With the winters finally setting in, the need to stay indoors and snuggle up with a cup of chai will only increase as days go by. It’s the best time to enjoy all those warming winter comfort foods in the cosy company of your quilt. Given all this, it is but natural for the metabolism to take a hit. When you’re continuously exposed to low temperatures, your body takes it as a signal to conserve energy and heat, thus slowing down your metabolism.
With this delayed metabolism, your digestion is also not at its best. Eating the right kind of foods is very important to keep the digestion smooth and going. Your tendency to shift towards foods like nuts, seeds, grains, soups, stews are signals from your body. Here are some foods that you must load up on for better digestion in winters.
1. Winter Greens
The tremendous variety of greens the season brings along with itself is mind-boggling and also the greatest news for good health and digestion. Mustard greens, fenugreek, spinach, cholai, bathua are all packed with dietary fibre that helps bulk up your stool, thereby regulating your bowel movement and digestion. The high fibre content also keeps you satiated for long, thereby curbing your urge to binge on other fattening foods which can also help you shed a pound or two. Have them as part of your sabzis, soups, stews, broth. You can steam them, use as a part of stuffing mixture in wraps, rolls and parathas too.
Ghee is back in vogue and we can’t be happier. Ghee or clarified butter is used extensively in the north to prepare many winter delights such as Panjiri, Gondh ka laddoo, Moong dal ka halwa to keep the body warm. In addition to digestive function, ghee or clarified butter also supports the immune system in the nippy weather. Ghee helps aid healthy gut bacteria present in the gastro-intestinal tract which plays a crucial role in smooth digestion. Swapping ghee with refined oils has been one of the biggest blunders of modern cooking, according to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora. According to her, “Ghee consists of fat soluble vitamins, which aid weight loss. Ghee also plays a key role in balancing hormones and maintaining healthy cholesterol. It has led to serious health disorders like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Herbs and spices in the food not only help keep the body warm but also boost digestion. Your kitchen pantry is full of them – cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, cayenne, nutmeg, and cloves are all known to trigger the digestive fire and lets not forget their contribution in strengthening our immune system. You can infuse them in tea or a warm beverage like kadha, have the in soups and broth or add them to your curries and desserts.
High fibre foods regulate the speed of digestion, add bulk to your stool and aid smoother bowel movements. They also keep your blood sugar levels in check. High fibre foods play a crucial part in maintaining good heart-health by reducing the risk of stroke and hypertension. A diet rich in fibre helps you manage your weight by keeping you full for longer and curbing unwanted cravings. Apart from the winter greens, there are many seasonal vegetables and fruits that can help you up your fibre intake. Carrots with both soluble and insoluble fibres make for an excellent vegetable for those looking to increase their fibre intake. Radishes, guava, apples are also high on fibre quotient.
Ever noticed how with the dip in temperatures, there is also a sudden dip in our intake of fluids? Well, this may not be the best idea for your digestion. Not drinking enough water or fluids could make the intestines stiff, thereby making the food passage tougher. For smoother movement through intestines and elimination of waste, it is essential to be hydrated at all time. So keep taking sips of water through the day, warm water is even better. Have stews and soups to increase your fluid intake. Water based vegetables like radishes, and tomatoes are very effective too.