Winter is the time for festivities and celebrations. The chilly wind coupled with the morning fog makes it a season for infections. Runny nose, congested sinus, cough, fever and breathing problems prevent us from enjoying the Christmas and New Year parties. Nonetheless, winter is also a time when a wide range of fruits and vegetables arrive in the markets. These seasonal foods contain nutrients that can easily keep the bothersome illnesses at bay. Therefore, if you are vulnerable to coughs and colds, include the following winter foods in your diet this cold season.
1. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potato is one of the best sources of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant nutrient. Beta carotene helps to negate the activities of free radicals. Diabetics could safely include this starchy vegetable in their diet. Recent studies have revealed that sweet potato can improve regulation of blood sugar. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamins C, B3, B5, B6, potassium, manganese, copper and dietary fiber.
Despite the foul garlic breath, you canât afford to avoid garlic in the winter. Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic. Including garlic in your daily diet helps to boost your immunity. For better results, allow the chopped or crushed garlic to seat for several minutes before consuming or cooking it. This helps to activate alliinase enzymes in garlic. Garlic contains selenium that supports the antioxidant system of the body.
In our stressful lives, the elevated stress hormone level weakens the immune system. Almond is a natural stress buster. It contains niacin, riboflavin and vitamin E, nutrients needed for producing neurotransmitters that control our mood. The long cold nights and the foggy mornings increase the risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), commonly known as winter blues. The depressive disorder might be prevented by adding almonds to your meals in the winter.
Broccoli is an effective immune booster. This cruciferous vegetable is a rich dietary source of vitamins A, C and K. Large doses of vitamins A and K supplied by broccoli helps to maintain the vitamin D reserve in the body. The risk of developing vitamins D deficiency tends to rise in the winter. Broccoli is a good source of the antioxidant glutathione.
5. Acai Berry
Acid berries are a powerhouse of antioxidant nutrients. The dark colored berries are packed with anthocyanins that can enhance the immune systemâs ability to combat germs that invade the body in the winter. You can frequently eat a cup of acai berries or add the berries to your cereals or smoothies.
Your body needs to be hydrated even in the winter. Dehydration weakens the immune system. It also increases skin dryness. Watermelon contains large quantities of water for hydrating the body. This watery fruit is also a good source of glutathione, an antioxidant plant nutrient that inhibits the activities of the free radicals.
To fight flu and cold, your body needs selenium. Mushrooms contain large amounts of this antioxidant mineral. In addition, mushrooms are a good dietary source of riboflavin and niacin. These B vitamins nourish the body and support the natural ability of the body to fight bacteria and viruses.
Winter is the best time for savoring roasted chestnuts. It is a low calorie nut. 100 grams of chestnuts contain about 170 calories. These nuts are rich in fibers. Each 100-gram serving of chestnuts has about 6 to 8mg of fibers. Chestnut is also a good source of vitamin C, the antioxidant vitamin that nurtures the immune system. It is also a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, copper and manganese.
Most people long for a cup of hot tea in the winter. Tea will not only keep your body warm, but it will also improve your bodyâs resistance to diseases. All types of tea, whether black or green, contain powerful antioxidants flavonoids and polyphenols. Moreover, the extra flab that might accumulate in your body after eating the delectable Christmas treats could be burned by drinking several cups of tea each day. EGCG, a compound found in tealeaves possesses anticancer properties that can prevent growth of malignant tumors on the skin.
Leeks are a rich source of disease fighting nutrients. Although, you can find leeks throughout the year, winter is the peak season for these healthy vegetables. Leeks owe their health benefits to folic acid, vitamins A, B6, C, K and iron. Kaempferol, an antioxidant polyphenol, present in the vegetable protects the blood vessels from the highly reactive oxidant species. Studies suggest that intake of leeks and other members of the allium family, such as garlic and onion, lowers the risk of developing prostate and colon cancers.