack)
- Are You A Cereal Eater?
Whole-grain cereals – wheat laddu, bajra rotla, makke ki roti, wheat flour sheera etc are made from whole grains, millets and ghee. They provide complex carbs, fiber, minerals and healthy fats.
Go for millets and whole grains as they provide complex carbs; avoid simple carbs like sugar.
- Power Up With Pulses
Types of Pulses / dals / legumes like Dalia chikki, moong dal khichdi, bisibelle rice, lentil soup, moong dal halwa are winter delicacies rich in proteins, fiber and minerals. Proteins help in muscle building, growth and development.
Meet your protein requirements of 1gm/kg body weight by including at least 2 portions of dals and legumes every day.
- Spice Up Your Winter
Spices like black pepper, fenugreek, ajwain and suva (dill) seeds help in fighting against coughs and flu, stimulating appetite and digestion and increasing blood circulation; fenugreek seeds are beneficial for bone and joint problems whereas, turmeric is a potent anti-microbial immunity builder.
Add spices to the dishes to bring the heat to beat the cold.
- Feel Fruity Fresh
Fruits like amla and guava are extremely rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Eating Vit C rich fruits everyday prevents common cold, cough and infections and also aids in Iron absorption.
Have at least one fruit a day.
Make winter foods part of your daily diet and enjoy their health benefits. Happy chilling!