Keeping yourself strong and healthy during a long harsh winter can be downright challenging to say the least. Not only can a cold winter have an adverse affect on your immune system, but it can also be very harsh on your skin. However, it's possible to combat the effects of winter by eating the right foods. Below are 10 superfoods that you simply must include in your winter diet. Not only are they tasty, but they will also provide your body with the vital nutrients that it needs.
Oranges contain a high level of Vitamin C - an antioxidant which is required by several cells of the immune system, especially phagocytes and T-cells. Therefore, consuming one orange each day will significantly reduce the possibility of vitamin C deficiency. If your body is lacking in vitamin C, it's more susceptible to certain pathogens.
Furthermore, the potassium present in oranges helps protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet sunrays, while the amino acids are also beneficial to your skin.
Tip: You can throw some orange slices into a savory salad and even put the orange peels for good use.
This vegetable contains high amounts of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. This vitamin helps strengthen the immune system, helps protect against infection and significantly reduces the risk of developing respiratory problems.
To add to this, carrots keep the skin healthy and vibrant throughout the winter months. The vitamin A, along with a range of other antioxidants, helps to repair damaged skin, keeps the skin moisturized, and prevents dry and flaky skin.
Tip: You can use carrots in soups or salads, as well as eat them by themselves as a healthy snack.
Beets are packed full of beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants that help protect the immune system by fending off free radicals that attack healthy cells. This tasty root vegetable also fuels the white blood cells which are responsible for attacking the bad bugs in your gut. The green leafy tops can also be eaten and they are rich in Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron, and beta-carotene.
Tip: You can eat this vegetable baked, pickled or steamed. Beet salad and soup are also good ideas.
It's vital to eat eggs during the winter months. The yolk contains 90% of the egg's calcium and iron, while the white contains half the egg's protein. In fact, an egg contains nine essential amino acids that are required by the body. Protein is essential, as the body uses it to make the antibodies that fight foreign bodies and prevent infections.
To add to this, one egg is packed with vitamins B2, B12, A and E, iron, zinc, and phosphorous. These minerals and vitamins are essential for your health.
Tip: whether boiled, scrambled, poached, or in an omelet, eggs are a great way to start the day. Just make sure you don't eat raw or undercooked eggs as they may contain harmful bacteria.
When it comes down to warm winter beverages, you simply cannot ignore ginger tea. Ginger is rich in antioxidants and is a great way to boost your immune system. It also increases blood circulation which is vital for optimum health. Furthermore, it's an effective antibiotic and can significantly reduce inflammation and arthritis symptoms that get worse during the winter.
Ginger also helps improve digestion and helps give smooth and flawless skin.
Tip: Aim to drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea each day.
To make ginger tea:
1. Place 1 tablespoon of ginger slices and 2 cups of water into a small pot.
2. Bring to the boil over a high heat.
3. Reduce the heat, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Strain and add some honey.
This spice has seriously high antioxidant levels and is a must during the winter. It has anti-inflammatory properties that make it beneficial to people who suffer from joint pain. In addition to this, turmeric helps fight free radicals that damage your skin and make it lose its glow and elasticity.
Tip: Adding this spice to a glass of milk makes a very healthy drink. In fact, warm turmeric milk is a common home remedy for congestion, coughs, colds and flu. It's particularly effective against dry coughs.
To make turmeric milk:
1. Heat 1 cup of milk on the stove.
2. When the milk is warm, add 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric. Stir slowly to dissolve any lumps.
3. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of ginger root, cloves, and 1 cardamom.
4. Let it simmer for a few minutes.
5. Pour the milk through a sieve and drink while it's still warm.
These small nuts are packed full of antioxidants that fight any free radicals that weaken your immune system. They are also packed with protein, magnesium, fiber, calcium, B vitamins, potassium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, and healthy fats.
The vitamin E present in them helps to nourish your skin and protect it from damaging UV rays. Plus, as they are high in anti-aging properties, almonds can help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging.
Tip: You can eat 15-20 almonds a day as a healthy and tasty snack. However, they are high in monounsaturated fats and calories, so it's best not to eat them in excess.
This superfood is packed with antioxidants, such as tannins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and anthocyanins, which will help keep you strong and healthy during the winter months. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and, as a result, they are especially helpful for people suffering from arthritis. Pomegranates also keep your skin looking smooth and younger-looking.
Tip: You can add this fruit to cocktails, smoothies and salads. You can also snack on the seeds.
Avocados are full of vitamins A, C and E as well as magnesium, folic acid, and potassium. The monounsaturated fats help the epidermal layer of your skin retain its moisture, thus preventing dry skin. It also increases your production of collagen, which helps to maintain your skin's elasticity.
Tip: Replace the cheese and mayo in your sandwich with avocado.
This vegetable is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals - particularly vitamin C, fiber, beta-carotene, potassium and folate. It's also highly beneficial for dry and flaky skin. The vitamin C in it stimulates collagen production to keep the skin healthy, while vitamin A protects the skin cell membranes and prevents damage from UV ray exposure.
Tip: Add broccoli to as many vegetable dishes and stir-fries as you can. For some extra flavor, try baked or steamed broccoli.