When temperatures start to drop, it’s natural for people to keep warm. In Kashmir we have a long winter spanning five months. But, generally, the harshest winter period is experienced during the forty days of “Chilai Kalan” from December 21 that we are currently going through. When the temperature drops and the cold sets in, feed your body foods that can help raise your body temperature and make you feel warmer. Here are some healthy and nutritious winter foods that can help keep you warm in cold weather.
1. Red meat
Red meat is a good source of iron which is an important mineral to help carry oxygen throughout your body. People with low iron content may notice cold hands and feet, or feel easily tired. Eating red meat can also provide vitamin B12, which contributes to healthy nerves and a strong immune system.
Red meat is beneficial for the health of all humans. In order for women to maintain optimal health, certain nutritional needs must be taken into account. Women should consume about twice as much iron per day as men, because iron-rich uterine lining is shed each month during menstruation. An average of 125 milligrams of iron leaves the body in each cycle. Naturally, women have a higher risk of developing anemia. Red meat contains much higher iron levels than plant-based foods.
Honey is very useful in the fight against colds and flu. Health problems with our respiratory systems are more common in winter, because breathing cold winter air can easily make us sick. But having a spoonful of honey mixed with a glass of lukewarm water and a few drops of lemon can keep these problems away.
3. Date palms
Dried dates improve our performance and can be used as a pain reliever for colds or headaches. They also strengthen our immune system. They have a positive effect on the heart and are an excellent cancer prevention tool.
4. Dried fruits
Consuming dried fruits improves energy and stamina and is excellent for overall health. Some of the best dried fruits to eat during the winter season are: almonds, cashews, walnuts, apricots, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds.
The caffeine in coffee increases metabolism, which can increase body temperature.
Ginger is one of the best known and most consumed herbs for its warming effect. Eating raw ginger in winter is a great way to beat the cold. It also has antibacterial properties.
7. Drink water
Water keeps your body functioning optimally and helps regulate your internal temperature. Dehydration causes your core temperature to drop, which can lead to hypothermia. People are less likely to drink water when it is cold outside because they are not so thirsty. You might want to take a water bottle with you to remember this.
If you want your body to stay warm, simply boil some saffron in milk and add raisins to it as well. Saffron is known to be hot in nature and provides immunity against various allergies and colds.
Vitamin D in winter
During this long cold season, many people suffer from vitamin D deficiency due to decreased sun exposure. Popularly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is a unique nutrient that our bodies naturally create when exposed to the sun. Its main function is to help the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, an important role in promoting skeletal strength, bone health and bone density.
Vitamin D helps support immune well-being, neuromuscular health, and cellular function. There are two forms of vitamin D: D2 (ergocalciferol), which is most often found in supplements and added to foods, and D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the most easily absorbed form of vitamin D and recommended for elderly due to its bioavailability. In recent years, vitamin D3 has seen a sharp increase in its availability as a supplement.
What are the food sources of vitamin D?
Foods naturally high in vitamin D include cod liver oil, cold water fish (such as mackerel, salmon, and herring), butter, and egg yolks.
Unfortunately, vegetables are notoriously low in vitamin D. However, the best choices for D-vegetables are dark green leafy vegetables. You can also find vitamin D in some mushrooms that have been exposed to the sun.
Tips for winter skin
Cold temperatures and winds bring excess dryness to the air. Many people suffer from dry, scaly skin during the winter. Eczema (inflammation of the skin) tends to become inflamed during the cold season. Keep an eye out for any changes on your skin. The skin can become more irritated and dry in the winter. The elbows and knees are known hot spots. Exfoliate and hydrate to keep skin soft and supple.
Take care of your hands
Wear gloves to protect your hands from wind and cold. Some people find woolen gloves itchy. If so, try cotton or leather gloves that won’t irritate your skin. Make sure you apply a good moisturizer to prevent your hands from cracking in the dry air.
Prevent chapped lips
The lips are particularly sensitive to dry air. Use an SPF lip balm to protect against chapped lips and sun damage. Take lip balm everywhere with you to keep your lips smooth.
Be careful with acne treatment or harsh creams
Try to reduce the use of topical skin ointments and creams. Acne medications are known to dry out the skin. In winter, when it is prone to dryness, your skin may not be able to withstand these types of products. See your dermatologist when topical medications dry out your skin too much.
Just because it’s winter, don’t skip the sunscreen. The sun’s rays are even more powerful when reflected off white snow. Make sure to use sunscreen even in the winter. Stick to an SPF protection of at least 30.
Experts also recommend using an oil-based moisturizer, as the body produces less oil in winter. If you have acne, see your dermatologist first to find out the best moisturizer for your skin type.
Whether you like the winter season or not, this is a time of year when it is essential to take special care of your health. If you have a hard time getting sick in the colder months, beneficial warming foods and spices can often come to the rescue.
Follow these simple tips during the winter season and make the most of it. Making a few changes to your diet and changing your daily routine can have long-term benefits for your overall health. So go ahead and enjoy the winters while avoiding disease!