Fruits are an essential part of our diet because of the vital nutrients and fibre that they provide us. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of various fruits help us protect our system from disease and decay. It becomes doubly important to have fruits during winter as the cold weather wears down our immunity. Below, we look at five winter fruits which help us maintain optimum health.
Cold temperatures in winter cause blood vessels to constrict. Oranges are rich in vitamin C, which improves arterial blood flow. We also consume more comfort foods rich in fat and sugar in winter, since the calories they produce, keep us warm. However, such foods stimulate free radicals, which cause oxidative damage. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C neutralise free radicals. Vitamin C also aids in collagen production, which helps maintain skin elasticity in winter. The soluble fibre in oranges, meanwhile, helps lower elevated blood cholesterol levels. Mosambi or sweet lemon has many of the same benefits.
Digestive upsets occur during winter because the body metabolism slows down to save energy and generate heat. As per studies, consuming Kiwi fruits helps our digestion through the enzyme actinidin, which breaks down protein. Kiwis are also rich in vitamin C, Vitamin E, dietary fibre, potassium, folate and other essential antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and contain the antioxidant anthocyanin, which studies suggest may help improve arterial blood flow in patients suffering from high blood pressure. Strawberries help reduce diabetes and obesity-related problems and also protect cardiovascular health.
Also known as Indian Jujube, these fruits are available around February and are either consumed raw or used in making pickles. Indian plum contains numerous phytochemicals which prevent oxidative stress in winter due to increased sugary and fried food consumption. Plums strengthen immunity as well.
This sweet-tasting fruit is rich in antioxidants and contains an anti-inflammatory enzyme called bromelain. It reduces inflammatory pain in arthritic patients, fights bacterial infection in the stomach and has anti-cancer properties.
Another winter fruit, pomegranate, also provides health benefits like those mentioned above.