6 nutrients to add to your winter diet for your health’s sake
By Emily Hagan | Published on Oct 18, 2023
Winter is the perfect time to cozy up with warm blankets, hot beverages, and hearty meals. But as the temperature drops, it’s important to pay extra attention to your diet and ensure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients to keep your health in check. Here are six essential nutrients you should add to your winter diet for your health’s sake.
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Iron: Oxygenating Your Blood
Iron plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen throughout your body and boosting hemoglobin levels. Women, in particular, require higher iron intake than men. To meet your iron needs, include green leafy vegetables, honey, jaggery, nuts and seeds, red meat, poultry, fish, and fortified foods like cereals and juices in your diet. Try delicious dishes like dry fruit ladoos, palak paneer, methi chilla, and moringa soup to enjoy iron-rich meals.
Folic Acid: Cell Production and Development
Folic acid is vital for the production of healthy cells and plays a significant role in cell development, making it particularly important for women, especially during pregnancy. Incorporate green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, fruits, and fortified cereals into your diet to ensure an adequate folic acid intake. Treat yourself to rajma chawal, avocado toast, and beetroot hummus dip for a delicious folic acid boost.
Calcium: Strengthening Bones and Teeth
Calcium is well-known for its role in bone health. Growing children and pregnant women especially need sufficient calcium intake for bone and teeth development. Additionally, calcium helps prevent conditions like osteoporosis and osteomalacia. To meet your calcium requirements, include milk and its products, green leafy vegetables, seafood, lean meat, soybean, nuts, and seeds in your diet. Enjoy dishes like turmeric milk, ragi roti, and caramel custard for a calcium-packed meal.
Zinc: Boosting Immunity and Healing
Zinc plays a vital role in cell metabolism, immunity, wound healing, and protein synthesis. To ensure adequate zinc intake, include whole grain cereals, eggs, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, and fortified foods in your diet. Savor multigrain malt, til chikkis, dalia halwa, and eggnog to enjoy zinc-rich delicacies.
Vitamin C: Immunity and Healing
Vitamin C is a powerful nutrient that boosts immunity, aids wound healing, and prevents infections. Citrus fruits like lemons, gooseberries, oranges, sweet lime, kiwi, broccoli, and capsicum are excellent sources of vitamin C. Treat yourself to dishes like broccoli pasta, lemon-honey tea, and kiwi tart to enjoy a vitamin C-rich meal.
Vitamin D: Enhancing Bone Health
Vitamin D is essential for bone mineralization and the optimal absorption of calcium. Incorporate dairy products, fortified cereals/juices, mushrooms, salmon, and more into your diet to meet your vitamin D requirements. Try dishes like mushroom soup, grilled salmon, pan-fried tofu, and others to enjoy a vitamin D-rich feast.
It’s important to note that certain beverages like tea, coffee, and caffeinated drinks can hinder the absorption of nutrients such as iron and folic acid. So, it’s best to avoid consuming them alongside nutrient-rich foods.
Additional Healthy Winter Tips
Looking for more tips to stay healthy during winter? Here are a few additional suggestions:
- Honey: Swap white sugar with honey for a natural sweetener that offers better nutritional value. Add honey to warm beverages like water, herbal drinks, tea, coffee, and more.
Spices: Cinnamon, cloves, and star anise are spices that bring warmth to your winter days. Add them to hot beverages, curries, or desserts for a cozy touch.
Roots and Tubers: Vegetables like carrots, potatoes, garlic, and yam help keep your body warm during the winter. Enjoy them in the form of soups, curries, or starters like cutlets and oven-baked chips.
Dry Fruits: Figs, dates, and raisins are nutrient-rich snacks that provide a great energy boost. Add them to desserts or make delicious dry fruit ladoos for a healthy treat.
Ghee: Known for its warmth, ghee not only radiates heat to keep you warm but also provides energy during cold winter days.
Soups: Soups are the ultimate soul food during winter. Prepare them using roots and tubers, chicken, lentils, or other ingredients of your choice. Enjoy it with breadsticks or a slice of toasted bread for a complete meal.
With these nutrient-rich foods and additional tips, you can ensure a healthy and fulfilling winter diet. Stay warm, stay nourished!