The term superfoods is something one gets to hear often these days. But what exactly are superfoods and why must you include them in your diet? Let’s find out more about superfoods, especially top 10 winter foods to include in your diet to boost your immunity and keep you healthy and energised from the inside out.
What are superfoods?
Superfoods is a hugely popular term these days and is used to describe foods that are exceptionally rich in nutrients with health benefits beyond those of regular foods. These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds helping you maintain optimal health levels.
Let’s take a look at top 10 winter foods to help support your body and boost your immune system during the colder months that bring along with it illnesses and influenza.
Winter superfoods to include in your daily diet
Broccoli is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, K, A, folate, potassium, and calcium. The vitamin K and calcium content are important for maintaining healthy and strong bones. It is also a great source of antioxidants such as sulforaphane, which has anti-inflammatory properties and protects against chronic diseases.
Broccoli's potassium, and antioxidant content contribute to heart health by helping to lower blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart diseases.
This winter superfood is also a good source of dietary fibre, which aids in digestion and promotes a healthy gut and also helps in detoxification by eliminating harmful substances and waste from the body.
To get the most out of the benefits of broccoli, it's best to incorporate it into a balanced. You can include steamed, roasted, stir-fried, or raw broccoli in salads.
2. Amla (Indian Gooseberry)
Amla is touted for its exceptionally rich vitamin C content, containing significantly more vitamin C than other fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is the antioxidant that helps boost the immune system, protect cells from damage, and promote healthy skin.
Amla is loaded with antioxidants like polyphenols, flavonoids, and tannins. These antioxidants help combat oxidative stress, reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Amla helps reduce and treat common digestive issues like acidity, indigestion, and constipation, improving health of the gastrointestinal tract. The combination of vitamin C and antioxidants in amla can enhance the body's immune response, helping it fight off infections and illnesses making it an indispensable winter superfood you should include in your diet.
Did you know Amla also has properties that can help manage diabetes? Amla helps regulate blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.
Amla can be consumed in various forms, including fresh fruit, dried fruit, juice, and immune boosting supplements. Chyawanprash is a great natural supplement which contains a good amount of Amla mixed with other ingredients. If you are someone on the go or does not enjoy the taste and texture of chyawanprash you can incorporate our Chyawanprash gummies that give the classic chyawanprash a delicious and easy new avatar.
Let’s take a look at why carrots are included in lists of top 10 winter foods. Carrots are touted for their high content of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin A. This nutrient is essential for maintaining healthy vision, a strong immune system, and healthy skin.
In addition to beta-carotene, carrots contain other antioxidants like vitamin C, which help combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases.
Carrots contain vitamin K, which is essential for bone health as it helps in calcium absorption and bone mineralization.
Whether eaten raw, cooked, or blended into juices and smoothies, this perfect winter superfood can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your meals.
Ghee, a clarified butter that has been used for centuries in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine, is often considered a superfood. One of the main reasons why this is one of the best winter superfoods is the fact that ghee has a high smoke point (250°C), making it a stable cooking fat. Unlike some other cooking oils, it doesn't break down into harmful compounds when exposed to high heat, which makes it a safer choice for cooking.
During the clarification process, ghee is stripped of most of its lactose and casein, the milk solids that can cause allergies or sensitivities, making ghee ideal for those who are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies.
Often people are worried about including ghee in their diet because it is ‘fat’ after all. But that is not the case. Ghee is primarily composed of saturated fats, but it contains a balanced mix of different types of fatty acids, including short-chain, medium-chain, and long-chain triglycerides. It is a source of healthy fats, which are important for brain health, hormone production, and overall well-being. Further, ghee is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E, and K.
These vitamins play essential roles in various bodily functions, including immune support, bone health, and skin health.
Ghee is sometimes also used topically in skincare and haircare products due to its moisturising and nourishing properties, helping maintain healthy skin and hair when applied externally.
Turmeric has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and rightly so. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent, protecting the body from several chronic diseases and acts as a natural pain relief remedy and is used as a natural remedy for conditions like arthritis and joint pain. This winter superfoods’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may boost the immune system, helping the body fight off infections.
Another one of the popular turmeric benefits is for skin health and anti-aging benefits. Some skincare products contain turmeric due to its potential to improve skin conditions and promote a healthy complexion, while its antioxidant properties reduce the signs of ageing by protecting the skin from damage caused by free radicals. Certain studies also suggest that turmeric can improve heart health by reducing cholesterol levels, reduce risks of neurodegenerative diseases and even prevent certain types of cancer.
Turmeric is commonly used in cooking and can be added to a variety of dishes, including curries, soups, and rice dishes. It can also be consumed in the form of turmeric tea or taken as a dietary supplement.
6. Lemons and Limes
Lemons and limes are exceptionally high in vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that supports the immune system, aids in wound healing, and promotes healthy skin. Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
These winter superfoods are low in calories and sugars, making them suitable for those looking to manage their weight or blood sugar levels. Despite their acidic taste, lemons and limes have an alkalizing effect on the body. An alkaline diet supports overall health.
The vitamin C in these fruits also plays a role in collagen synthesis, which is important for maintaining healthy skin. Some people use lemon juice topically to lighten skin blemishes and reduce the appearance of dark spots.
Incorporating them into your diet as part of a balanced and varied intake of fruits and vegetables can contribute to a healthy and flavorful diet.
This traditional Ayurvedic rasayana is made with a blend of herbs and spices. Chyawanprash contains a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins (such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E), minerals (like calcium and iron), and beneficial phytochemicals. Chyawanprash is traditionally used to support the immune system. The vitamin C content from Amla, in particular, is believed to enhance immunity and protect against infections.
Many of the herbs and ingredients in Chyawanprash, including Amla (Indian gooseberry), are rich in antioxidants and herbs such as cardamom and long pepper, help improve digestion and gut health. Some of the adaptogenic herbs in Chyawanprash (Ashwagandha and Shatavari), help the body adapt to stress and contribute to mental and emotional well-being. For centuries Chyawanprash has been consumed as a tonic to combat fatigue and improve overall health.
Chyawanprash is typically consumed by the spoonful, either on its own or mixed with warm milk or water or one can also include Chyawanprash gummies into their daily routine. Check out more about this amazing herbal jam and Chyawanprash benefits here.
8. Whole Grains
Whole grains are packed with essential nutrients, such as B vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc, and dietary fibre which is crucial for digestive health. Fibre prevents constipation, promotes regular bowel movements, and reduces the risk of certain gastrointestinal conditions. The antioxidants, and other compounds in whole grains lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve overall cardiovascular health. Whole grains contain phytic acid, which can inhibit the absorption of certain minerals. However, cooking or sprouting whole grains can reduce phytic acid content and improve mineral absorption.
Some common whole grains include oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat and barley. When purchasing bread, pasta, or cereal, look for "whole grain" or "whole wheat" as the first ingredient on the label. Incorporating a variety of whole grains into your diet can be a smart choice for maintaining overall health and well-being.
Ginger is famous for its digestive benefits, helping to soothe upset stomachs and nausea. It contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds, such as gingerol, which reduces inflammation in the body which is great in managing conditions like arthritis and muscle soreness and provides pain relief from menstrual cramps and migraines.
Ginger can also help with weight management by promoting feelings of fullness and aiding in digestion, potentially leading to reduced calorie intake.
Emerging research suggests that ginger may have neuroprotective properties and could play a role in maintaining cognitive function as people age.
Ginger is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various forms, including fresh, dried, ground, or as ginger tea. Whether you consume it as a spice or as a soothing tea, ginger's many health benefits make it a deserving addition to your diet, earning its spot in our list of top 10 winter foods.
Garlic is a good source of essential nutrients, including vitamins C and B6, manganese, and selenium and contains potent antioxidants, such as allicin, which can help combat oxidative stress. Garlic is associated with heart-healthy benefits, by lowering blood pressure and reducing bad cholesterol levels. Garlic has natural antibacterial and antiviral properties, which helps fight common infections and relieve respiratory issues such as cold and flu.
The best way to incorporate garlic is by using it as a flavouring agent in food. Additionally, it can be consumed raw, crushed, or as a supplement for its potential health benefits.
Incorporating these top 10 winter foods into your diet can make a significant difference in how you feel during the colder season. From boosting your immunity to providing essential nutrients, these foods will help you stay healthy and satisfied all winter long. So, embrace the flavours of the season and enjoy the benefits of these winter superfoods.