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Have a handful of nuts to keep the doctor away in winter

They are delicious but there's more to nuts than just taste. These powerhouses of essential vitamins and minerals are what you need to stay well in this cold season

Nuts are a valuable source of protein that is necessary for maintaining muscle mass and aiding in recovery after a workout
Nuts are a valuable source of protein that is necessary for maintaining muscle mass and aiding in recovery after a workout (Unsplash/Usman Yousaf)

Packed with potent nutrients and warming energy, nuts are the perfect winter companions to keep you healthy and invigorated throughout the season. Our forebears understood this too well to not just prescribe them as winter diet staples, they even concocted sweets enriched with dry fruits and nuts. But with a plethora of nuts to choose from, how do you pick the ones that are good for you this season? Here's a primer on six of these winter treasures and how they can contribute to your wellness during the cold clime.

Also read: A healthy plant-based diet can reduce type 2 diabetes risk: Study

Almonds: These “brain foods” are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants that help boost memory and cognition. Their fiber content keeps you feeling full, preventing those unwanted winter cravings. They also help in regulating blood sugar levels and reducing cholesterol. Soak them, roast them or just grab a handful to snack on. Ensure you don't remove the skin, as it contains antioxidants. 

Walnuts: Rich in healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts promote heart health and keep your brain sharp through the winter's fog. They have anti-inflammatory properties and moisturise the skin and hair. Have a few to get your daily dose of brainpower and maintain an active lifestyle.

Cashews: These creamy delights are loaded with magnesium, aiding muscle relaxation and reducing stress levels, making them ideal for combating the winter blues. Loaded with vitamin E, they have anti-ageing properties and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids that help in heat generation to keep you warm through the winters. Enjoy a small handful to unwind after a long day.

Pistachios: These vibrant green nuts are rich in vitamin B6 and potassium, supporting a healthy immune system, the first line of defense against winter bugs. They help repair skin cells and keep the skin moisturised and hydrated during winter. They're also a good source of fiber, promoting gut health.

Hazelnuts: These little powerhouses are a natural source of vitamin E, essential for cell growth and repair. They also contain manganese, supporting healthy bones, which is especially important for preventing winter falls.

Peanuts: Peanuts are not usually a low-fat food, but eating them uncooked in the winter has numerous benefits. Packed with resveratrol, peanuts nourish and hydrate dry skin, a common complaint during winters. They also have L-arginine, which promotes growth hormones that are beneficial to combat hair loss, a common issue seen in winter. 

What is the magic number?
How much of this “nutty goodness” should you indulge in? A handful, or roughly 30 grams, is the sweet spot. This amount provides enough nutrients without exceeding the daily calorie intake. 

The winter advantage
By incorporating nuts into your winter diet, you're not just satiating your taste buds but unlocking a natural arsenal to combat the season's challenges. From boosting energy and immunity to keeping your skin radiant and mind sharp, nuts offer a wealth of benefits that are essential for thriving in the winter months. They are also a valuable source of protein, necessary for maintaining muscle mass and aiding in recovery after a workout. So, embrace nature's bounty and allow these winter warriors to guide you towards a healthy and joyful season. Remember, moderation is key. While nuts are incredibly beneficial, limiting your daily intake is vital to avoid exceeding your calorie needs. 

Shweta Dravid is a self confessed explorer who writes on travel, health, wellness, mindfulness and life truths.

Also read: 10 ways to boost your child's immune system


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