Winters have officially arrived and it’s time to dust off our jackets and whip out the old, fuzzy sweaters from the closet. Despite the chilly winds and foggy mornings, winter is not without its charms. After all, what sounds better than a cosy winter morning with a steaming cup of tea and some piping hot parathas? However, it’s hard to enjoy the joys of this season if you find yourself coughing and sneezing or battling a blocked nose accompanied by a sore throat.
The key to enjoying winters is simple, stay active, keep yourself well-protected by donning the right clothes and eating the right foods.
Wondering about where to start? Don’t worry, you don’t have to scout the web as we have already done the groundwork for you. Check out this handy list of the top 10 things you can do to help boost your immune system this winter.
1: Stay Stress-Free:
It’s a no brainer that staying stress-free is not just great for your mental health but your physical health as well. When you are stressed out you are more susceptible to illness and people with higher stress levels tend to fall ill very often. The best way to protect yourself is to relax! Find some time to recharge yourself, meditate, read or do yoga. Essentially, you need to take a Chill Pill this winter.
2: Get Adequate Sleep:
Sleeping has its own set of benefits when it comes to our immune system; it gets strengthened and fine-tuned during sleep. In fact, studies have shown that sleep deprivation can actually weaken the immune system.
To keep your immune system in good shape you need at least 8 hours of quality sleep. Good quality sleep not only replenishes your immunity but also keeps you fresh and active for the entire day making you more productive. After all, what sounds better than curling up on your bed under the cover of a duvet and leaving behind all your troubles for 6 to 8 hours?
3: Eat Healthy:
Focus on eating a healthy balanced diet this winter, as food is our first and best medicine. Immunity isn’t just about charging up white blood cells, it’s also about the basics- digestive function, gut health, the robustness (मजबूती) of our tissues. Try adding all food groups in your meals- fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts. Opt for (regional and seasonal) fruits and vegetables, as cold-storage foods tend to lose their freshness and nutritive content.
You must be wondering “What does our immune system need to make it big and strong?” and the answer is simple “Plants, mostly!” Pretty much any plants actually, especially fresh ones.
Now the second question that might be popping up in your brains “What it doesn’t like?” and the answer is simple “The usual suspects are sugar, processed foods, too much of anything that is too refined.” Sugar is potentially damaging to your immune system because of its tendency to cause inflammation in the body, a thriving ground for microbes of the flu. So it’s time to give that sweet tooth a rest.
Go for seasonal fruits and vegetables like guava (अमरूद), mushroom, cabbage (गोभी), spinach (पालक) turnip (शलजम) and beetroot (चुकंदर) to boost your immune system naturally this winter.
4: Super Drinks:
When we talk about super drinks; ‘Turmeric Milk’ (हल्दी वाला दूध) is a tried-and-tested remedy that comes with multiple health benefits. All you need to do to stay healthy this winter is drink a glass of turmeric milk every night before going to sleep.
However, if drinking a glass of milk daily is not your cup of tea (pun intended), then we have other options for you.
“Kadha” also called ‘Decoction’ is an Ayurvedic drink including herbs and spices which are typically boiled in water for a length of time, allowing all of the medicinal benefits to be extracted. We have one such recipe for you below:
Ingredients for 1 cup:
- ½ inch cinnamon stick (दालचीनी)
- 2 cloves (लौंग)
- 1 cardamom (इलायची)
- A small piece of fresh ginger (1 square inch)
- 3 black peppercorns (काली मिर्च)
- 1 tsp of lemon juice
- 2 Cups of water
- 3-4 Basil leaves (तुलसी की पत्तियां)
- Boil all the ingredients over medium flame until the liquid reduces to half its original quantity, strain and sip slowly.
- For additional flavouring, you can add honey. (Optional)
- You can make this recipe with either Green / Black tea.
Enjoy 1 cup daily for improved immunity and weight loss.
5: Herbal Brews:
Herbal medicines have been our botanical superhero allies for as long as humans have been around. Using medicinal herbal tonics on a regular basis helps us to strengthen our immunity and prevent infection, while specific immune-enhancing, antibacterial and antiviral herbs and spices can help to speed recovery from illness and reduce symptoms of ill-health.
- 2 tbsp Keeros Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tbsp ground cayenne pepper
- ¼ tbsp ground ginger
- ¼ ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup boiling water
Add all the ingredients in a coffee mug, pour in some boiling water and mix well. Sip slowly for relief and drink twice daily until you feel better.
6: Seeds and Spices:
In traditional Ayurveda, there are numerous seeds and spices that have tremendous benefits for our health. Here are some so we some selected seeds and spices that are easily available in your local market.
- Garden Cress Seeds (हलीम के बीज) are edible seeds known for their peppery, tangy flavour and aroma. The plant itself is a winter perennial and its leaves are extensively used as a garnish in European foods like pasta, sandwiches, while the tiny, nutty seeds are used in salads, soups and smoothies.
They are also called ‘Tiny Nutrient Powerhouses’. A mature Garden Cress plant produces white flowers and a small seed pod, surprisingly all parts of garden cress are edible – leaves, stems, and seeds.
There are many such super seeds, herbs and spices that have endless benefits and one can keep looking for ways they can be consumed in our day-to-day lives for better immunity and health:
- Sunflower seeds are rich in phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. They’re also incredibly high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
- Ginger is another wonder ingredient that has been valued for its medicinal properties since ancient times. Ginger helps decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger is also helpful in decreasing nausea and helps your immune system fight disease-causing bacteria.
- Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down the hardening of arteries. Garlic’s immunity-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Turmeric is a key ingredient in many curries. It contains a wonder compound called curcumin with anti-bacterial properties that come handy while fighting infections.
Here are some superfoods that are readily available in this season and come with great benefits for your health and immunity:
Spinach: Popeye was right, spinach is a superfood and not just because it’s rich in vitamin C, Vitamin K, Calcium and iron. It’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune system. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients; light cooking further enhances its vitamin A content and allows other nutrients to be released.
Sweet Potatoes (शकरकंद): Sweet potatoes are a great source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, sweet potatoes – especially the orange and purple varieties – are rich in antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage that has been linked to chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and ageing.
Therefore, eating antioxidant-rich sweet potatoes is good for your health as they are a rich source of vitamin A, fibre and antioxidants.
So eat this superfood at least twice a week to give your immune system a helping hand this winter.
Nuts: When it comes to munching how can we leave out nuts? The vitamin E found in nuts like pistachios (पिसता), almonds (बादाम) and walnuts (अखरोट) helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria. Try adding nuts to your salads, homemade bread, oatmeal or simply enjoy a handful as a snack.
Dry Fruits: Dry fruits are rich in vitamins and proteins; they also boost immunity and prevent lifestyle diseases such as cholesterol and diabetes. Most dry fruits are rich in minerals, proteins, fibre and vitamins, not to mention that they are a tasty treat for your taste buds, too.
When it comes to healthy snacking, we at Keeros leave no stone unturned to bring you delicious snacks that also offer you wholesome nutrition for stronger immunity.
Snack healthy this winter with our 3 yummy roasted supersnacks:
- Keeros Multigrain Roasted Supersnack (Salty)
Something extremely tasty and healthy awaits you with our superyummy Multigrain Roasted Supersnack. A lightly salted roasted supersnack, our multigrain supersnack contains a delightfully healthy combination of 6 supergrains; white wheat (सफेद गेहूं), rice flakes (चावल के गुच्छे), dew beans (ओस की फलियाँ), soybeans (सोयाबीन), pearl millets (मोती बाजरा) and green grams (हरे चने) with a pinch of rock salt, Himalayan pink salt, relevant spices and cottonseed oil. It packs a punch of iron, protein and lots of fibre.
Keep it within reach and just stretch out your hand whenever your belly and your taste buds crave something crispy and tasty to munch on.
- Keeros Multiseed Roasted Supersnack (Sweet)
If you suffer from a classic case of sweet addiction and are unable to control your mid-meal cravings, then we have the perfect snack for you. Our multi-seed roasted supersnack contains the loving warmth of dry dates and a delightfully healthy combination of 4 super seeds. flax seeds(अलसी), watermelon seeds (तरबूज के बीज) , sesame seeds (तिल), and green pumpkin seeds (हरे कद्दू के बीज).
Dry dates are extremely rich in omega 3, protein, calcium, vitamin A, and no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours are used.
Satisfy your sweet cravings with a slightly sweet roasted supersnack. Have it on-the-go; with your meals or in-between.
- QuinoaGrain Roasted Supersnack (Spicy)
Quinoa is a flowering plant with edible seeds that are rich in protein, dietary fibre, B vitamins, and dietary minerals.
A lightly spiced roasted supersnack, our QuinoaGrain (क्विनोआ के बीज) Supersnack contains a delightfully healthy combination of the mother of grains- Quinoa and 4 super grains; dew beans (ओस की फलियाँ), soybeans (सोयाबीन), pearl millets (मोती बाजरा), and green grams (हरे चने). Keep it close by at all times or just carry it in your everyday bag and just pop it out whenever you get the urge to munch.
9: Get Lots of Sunshine:
One of the key elements in going natural is getting adequate exposure to sunlight as it has multiple benefits for our immune system. We’ve all heard about the importance of Vitamin D which we get from sun exposure. More and more research is pointing to the fact that Vitamin D does far more than just help protect our bones. Increasingly we are coming to understand how Vitamin D is the key to activating our immune defences and warding off infections, especially respiratory infections.
Sunshine also helps us to relaaaaaax. It melts our tension, it brightens the colours, it brings us to our senses and sensuality in an easy and comfortable way. Make sure to go out and enjoy the natural warmth of the sun this winter.
Working out is not always about pumping up your muscles with a dumbbell at a gym or a fitness studio. It can be a simple half an hour walk or any sports activity that makes you breathe a little faster. Exercising every day is vital for good health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. It can improve your appearance and delay the ageing process.
You can exercise any way you want, whether it is playing with your kids or pets for a while or simply going for a walk/jog in the morning. The trick to boosting your immunity is winter is enjoying healthy exercise that makes you sweat.
Go Green: This time we don’t mean the greens you eat (although, they are also awesome for your immune system) We are talking about green surroundings; walking in a lush green park, breathing fresh oxygenated air, enjoying the beauty of trees, gardens, forests, i.e, nature in all its raw glory.
Research proves that spending time in the natural environment protects us against a massive array of chronic degenerative diseases and it also improves our natural immune function. Scientists believe this is because of the way we are naturally calmed and connected when in nature. Our ‘fight or flight’ instinct changes to ‘rest and digest’ which leads to better digestion and improved immunity.
However, if the thought of going for a morning walk on a cold winter morning, literally gives you the chills, sit at home and enjoy a cup of warm tea with Keeros Roasted Supersnacks.