Categories: General Health

10 Superfoods for winter to keep the flu away

It’s that season of the year when we all love to snug comfortably under the blanket for a ‘few more minutes’ or crave for a piping hot tea as soon as we are out of the bed. Yes, winter is here. The poet was optimistic when he sang, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” For us, what winter has in its kitty is that spoilsport who snatches away all the fun that comes along with the season – flu! But don’t worry, these 10 superfoods will help you keep the flu away and enjoy the misty mornings and breezy evenings!

  1. Cauliflower:

Rich in antioxidants, cauliflower is also a great source of vitamin C. It helps in boosting our immune system and prepares us to fight against infections. It’s better to have it sautéed rather than boiled or steamed (in which case, it gets waterlogged, mushy and also loses its flavour).

  1. Oranges:

Orange is a great source of potassium, phytochemicals, and flavonoids. It’s antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. Orange gives apple a hard time being the healthiest option of the fruit world. Oranges make for a healthy snack and a great addition to salads and fruit chaats. A versatile fruit, it is very easy to incorporate oranges into your daily eating plan.

  1. Garlic:

While garlic adds zest to our favourite foods, it’s also a natural antibiotic. It helps to treat the common cold and decreases our chance of catching a cold if included regularly in our food. Mind you, garlic is at its best when it’s eaten raw and not boiled or dried. Do not pop up the pod. You can grind, crush or chew the pod for better digestion. You can also make garlic chutney and egg fried rice with garlic.

  1. Chilli Peppers:

Chilli peppers have a unique distinction – it’s standing amidst all the herbs and spices with the highest dose of vitamin C in it. Moreover, it contains capsaicin. While on one hand, this ingredient produces a burning sensation in our mouth, and on the other, acts as a natural antioxidant and it protects us from diseases.

  1. Cinnamon:

It increases blood circulation and warms up the body. It’s antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. It boosts the immune system and fights the pathogens that cause illness. When combined with ginger, its powers reach a whole new level. A piping hot cinnamon tea in the early morning will help to start an energetic day. Or ideal to be included in fresh fruits and to make cinnamon-carrot muffins or cinnamon shortbread bars.

  1. Yogurt: 

Yogurt is a probiotic and helps us to fight infection and boost our immune system. Make sure that you choose a low-fat or fat-free version, especially if you’re not keen on having saturated fat. Besides having it as it is, you can also choose to make yogurt crunch pudding and plum and green apple yogurt.

  1. Ginger:

Nothing soothes you better than a hot ginger tea when you’re under the weather. Its powers to soothe the throat, reduce fever and encourage cough (so that mucus is extracted from the chest) are well-known. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural painkiller. You can make honey-lemon-ginger tea, ginger chicken, ginger pickle or just cut it into small pieces, boil it in water and have it.

  1. Green Tea:

Rich in antioxidants, it has immune-boosting properties. What’s more? Comparing with your regular cup of coffee, the amount of caffeine in it is very low. It stops the adenovirus – one of the bugs responsible for cold – from replicating and thus protects us from catching a cold.

  1. Kale:

This green, leafy vegetable that is related to cabbage is a rich source of vitamin C. It’s also packed with antioxidants, beta-carotene, and folate. All these help in boosting your immunity system. You can include it in soups and other food items you make.

  1. Lean Proteins:

Including lean proteins in your food helps you have a well-functioning immune system and ensures faster recovery from cold. Plain low-fat yogurt, beans, peas, lentils, low-fat fresh cottage cheese, white flesh fish and skin out white lean poultry are a good source of lean proteins. You can make an array of delicacies with these.

Make sure that you include at least a few of these in your daily diet and keep the flu and all the discomforts that come along with it away!

Dr. Suparna Mukherjee, Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics, Narayana Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Bommasandra, Bangalore

Narayana Health

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