Winter happens to be one of my favorite season, not just the wardrobe gets a complete make over the food is also avail in lot more colors than what we get in every other season. Good food, and food to keep you warm through the chilly cold weather is something that I am going to highlight in this blog. This will answer to all your winter food queries with a quick guide on 20 best winter food rather 20 must have comfort winter food to keep yourself healthy.
1.Roots and leafy vegetables : In India winters are synonym to various saags ( green leafy vegetables ) that are available in plenty on all vegetable vendors/ hawkers, in all restaurants etc etc. Punjab is famous for Makke di roti with Sarso ka saag and across all north Indian restaurants this becomes the dish to be relished and is only available in winters.
Lot of varieties of Saag like – Sarso ( Mustard leaves ),Palak ( spinach leaves ) , Soya leaves, Channa saag ( Gram leaves ), Bathuaa ( Chenopodium Leaves ). Dark green leafy vegetables are good sources of many vitamins (such as vitamins A, C, and K and folate) and minerals (such as iron and calcium). They’re also great sources of fiber.
2. Jaggery : Jaggery is the close to nature form of sweet that is loaded with health benefits, No wonder Jaggery had been used in a lot of ayurvedic preparations, is widely used in a lot of sweet dishes in winters. Be it any kind of Gajak’s / Laddoos/ chikki’s etc etc are made of Jaggery . Traditionally having hot milk in winters with a peice of Jaggery is a post dinner drink in most of the household across north india.
So whats is jaggery – It is basically unrefined sugar which is obtained from raw, concentrated sugarcane juice. Gur” in Hindi is also known as ‘Bellam’ in Telugu, ‘Vellam’ in Tamil, ‘Sharkara’ in Malayalam, ‘Bella’ in Kannada, and ‘Gul’ in Marathi.
Look at the health benefits of Jaggery
- Prevents Constipation
- Detoxes the liver:
- Treats flu-like symptoms
- Blood purifier
- Boosts immunity.
- Cleanses the body
- Eases menstrual pain
- Prevents anaemia
- Boosts intestinal health
- Cools the stomach
- Controls blood pressure
- Prevents respiratory problems
- Relieves joint pain
- Weight loss
- Good source of energy
So without a second thought make jaggery a part of your daily diet and start a natural way of controlling your health,
3. Soups : Veg or non veg, soup are a great way of instantly comforting the body during winter chills, a hot soup can fix the sore throat , running nose or a cold flu, Just boil any vegetables to make your winter soups.. Look for soup recipes that call for chicken broth, vegetable broth or water as the base and include a lot of vegetables
4. Sweet potatoes
Ever wondered why the sweet potatoes are a thing of winters, because it has everything that our body would need to combat the winters.They are an excellent source of two immunity boosters—vitamins C and B6, delivering 25% and 29% of your daily needs per medium potato, respectively. They are also a good source of folate, which is especially important for women of childbearing age, and they deliver fiber (4 grams in a medium potato; women need 25 grams daily and men need 38 grams). If you can find purple potatoes, you’ll get an added health boon—they are rich in anthocyanins—antioxidants that are linked to a host of health benefits, from lowering cancer and heart disease risk to quelling inflammation.
Boil them and mix with green chutney to make them into a healthy chat, crush then in milk to make pudding etc. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of fiber, vitamin A, and potassium. Regular consumption can help in curing constipation, improve your immunity and is known to reduce inflammation.
5. Citrus fruits :
Most of the time citrus food are related to having a cold taseer and often perceived as not good to have when you are having cold. but on contrary Citrus fruits, including lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit, are at their juiciest in the wintertime and can add sunshine to the dreary winter. Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C—one medium orange delivers more than 100 percent of your daily dose, citrus fruits are also rich sources of flavonoids. The predominant flavonoid in these fruits—hesperidin—is credited with boosting “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So feel free to have as many oranges you like as they taste the best in this season.
Vitamin C can’t prevent colds, But research suggests it might reduce the duration and severity of them.Studies show that the vitamin could help shorten the duration of your symptoms by about a day—which can make a big difference when you’re feeling unwell.
6. Turnip and Its Leaves
Have already discussed of the green leafy vegetables, but Turnip and its leaves demand to be mentioned additionally due to its extremely high on health quotient ( Read this article for health Benefits of Turnip/ Radish in details along with a recipe ) .This starchy vegetable is an excellent anti-oxidant which is known to help in reducing the risk of cancer. It is rich in vitamin K and its leaves have a generous content of vitamin A.
This is yet another thing that the super markets are flooded with, and off course for a reason. Dates are a power-house of nutrients and a must-have for people who go to the gym. Regular intake of dates help your body to stay warm during winters. and this is the most easily consumed dry fruits during winters and is also a great substitute of desserts during winters, Make dates into interesting recipes by making halwa out of it, make chutney or boil them in milk.
8. Dry fruits (Almonds, figs and Walnuts )
No wonder all dry fruits hold a central position on the dinning table in winters, these mini power house are a great nutritional support to fight winters, Overnight soaked almonds consumed as the first thing in the morning had been a household thing as a part of daily tradition in many India families. and almond . Regular intake of almonds, figs and walnuts in winters ensures an active nervous system, improved sensitivity to insulin, a healthy heart and body.
Ever wondered why this is one seasonal flour, well it’s for a reason as this is loaded with health benefits to ease out the chills of winters and keeps the body warm. While most of us might not like its color as much but this tiny cute little millet variety is high on fat, rich in protein and fiber & high iron content plays a vital role in curing anemia. If consumed on a regular basis, millet can help to strengthen your bones. so next time when you want to skip away that food made of Bajra do look at what your body might be missing out .
Mix this wonder grain in your khichdi , add it to regular flour ( might make the chapatis a bit dry ) or simply make laddoos out of it. but ensure you have this magic grain in winters.
Black and white pepper are at our rescue in the form of a kada drink when we are down with cold. Black pepper had anti inflammatory properties that makes it an excellent antioxidant to be consumed during winter. crush them fresh on your Soup, in your juice or salad or fruits. This unique spice is known for its cold-fighting properties. Black pepper contains piperine, which lowers pain and fever. So, if you have a mild cold, don’t forget to add some crushed peppercorns to your tea and get instant relief.
11. Til ( sesame seeds ) & Peanuts
All Indian roads are loaded with Peanut chikki , till chikki , gajjaks , and the stacks of ground nuts. these are found in plenty during winters across north India. and winters sets in only after the roadside vendors start selling these.
Chikki is a traditional Indian sweet generally made from groundnuts and jaggery. There are several different varieties of chikki in addition to the most common groundnut chikki.
Use it as a pickle, use it in tea or hot milk, add it in your vegetables, this is a great comfort food. A ginger tea is a thing of winters and awakens all our senses even while the throat is out-of-order or one is hit by severe cold.Ginger is among the healthiest (and most delicious) spices on the planet.It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain.Ginger can treat any form of nausea, morning sickness that’s why its good for pregnant women too.
Possible health benefits include relieving nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness, and pain. The root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form, or as juice. It drastically reduces blood sugar, relaxes muscles by reducing muscle pain and soreness.
Winters is a season when the fresh Turmeric almost look-alike of Ginger is easily available in the market , have it with milk and see your skin glow, and immunity get stronger and better. Read more on Turmeric and its benefits .It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.It helps the body fight foreign invaders and also has a role in repairing damage.
This is one of my personal favorite on the list of winter foods. This green color little power house is loaded with vitamin C, not just health benefits its very good for skin and eyes and hairs. Make it into chutney , murraba or pickles, add it to your vegetables.
Historically Saffron is known for its warm quality, hot milk with saffron is a great way to get over the winter chill. This is a magic ingredients which was in abundant in the preparation of royal cuisine . Milk boiled with dry fruits, raisins and Jaggery mixed with saffron is considered to be a winter recipe to have before going to bed. Read the easy milk recipe on saffron milk
Now Egg sales goes up like anything and it is said have as much eggs as you can to keep yourself warm in winters. Have them boiled, poached, sunny side up, made in omelets etc etc. Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring Vitamin D. Bask in this spicy and creamy egg curry to get your daily dose of Vitamin D during the gloomy winter months. In fact this is something you can serve to kids as well.
Picture source : India.com
Bear storing honey is not just in the story books, it’s actually curtsey winters. Even bear knew this magical health food to keep them warm and healthy loaded with energy while they went on hibernation.Honey is one of the oldest sweeteners on the earth. Bees swallow, digest and regurgitate nectar to make honey .Honey has been used in most of the Ayurvedic medicine in India. It is also useful in improving eyesight, Honey mixed with hot water will help with weight loss, preserving impotence and premature ejaculation, honey help to cure urinary tract disorders, good for asthma, help to stop diarrhea, and Appetite. Honey is called as “Yogavahi”. When honey is mixed with other herbal preparations, it enhances the medicinal qualities of those preparations. Read more on benefits of honey
Cinnamon, a common household spice, may help you lose weight as well as improve your metabolism by making the fat cells burn energy, a new study has revealed.
Cinnamon has been part of our diets for thousands of years, and people generally enjoy it,“So if it can help protect against obesity, too, it may offer an approach to metabolic health that is easier for patients to adhere to. Read about health benefits of Cinnamon And because it is already used widely in the food industry, it might be easier to convince patients to stick to a cinnamon-based treatment than to a traditional drug regimen. Another read on Cinnamon (Picture courtesy)
19 . Yogurt
Yogurt is loaded with beneficial probiotic and other nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins. It is also rich in vitamin D, enzymes, omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Have curd or yogurt to stay healthy this winter. People have a myth don’t have curd in winters, but on contrary one should have yogurt in winters mixed with berries.
we all know that sulphur springs are hot, and the sulphur in water is responsible for it, so here we have one thing that’s high on sulphur yes thats garlic, grown for its cooking properties and health effects. It is high in a sulfur compound called Allicin, which is believed to bring most of the health benefits.Garlic supplementation is known to boost the function of the immune system. Garlic supplementation helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold. High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure of those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). In some instances, supplementation can be as effective as regular medications. Read more on Benefits of garlic
So now you know what are the food that would boost your immunity this winter. so pick up basis your palate and include the winter health food in your daily routine, Dont look any further on what food to have this winter, what food to have to keep warm, or food that would help you fight cold. winters. This is all information you need to get going with your kind of winter food.