Sunday,21 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1421, (6 - 12 December 2018)
Sunday,21 April, 2019
Issue 1421, (6 - 12 December 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Spending a healthy winter

Healthy winter

Do chillier temperatures drive you to eat more? Don’t panic, you’re not alone. As soon as temperatures drop, our appetite goes up for high-calorie and high-carbohydrate dishes that make us feel warm and cozy.

It’s normal to feel hungry in winter, experts say, when the cooler air and shorter days can trigger changes in our behaviour which encourage fat storage. We may find ourselves eating more and moving less, which if poorly controlled can lead to weight gain.

In short, feeling cold makes us spend longer indoors, move less and eat more. Therefore, it’s normal that we might put on a little extra insulation over the winter months. Studies indicate that we do tend to eat more during the winter months, with the average person gaining at least one to two pounds, and those who are already overweight likely to gain a lot more.

Maintaining healthy eating and lifestyle habits over the winter is thus important for weight management and for our general health as well.

Here are some of the foods you should be loading up on at this time of year to help you counter many of the negative impacts of winter on your body:



Antioxidants help in reversing the damage left by toxins and free radicals and help your body to defend itself against dangerous pathogens. Wild blueberries contain the most active antioxidants of any fresh fruit because of their high levels of anthocyanins. They’re perfect for clearing out your system in winter as a result.



Our moods may drop a little during the long, dark winter months. Therefore, it’s important to support your serotonin levels. Our bodies make serotonin from tryptophan, which occurs naturally in foods such as bananas, dairy products, fish, dried dates, soya or almonds. Mixing these foods with unrefined carbohydrates, such as brown rice, wholemeal bread or oats, can encourage your body to release insulin, which helps transport tryptophan to the brain where serotonin is manufactured.



These provide a range of essential nutrients like selenium, which is an antioxidant, as well as niacin, potassium, copper and phosphorous. Additionally, mushrooms provide protein, Vitamin C and iron. Mushrooms are a great addition to any winter diet because of the antiviral and antibacterial properties they possess, which help to fight infection. Button mushrooms in particular are a great source of Vitamin D, which helps to boost immunity. 

Oily fish

Oily fish: 

Our lungs are one of the most vulnerable parts of the body in winter. So try to eat Omega 3-rich foods like oily fish, including sardines, anchovies, herrings, salmon or mackerel, three times a week to help protect the lungs. 

Smoked salmon

Smoked salmon: 

As well as being necessary for our heart, brain and eye health, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids found in smoked salmon play an essential role in the structure and appearance of the skin. The fatty acids in smoked salmon are incorporated into cell membranes in the epidermis (the top layer of skin) and form a matrix around the cells, helping to maintain the skin’s barrier function and prevent the moisture loss that may occur during the winter months.

Red peppers

Red peppers: 

These contain phytochemicals and carotenoids (which gives them their pigment), particularly beta-carotene which bestows antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. They contain over three times the Vitamin C of an orange and are far more effective than citrus fruits in boosting Vitamin C levels and fighting colds. Vitamin C is known to reduce tiredness while strengthening the immune system, which is vital during the colder months.



This is one of nature’s most revitalising spices. Filled with potent antioxidants, more than almost all other spices, cinnamon can help to boost your metabolism as well as aid digestion, gently warming your stomach and supporting the breakdown of food more efficiently.



When it comes to mental well-being, Vitamin C and Vitamin D are considered vital parts of any winter diet. Cheese is known to boost levels of Vitamin D, along with egg yolks, orange juice, soy milk, cereals, tuna, mackerel and salmon. It also provides an abundance of Vitamin D, the most effective way to beat the blues, and it plays a crucial role in disease-prevention and maintaining optimal health. 

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