During this nice chilly winter weather, there’s nothing more warming than a hot bowl of soup or a nice healthy drink. So why not take that warm feeling to the next level with some healthy winter drinks and beverages?
Winter is a season of abundance – abundance of holidays, festivals, love and gratitude. This abundance is extended with the availability of a variety of fresh produce and a high metabolic rate that keeps making us feel hungry. A perfect opportunity to replenish your body stores of some crucial nutrients that you might need throughout the year. This makes it even more imperative for one to opt for healthy options and make the most of it.
While hydration and drinking water or fluids is considered to be a summer thing, it is equally important to keep yourself hydrated in the winters! Winters are dry and windy, and it takes more of your body to keep your skin moist and supple. Moreover, infection rates are higher during these times and hence it is crucial to keep up your immunity game strong. Water is a simple tool to hydration and flushing out the infectious agents from your body. However, warm fluids give an added comfort, soothing the throat, warming your insides and a very filling effect on the stomach.
5 Winter Drinks and Beverages To Keep You Warm
With bountiful fresh produce, seasonal vegetables and liberty of spices and herbs, it is the most convenient time of the year to cook soups and relish a hot bowl. Gourd soups with pumpkin, bottle gourd and tomatoes; The CBT soup with carrot, beetroot and tomatoes; Dal and tomato soup that has the goodness of moong dal proteins; Lemon coriander soup; Spinach soup; Broccoli almond soup.; Mushroom soup are just a few examples from the wide array of choices for this season, as all of these vegetables are easily available during this time. It has the benefits of vitamin A from the gourds, Vitamin C from lemons, and they both help build immunity. Quercetin from tomatoes and anthocyanins from beets enhance heart health. While spinach and broccoli have the goodness of calcium and vitamin K essential in bone health. Season soups with ginger, garlic and herbs like pepper, basil and oregano; some whole spices like bay leaf, star anise. Drizzle the bowl of soup with good fat like olive oil or sesame oil and you are good for a slurpy meal. Keeps you full for long, helps in weight loss and easy on the gut. Avoid packaged and ready to eat/cook soups, they contain very little natural ingredients and are very high in sodium which causes more damage to the body than benefiting it.
2. Spiced Turmeric Lattè
Our traditional Haldi doodh got glorified recently and became the turmeric lattè, simply hot milk with turmeric and a dash of cinnamon and pepper powder. Best for sore throats and respiratory diseases. Turmeric invariably has the benefits of curcumin on heart, kidneys, helps control diabetes and wards off infections. For a subtle sweetness one can add some honey or dates pureè. Sprinkle some dry rose petals and sliced nuts over it.
3. Hot Lemon Gingeràle
Hot water infused with lemon and ginger extract and slightly sweetened with honey gives the hot comfort of the lemon ginger water, soothes the throat and has a relaxing effect on the brain. Ginger has a compound called gingerol and the antioxidants as well as vitamin C from the lemon gives your immunity a boost. A pinch of cinnamon can enhance its flavour.
4. Black or Green Tea (variant: Kashmiri kahwa)
Black or green tea with a slice of lemon can be the most comforting thing ever. Black or green tea are a great source of antioxidants of the catechin family and lemons are rich in vitamin C and limonin, all involved in maintaining the metabolic rate and good blood circulation. The heaven on earth Kashmir, is also home to some of the best culinary magics, and one of them is the kahwa. Kashmiri kahwa is Kashmiri green tea, boiled with saffron, cardamom and almonds. This drink has the ability to warm you up in the coldest of the winters, like those of Kashmir.
It is an age-old method of curing or preventing winter diseases with a kaadha. Kaadha is a term in Ayurvedic medicine that stands for a concoction or extract of medicinal plants and herbs. Our Indian culture is blessed with a number of spices and other food additives that are not just food but have medicinal benefits too. Indigenous adjuncts and methods of cooking are appreciated worldwide. One can create a simple and beneficial kaadha at home with the following ingredients that can be easily found in any Indian household:
- 5-6 tulsi leaves
- 2-3 mint leaves
- A small piece of dalchini (cinnamon)
- 2-3 laung (cloves)
- 1 elaichi (cardamom)
- 2-3 kalimiri (black pepper pearls)
- 1 teaspoon of sauf (fennel seeds)
- 1 teaspoon of jeera (cumin seeds)
- Small piece of ginger
- Half a lemon
- 1 teaspoon of honey
Boil all the whole spices in 1 litre of water and let it reduce to half a litre. Then slightly cool down this water, strain it and squeeze half a lemon over it, then add the honey. Sip this water throughout the day for at least 3 times a week. It will keep away common cold, sore throat, maintains your digestive health, eliminates flatus (gas) or bloating, helps you lose weight by speeding up metabolism.