Seasonal foods and drinks

What to eat, and what not to eat? Vandana Mathur tells you about food that can help you cope with the cold.

Change is a continuous process and an essential factor in every walk of your life — be it your lifestyle, your profession, your dressing sense, your outlook or your eating habits. In totality, without change, life becomes dull and monotonous.  Fortunately the three seasons —  summer, winter and rainy too help us in a big way by making us indulge in food based on our choice. 

It’s easy to eat right during the summer months with an abundance of liquids or fresh produce, mouth watering pakodas or other hot stuff during the monsoon months. But during winter rolls, those eating habits transform into a memory. That doesn’t mean, however, that you drop your healthy eating habits with the dropping temperatures.

Winter season may be tagged as the most loved season with parties around the corner and celebrations all around. However, not many are aware that during winter, the cold weather lowers the blood pH, thereby making us feel acidic. In order to compensate for the acidic blood pH, it is recommended to eat selective food i.e. some alkaline foods that will help raise blood pH levels.  By doing this, your body chemistry will be balanced and as a result, you will feel warmer and more comfortable during winter.  

Protein and fat presence in food helps to raise blood pH back to normal range.  So next winter, try something different and exciting by including plenty of meat, fish, eggs, nuts and high fat dairy in your diet and track the difference by feeling warmer. 

Additionally, consuming food that contains niacin will also help to warm you up during the cold months. Eggs and dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt, butter, etc are rich sources of niacin.

Since your options are more limited during the winter months, get creative by trying new recipes as well as sampling produce you haven’t eaten before.

Other foods that can keep you warm during the chilled season include:

Soup: For extra protein, try adding beans and meat to any soup.
Meat: Try more meat.  These are high in iron, which the body needs to build up the thyroid hormone, which stimulates heat production. 
Soy: For those non-meat eaters, eating plenty of soy products like tofu will help you fight the cold. Soybeans and soy nuts also contribute to keeping you warm this winter.
Fruits and vegetables: Leeks and carrots are good vegetables to eat, while fruits like peaches, apricots and papaya can keep you warm.  Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are also good to eat because like red meats; these are abundant in iron that helps stimulate heat production.
Warm drinks: Try herbal tea. Whilst keeping you warm, it is a great antioxidant and will help you relax, improve immunity and flush your system out if you have a cold. 

Green tea too is great at fighting infection and warm unsweetened soy milk is also soothing. Stay away from coffee though, as it will only lower your blood pH more. 
Winter is also the season that causes skin infections and hair problems. Your skin texture depends not only on external treatments, but also on food intake. A nutritious intake helps rejuvenate the skin from within and reinforces the outward glow. 

Evidently, water plays a pivotal role in keeping your skin look fresh and glowing too. A good amount of water helps in retaining the moisture of your skin as well as keeping unwanted skin disorders at bay. Fruits and vegetables, if included in your daily diet, help add water to your system. 

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