Colder climates usually call for cozy blankets, junk food to binge on, and movie nights. Vitamin-rich cold-weather foods are generally unaccounted for in this list, and this affects our immunity system adversely. The winter season is renowned for getting us sick more often than usual, and it is solely not attributed to the weather alone. People are deprived of the nutrients they get from being outdoors, which lacks in their winter diet as well! One fact of 2020 which cannot be overlooked is that the biggest challenge the world faced was building immunity. Therefore, it is important to follow a diet that includes nutrients that support your immune system. Your winter diet must include fresh local produce, specifically fruits exclusively available during the winter season. In this article, we learn about six such winter fruits that boost your immunity and support your overall health.
Benefits of Including Fruit in Your Winter Diet
Fruit consumption for nutrition, weight loss, improvement in metabolism, and other various health benefits, is a no-brainer. However, many people disregard the necessity of fruit intake during the winter season, leaning towards comfort foods and giving in to their winter cravings. This leads to a major lack of nutrients in our body essential to fight imminent cold weather diseases (read: cold, flu, cough). To keep such diseases at bay, it is critical to consume nutrient-rich food to maintain a solid immunity system throughout the cold season.
To reap maximum benefits from your fruit intake, make sure to purchase seasonal local produce. While exotic and imported fruits are popular by demand, they are expensive whereas seasonal fruits are affordable and easily available in local markets. They are also rich in vitamins and nutrients that our body requires in that specific season. For instance, watermelon is best eaten during summer because of its high-water content that keeps your body cool during the hot weather. On the other hand, oranges are best consumed during winter because of their high Vitamin C content that builds immunity against common illnesses such as cold and flu during cold weather. We compromise on such natural remedies and benefits when we choose imported, non-seasonal fruits over fresh seasonal fruits.
Another interesting benefit of including fruits in your winter diet is that it aids to support a healthy weight. As mentioned earlier, cold weather makes us reach out for comfort food instinctively, and thus naturally promotes weight gain. However, fruits are the best alternative for sugar cravings and help sustain a healthy balanced diet during the winter season. In addition to various disease-fighting and immune-bolstering properties, the inclusion of winter fruits in your cold-weather diet also aids in diabetic management, lowering bad cholesterol, regulate blood pressure, and prevents skin damage as well.
Six Best Fruit To Consume In Winter
Here’s a list of the six best local and seasonal fruits, to have you sorted during the winter season:
- Oranges- Topping the list is our very own oranges that are abundantly available during the cold season. Oranges are rich in both Vitamin C and fiber content that helps boost immunity and fight cold-season ailments. Besides, oranges are low in calories and have zero fat. All types of citrus fruits like mandarin oranges, lemons, and limes are loaded with Vitamins and minerals too.
- Pomegranate- This fruit not only pleases the eye but the tummy as well. It is an excellent source of antioxidants and other vital nutrients such as Vitamin K, Folate, and Potassium with Vitamin C. It also reduces fat build-up in arteries and lowers cholesterol levels considerably, leading to good heart health.
- Apples- This crunchy and delicious fruit is everyone’s favorite and the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is no joke either! Apples are low in calories and has a significant amount of fiber, Vitamin B, and a fair amount of Vitamin C and K. They reduce inflammation in our body and is excellent for building immunity as well.
- Guava- Sweet, tangy and crunchy, guavas are loaded with antioxidants, Vitamin C, and high dietary fiber content. Guavas prevent cell damage and are superb for your heart and blood glucose level. This immunity booster is commonly available throughout the winter season, making it easy to stock up.
- Pineapple- Pineapples are likened to citrus fruits in terms of high Vitamin C content. Therefore, if you don’t like citrus fruits, pineapple is an excellent substitute! This tropical fruit has several health benefits such as strong anti-inflammatory properties, controls cholesterol, and helps to burn calories.
- Bananas- It may look like bananas are available throughout the year. This comfort food has multiple health benefits that it had to be included in this exclusive list. They are super high in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, soluble and insoluble fiber and also supplies an excellent amount of Vitamin B6. It is certainly not odd that we humans share 50% of our DNA with this nutritious fruit! Bananas have all the essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to the best functioning of our body.
How and When to Eat Fruits?
There are various opinions and arguments regarding how and when to consume fruits. Do we eat fruits as a snack, a dessert, make smoothies out of them or add them to our salads? Do we eat it after a meal or before a meal, or even as a meal? Do we eat it in the morning, evening, or night? The list of questions is endless, and we are spoiled for choices, to be honest. However, it is critical to note that regardless of how and when we consume them, we need to ensure that we reap the maximum benefit. There are multiple ways to consume these winter fruits, but the popular opinion is to best eat the above favorites raw and whole. Some doctors suggest that the best time to eat fruits is right when we wake up after a good night’s sleep whilst some doctors discourage eating fruits at night. Certain experts argue fruits need to be consumed before a meal whilst others suggest otherwise. Regardless of these arguments, however, remember that there may be a right way or wrong way to eat fruit but making sure you eat them is what counts, ensuring the nutrients offered by the fruit are absorbed by our body. Make it a habit to include fruits in every meal consumed. All of the winter fruits in this list are immunity boosters and offer a variety of nutrients essential for our body during the winter season.
The fact that seasonal fruits rim with benefits is an understatement. Choosing even one local fruit will enhance your nutrient intake and save you some money in the process. However, talk to your doctor about consuming these fruits regularly to rule out any interference with your treatment plan or medication, if you have any medical conditions. There will always be questions such as when and how to eat fruits, what fruits to avoid etc. The key is to be well-balanced in your diet and ensure you meet your daily values, keeping your body strong during winter. Your immune system and your overall health should advance, thrive, and gain from your winter diet, and including seasonal fruits will help you achieve this goal. Therefore, make the drill easy by enjoying a variety of fruits – slice it or dice it to yield the best results, the choice is yours. Bon appetite.