White snow, warm blankets, festive holiday gatherings– winter brings in lots of good times.
But in colder climates, keeping yourself healthy and strong can be downright challenging. Plus, winters can be especially harsh on the skin, and you may end up applying plenty of moisturizers to combat dryness but to no avail.
With a little planning, it is possible to eat healthy to provide your body with plenty of nutrients and your palate with plenty of flavor all winter long. Also, eating healthy can protect your skin despite dropping temperatures.
There are certain superfoods that you must surely include in your winter diet.
Here are the top 10 superfoods for winter.
Oranges are one of winter’s best citrus fruits. They contain high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant that several cells of the immune system require to perform their tasks, especially phagocytes and T-cells.
Eating an orange daily will reduce the risk of vitamin C deficiency, which may result in a reduced resistance against certain pathogens.
The potassium in them helps protect your skin against harmful ultraviolet (UV) sunrays. The amino acids in them also benefit your skin.
This juicy fruit is also very low in calories.
Enjoy a fresh orange daily. You can also throw orange slices into a savory salad.
While sitting under a blanket, munching on a sweet carrot or sipping hot carrot soup is something that many like to do.
In fact, carrots are one of the must-have superfoods in the winter season.
This root vegetable contains high amounts of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A strengthens the immune system, helping to protect against infection and reduce the risk and duration of respiratory problems by keeping the lungs healthy.
Plus, carrots keep the skin healthy, glowing and vibrant during the winter months. The vitamin A and various other antioxidants in them help in repairing damaged skin tissue. It also helps keep the skin moisturized and prevents dryness and flaky skin.
You can use carrots in salads and soups, as well as eat them as a stand-alone vegetable for snacks and side dishes.
Bright red beetroots and their green leaves not only add color to your winter salad or soup dish but also help you remain healthy.
Beetroots are packed with beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect the immune system by fighting off free radicals that harm healthy cells and their DNA.
This root vegetable also fuels white blood cells, so that they can attack bad bugs in your gut to help good bacteria thrive in the body.
Even the green leafy tops are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium, iron and magnesium.
You can eat this bright, sweet root vegetable baked, steamed or pickled. Beetroot salad and soup are also popular.
Eating whole eggs during the winter months is vital. The yolk contains over 90 percent of an egg’s calcium and iron and the white contains almost half the egg’s protein. In fact, eggs contain proper proportions of all nine essential amino acids required by the body.
The body uses protein as fuel to make antibodies that attack foreign invaders and prevent infections.
Plus, having eggs for breakfast will help you maintain a healthy body weight because in addition to providing energy, eggs make you feel fuller. The protein in eggs provides sustained energy, as it does not simply cause a surge in your blood sugar levels that results in a “crash” later.
One little egg is also packed with several vitamins essential to your health, such as vitamins B2, B12, A and E. Eggs are packed with iron, zinc and phosphorus –three important minerals that are vital for your body.
Their antioxidant power fights off free radicals, which in turn protects your body from several diseases.
Whether boiled, poached, scrambled or in an omelet, eggs are a great way to start your winter mornings. Just make sure you do not eat raw or semi-cooked egg as it may contain bacteria that harm your health.
When it comes to warm beverages during the winter season, you simply cannot ignore soothing ginger tea.
The antioxidant-rich ginger is a great way to give your immune system a boost by reducing free radicals in the body. Ginger also increases blood circulation in the body that is vital for optimum health.
At the onset of a cold or the flu, ginger works as an effective antibiotic. It is also effective in reducing inflammation and arthritis symptoms that get worse during the winter months.
Ginger also helps improve digestion and supports smooth and flawless skin.
In addition, ginger helps normalize sugar levels, which otherwise can affect your ability to lose weight or eat healthy food.
- Put 1 tablespoon of ginger slices and 2 cups of water in a small pot.
- Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain and add a little honey. To improve the taste, you can also add 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Turmeric has one of the highest antioxidant levels and this spice is a must during the winter months. It can provide a boost to the immune system when taken regularly.
Turmeric also offers many benefits to people suffering from joint pain during the winter days, due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
In addition, it helps fight free radicals that damage the skin and make it lose its glow and elasticity.
Adding turmeric to a glass of milk makes a healthy drink. In fact, warm turmeric milk is a popular home remedy for coughs, congestion, colds and flu. It is especially effective against dry coughs.
To make turmeric milk:
- Heat 1 cup of milk on the stove.
- When the milk is warm, add ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder. Stir slowly to dissolve any lumps.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ginger root, 2 cloves, and 1 cardamom.
- Allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
- Pour the milk through a fine sieve and enjoy it while it is still warm.
Munching a bowl of nuts, especially roasted almonds, on a cold wintry afternoon is preferred by many.
Almonds are one of the best foods to keep you healthy during the winter. These small nuts are packed with antioxidants that can do wonders for your health by fighting free radicals that can weaken your immunity.
They are also packed with high-quality protein, magnesium, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and healthy fats. They can help stop sugar cravings and promote satiety to prevent weight gain.
The vitamin E in them helps nourish your skin and protect it from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Plus, being high in anti-aging properties, almonds help reduce wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of aging.
- You can eat 15 to 20 almonds daily as a healthy and tasty snack. However, as almonds are high in monounsaturated fats and calories, you must not eat them in excess.
- Before taking a bath, massage your body with almond oil to enjoy a remarkably glowing and radiant complexion.
One of the world’s oldest fruits, pomegranates are packed with antioxidants, such as polyphenols, tannins, flavonoids and anthocyanins, that will help keep you healthy and strong during the winter.
They also have anti-inflammatory properties that help block enzymes known to damage joints and cause pain and stiffness. This is especially helpful for people with arthritis.
Pomegranates also offer anti-aging benefits for your skin to keep it supple, smooth and younger-looking. Due to its vitamin C content, the fruit promotes collagen formation, which helps delay skin sagging and wrinkling.
Plus, being relatively low in calories, pomegranates can be enjoyed by anyone watching their weight.
You can add this tart fruit to cocktails, juices, smoothies and salads. You can even snack on the seeds.
Chilly winter days are the best time to enjoy the creamy fruit avocado.
Avocados have a lot to offer – vitamins A, C and E as well as folic acid, magnesium and potassium. In fact, the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in them allow you to absorb more nutrients from other foods.
The monounsaturated fats also help the epidermal layer of your skin retain moisture, thus preventing dry skin. Eating this fruit also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as improves your skin tone. It also improves the production of collagen, which maintains your skin’s elasticity and firmness.
Replace the cheese and mayo in your sandwich with slices of avocado.
You can use also avocado oil to massage your body before taking a bath. This will moisturize your dull, dehydrated and itchy winter skin.
This beautiful vegetable is exceptionally high in antioxidants as well as a number of vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli is particularly high in vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene, folate and potassium.
It also benefits your dry and flaky winter skin. The vitamin C stimulates collagen production to keep the skin healthy, while the vitamin A protects the skin cell membranes and prevents skin damage due to sun exposure.
Plus, with just 15 to 25 calories per serving, you do not have to worry about increasing your waistline during the winter months.
Add broccoli to as many vegetable dishes and stir fries as you can. For some extra flavor, try steamed or baked broccoli. Broccoli soup is also liked by many.
Along with these 10 winter superfoods, you must also include dark chocolate, green tea, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, winter squash, jaggery, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, honey, oatmeal and grapefruit in your diet.