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3:30 am - Tuesday January 23, 2018

We should eat and grow foods according to season

Have you ever wondered why we have access to specific fruit and vegetable in any one season whereas some are available all year round? Like we do not eat watermelon in winter, we do not consume amla in summers.

This could be because watermelon is mostly water and it keeps us stay hydrated in summers whereas amla is a rich source of vitamin C which priotects us from infections in winter.

Therefore, we should eat and grow foods according to season. So, this winter do not eat any summer food change your taste buds for winter nutrients.

1. Green leafy vegetables- Winter Greens as we say are abundant in nutrients. During this time of the year we have access to some of the best fresh produce ofthe year. Fenugreek leaves or methi, collards, spinach, bathua, silver-beet, radish leaves, kohlrabi, mustard greens or season, kale are some of the most nutritioujs vegetables.

They are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K and iron. Green leafy vegetables are high in antioxidants, rich in phytonutrients and helps in detoxifying liver. Due to its rich properties, they are winter superfoods. One can also grow these microgreens in the back yard, terrace or even in the balcony. You can use small shoots in salads and soups.

2. Nuts & seeds0 Nuts and seeds are rich in omega 3 and essential fatty acids, thus they help in lowering bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol in our body. These include walnuts, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and amny more.

Traditionally, in India during winters we use nuts and seeds as winter desserts, some of which are peanut jaggery chikki, til ladoo, gajak and many more.

We can make low calorie version by just sprinkling some sesame seedson salad or cooked vegetables and rice. Valnuts are rich source of omega 3, we can have them soaked or add crushed walnuts to our meals for a crunch. One can easily finish meals with 1 teaspoon of jaggery and pumpkin seeds, fennel seeds or ajwain or carom seeds to aid digestion.

3. Go gluten free with whole grains- Bajra, Jowar, Ragi, Maize, Amaranth, Quinoa are gluten free grain which are eaten mostly during winters. Having call them gluten free, it doesn’t mean that you are gluten intoleerant.

There are many people who self-diagnose for gluten intolerance. Gluten free foods are easy to digest, rich in fiber as they are unprocessed. Makki ki roti, bajra ki roti, bajra ki khicdi, ragi dosa, ramdana ladoo are winter special. They are rich in iron, fiber, minerals and gluten free.

4. Amla or Indian Gooseberry. Amla has the highest source of Vitamin C of all the fruits and vegetables. Consuming amla daily in winters will protect us from cold, flue and any oter infections. People often hae amla in candy form which is an unhealthy version. Best way to eat amla is by preparing amla churan, amla sabji, amla uin juice, amla powder or amla chutneys.

5. Haldi or Tumeric- Consume tumeric in warm milk overnight with a pinch of black pepper and honey or jaggery. This will assist in builing immunity, prevent constipation, prevent any skin disorders.

6. Sweet Potatoes- Shakarkandi or sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, fiber, low in Glycemic Index (this means that it increases sugar very slowly in the body). It is low in calorie and tastes delicious. Use roasted potatoes as snacks, boiled in vegetables or as salad and soup.

We have plenty of fruits and vegetables to eat this winter, do not look for summer foods. Contact: Swati Bathwal, Dietitian & Diabetes Educator, Australia.

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