Here’s your food guide for the cold weather – Times of India

As we enter the phase of sweaters, shawls and innumerable cups of hot coffee, there is a certain twist to the overall winter vibe this year. We are sailing through these tough times of pandemic and the one specific factor that the whole world is concerned about is the immune system. Chef Prabhakar Nagraj, Managing Partner, Elior India. tells us about the easily available fruits and vegetables at the local supermarkets that can be consumed to keep the immunity in check during winter.


It is during this time of the year we get a lot of fruits and vegetables that are native and healthy as this is the optimum temperature for them to grow. To name a few, we have papaya, Pamplemousses or pomelo (a citrus fruit), melon, grapes, gooseberries, guava, kiwi and pomegranate that grow well during winter. All these have plenty of vitamins which fight flu which are common during winter. Studies show eating one gooseberry is equivalent to the total amount of Vitamin C needed by a human body for a day.

Vegetables are the best armor to protect the immune system. Broccoli and ginger are some of the most consumed vegetables that facilitate strengthening of immunity. In greens, we have spinach and arugula – a peppery, distinctive-tasting green leaf that is immensely beneficial.

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are the secret ingredients that go into the making of traditional ‘Kaadah’, a potion that is considered to be the best solution to build a healthy immune system. Mint, peppermint, basil, lemongrass are some of the herbs that grow well during winter. As we are nearing Christmas time, we also have turkey that is stuffed with sage. All these things have great immunity boosting power in them. Basically, when consumed raw, by grilling or sautéing, it provides those important vitamins and minerals that enhance one’s immune system.

From your kitchen

Apart from these, at this time, we also can get good green tea if we get lucky and it is definitely a great source of antioxidant and has a lot of immunity boosting elements as well. Sweet potatoes are also available in plenty. There are multiple things that can be made from peanuts by either boiling them or grinding into chutney. We also have good carrots coming up and they have numerous benefits. One can also have mushrooms for immunity, just by sautéing or adding them to any particular gravy as is done by in a lot of Indian kitchens.

Ginger tea made with cinnamon and cloves is a great immunity booster and always keeps you fresh and nourished. Spices married to vegetables are a great asset. Parsley can be added to meals since it is fresh during this time. It protects us from chronic diseases and in rich in vitamins.

All these things are usually grown in the open during winter. They are cultivated in modified temperature control zones like greenhouse throughout the year, but during this time they are grown in the open and that results in giving better immunity boosting power. Hence, using them in the correct way, cooking them without killing those essential nutrients is very critical. Overall, food is the best medicine and we are basically what we eat. Hence, one must get into the habit of eating a healthy and balanced diet that provides all the nutrition required to keep health in check.


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