Foods to Have During Winter for Health & Beauty

Shahnaz Husain

Nature is the best physician. She gives us fruits and vegetables that are needed for both health and beauty during the different seasons. In winter, we get plenty of citrus fruits like oranges, keenu and “mousambi”, all rich in Vitamin C, which strengthens our immune system. So, it is a good idea to include them in your daily diet. Green leafy vegetables are also rich in Vitamin C and many minerals. Winter is the season for greens, like “palak”, “methi” and “sarson ka saag.” Lettuce is also easily available in winter. So, choose from these leafy green vegetables for your daily meals. In winter, the body also needs more Vitamin A. So, have plenty of orange vegetables and fruits, like papaya and carrots. Amla is easily available in winter and is probably the best source of Vitamin C. Add the juice of one raw amla to a glass of water and have it daily for a healthy, glowing skin.
Both Vitamin A and C are very important for the skin. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and delays early aging. It also helps to maintain healthy collagen, the supportive tissue of the skin. Similarly, Vitamin A and E play significant roles in maintaining the softness and smoothness of the skin texture. Dates, seeds, nuts and dry fruits are available in plenty during the winter months. So are peas. These provide proteins, vitamins and minerals which are needed by the body. They are a source of energy, which the body requires in winter, to maintain body heat. Savouries and snacks are made from seeds like sesame seed (til) and peanuts. However, nuts should be taken unsalted and one should be careful not to have them in large quantities, as they contain fat. Those suffering from high cholesterol should check with a doctor first before taking nuts in large quantity.
A diet that is high in fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed cereals, sprouted grains, nuts, seeds and yoghurt can make you look and feel much better in winter. Fruit and vegetable juices, freshly extracted are ideal. You can make them from seasonal fruits, like oranges, mausambi, pomegranate (anaar), or from carrots, spinach or cabbage. Juices not only ensure a supply of valuable nutrients, but also help to cleanse and purify the system. Fruit and vegetable juices are best taken freshly extracted and diluted with water.
Winter is also the time for hot drinks. Instead of tea and coffee, try herbal teas and clear soups. Some of the ingredients in herbal teas are ginger, liquorice (mulethi), black pepper and so on. These help in aiding digestion, warming the body, calming the nerves, as well as keeping diseases and skin problems at bay. Have ginger tea with lemon juice. Tea with tulsi leaves is advocated in winter. Hot soups can be delicious during winter. You can make a mixed vegetable soup with potatoes, carrots, turnip, peas, tomato and so on.
I always say that good health and beauty are two sides of the same coin. Inner good health for external beauty is an old adage, but holds true.