FEATURE 27 December 2012

The Winter Nutrients

by Nehaa Marya
The winter season is here, and most of us love indulging in delicious butter laden parathas or pakoras. However, balance your heavy diet with some nutritious choices of fruits and vegetables.

Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, amla and lemon are good as they help boost immunity. Chief dietician Dr Sandhya Pandey from Columbia Asia Hospital says, "People are afraid of not having oranges and other citrus fruits in winters, thinking that they cause cold and cough. But the fact is that a person can have an orange even if he is suffering from cold and cough. Citrus fruits help in fighting viral infections."

It is a known fact that carrots are good for eyes. Shivika Singh from India Health Organisation says, "This root vegetable has more carotene, (what the body converts to Vitamin A) than any other fruit or vegetable. In addition, carrots are an excellent source of Vitamins B, C, D, E and K, as well as calcium pectate which is a pectin fibre that has cholesterol-lowering properties."

Peas, with their sweet taste and starchy texture come loaded with phytonutrients that provide us with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. "Recent research shows that these legumes can help prevent stomach cancer," says Shivika Singh.

Turnips have insoluble fibre, folates, vitamins and minerals. It can also help cure asthma.

Mustard leaves (sarson)
A winter crop, the mustard plant leaves are highly nutritious. Fresh mustard greens are an excellent source of several vital antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and carotenes. Include, the goodness of these leaves in your diet this winter season.

Spinach is counted amongst the world's healthiest veggie. "Vitamins, minerals, carotenoids and a host of flavonoids that offer antioxidant protection are all there in this green leafy vegetable. Spinach is packed full of iron, which plays a vital role in preventing anaemia.

Radish has a lot of roughage and is a powerhouse of potassium, folic acid and ascorbic acid. Radish is good for the liver and stomach and is also a very good detoxifier. It purifies blood. Radish also brings down body temperature and relieves inflammation due to fever.

A source of vitamins, potassium, protein, carbohydrates, calcium and fat, peanuts are good for you in many ways. Roast or boil some peanuts and have them with tea in chilly evening. One can have them in the form of gajak. One must not over eat them as they come with a packet of calories.

Dry fruits
It is good to have dry fruits in winters. Dr Sabdhya says "One must have dry fruits that are either not salted or fried. Also 20 gms of dry fruits are sufficient for a day, which may include five to six almonds, one walnut and five to six pistachios. Dry fruits do not have moisture in them and are also rich in calories, so one must keep a check on the amount of dry fruits they are eating. They are essential source of fatty acids."

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