Grandmother Knows Best: 6 Scientifically-Backed Remedies to Survive Winter

Temperatures in India are on a steady decline and winter has set in with cardigans, mufflers, sweaters, and monkey caps around. Unfortunately, this is also the time when most of us get a common cold, cough, flu, and have joint pains. Interestingly, in this season most of our grandmothers charge into the kitchen and prepare natural remedies in a secretive sort-of manner. While we may have avoided these kitchen-remedies our whole lives, we may need to pay heed to them now, as even science says that our grandmas were right. 

Desi foods by grandmothers provide wonderful concoctions of nutrients and immunity, which are beneficial for the entire body, so we tell you the best home remedies for surviving winter.

  1. Cold and Cough: Sniffles, sneezes, fever, and body aches, the common cold can be quite a downer during the party season.

Grandma’s Remedy: Heard about the magic potion called ‘kaadha’? It is made with two power ingredients pepper and turmeric. The latter is known to increase mucous secretion, which helps flush out the harmful bacteria. Plus, its antibacterial properties help fight the infection. Pepper is also antibacterial and contains vitamin C for boosting immunity. 

  1. Immunity Issues: Has it happened to you that despite wearing all possible layers of warm clothes, you still manage to catch the flu? This indicates a problem of low immunity. 

Grandma’s Remedy: To strengthen your immunity, consume a combination of ginger juice [2], basil (tulsi) leaves, and a teaspoon of honey. Ginger has anti-inflammatory benefits and is anti-bacterial to help the immune system fight better. Basil leaves increase natural antibodies and T helper cells in the blood, thereby increasing immunity. Similarly, honey also has antibacterial properties that help strengthen your body from the inside [3]. 

  1. Chest Congestion: A common winter complaint is that of wheezing, sore throat, and sleep difficulties due to congestion of mucus in the chest.

Grandma’s Remedy: Heat cow’s ghee in a pan and add a few garlic cloves to the same. Massaging this gently on your chest will help you fight chest congestion. The usage of cow’s ghee is part of Ayurvedic treatment for relieving cold-like symptoms, while the intense aroma and antioxidants in cloves provide relief from chest congestion. [6]    

  1. Joint Pain: If your morning has started with muscle cramps, backache or knee pain, try this before you pop that pain killer.

Grandma’s Remedy: Have a spoonful of turmeric with ghee or turmeric milk. Curcumin in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that ease the pain, reduce swelling and ensure smooth functioning of joints. Additionally, the fat in milk or ghee helps make turmeric more effective when consumed.

  1. Digestive Problems: Suffering from constipation or indigestion due to party season binge? Do not be in a hurry to gulp down tea or coffee early in the morning. 

Grandma’s Remedy: Have warm water with lemon juice, which would work to clean the digestive tract and also eliminate fat. Lemon flushes out the toxins floating around your GI tract and also relieves the symptoms of indigestion. [8]

  1. Dry Skin: The dry weather tends to absorb the hydration and moisture of the skin, leaving it dry and dull. If you don’t take care, you might also see a few signs of aging in the form of wrinkles.

Grandma’s Remedy: The problem of skin dryness can be solved by using curd. It is rich in lactic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid that dissolves dead skin cells and helps replenish new ones. [9]

References:

  1. http://www.ijddr.in/drug-development/cold-and-flu-conventional-vs-botanical–nutritional-therapy.pdf
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/
  4. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0656/a638abdfa284b83455b83d11f953d648dad5.pdf
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5553043_Polyphenols_and_Antioxidant_Properties_of_Almond_Skins_Influence_of_Industrial_Processing
  6. http://www.imedpub.com/articles/the-versatility-of-cow-ghee-an-ayurvedaperspective.pdf
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27213821
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4223119/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22152494

6 Indian recipes to keep you warm this winter

I come from a traditional Marwadi family and I grew up under my grandma’s watchful eyes! Be it stomach ache, cough, tiredness, heavy head or acidity… I remember my grandma going to the kitchen for a cure and not to the drawer that stored our supply of pills. As I look back, I now realize the importance of these essential ingredients in our daily diets and how even nutrition science backs up their efficiency.

Members of the older generations in an Indian household heavily relied on the power of traditional herbs, spices or kitchen ingredients as a traditional system of medicine. These remedies are not just quick fixes, but are natural and have stood the test of time and science.

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We never really take out the time to reflect upon the seasonal shifts and the produce that nature avails at that particular time.

Did you know…

  • Sesame seeds are an immunity booster, regulates body heat and provides conditioning to your skin and hair during winters
  • Jaggery is loaded with anti-oxidants and thus fights with various infections in our body.
  • Ajwain fights gaseousness, aids in digestion and fights the common cold.
  • The superfood ghee is a natural moisturizer, improves digestion and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and also gives you the much-needed warmth to fight the winters.
  • Millets like bajra, rajgeera and jowar provide us with essential vitamins, minerals and fibre to kick-start our metabolism.

And a lot more!

Wholesome Indian recipes use these traditional herbs, spices, local vegetation etc. to strengthen our body’s immune response and mechanism. There are ingredients that help you prep for a seasonal shift, ingredients that instantly cure indigestion, a runny nose, aching feet and even an unwanted pimple! These recipes include ingredients or combinations in which they are made to take care of anything and everything!

If you are enthusiastic to fight ailments the healthy way or prevent them all together, this can be your guide to a happy and healthy winter. Find some of our traditional, wholesome recipes below to warm you up this winter.

  • Bajra khichidi with home-made makkhan

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The name ‘khichidi’ makes us go all warm and fuzzy inside. This creamy Rajasthani bajra khichidi with home-made makkhan is a winter-favourite in many households. Bajra, known to be one of the healthiest millets in the world, is a great combination of insoluble fibre, essential amino acids, minerals, and is a high energy-low glycemic index food. When paired with rich butter, this recipe provides you nutrients and increases your metabolism and body temperature.

  • Handwa

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Handwa is a Gujarati dish that is very versatile for the use of its ingredients.  Because it uses a batter of mixed dals, rice, some veggies and a generous tadka of mustard seeds, sesame seeds, hing (asafoetida) and curry leaves. This is steamed and served so makes for a perfectly warm and fluffy dinner. Thus, with the use of all these ingredients, we bag up on protein and carbs in a great ratio with the goodness of veggies and the tadka takes care of our digestion, vitamins and minerals.

  • Sarso ka saag

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Sarso ka saag is a famous north-Indian delicacy made from a combination of green leafy veggies. Traditionally it uses spinach, mustard and bathua leaves that leave a slight bitterness in your mouth. However, this combination is a great source of anti-oxidants that build up your immunity, is anti-inflammatory and keeps you protected from lung disorders. When paired with a makke ki roti, this turns into a delicious meal.

  • Undhiyu

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Image credit- Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana

If there is one dish that does justice to the winter produce around you, it has to be the lip-smacking Undhiyu. Traditionally slow cooked (or steamed in an earthen pot) with groundnut oil, undhiyu uses a variety of vegetables with spices that are cooked to perfection. Therefore, this gives the body all the essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and makes up for a nutritious bite. Also, it makes use of green garlic that is found in abundance during this season. These tiny garlic bulbs with dark green stalks have an amazing flavour. They are a natural antibiotic, so can fight digestive infections, boost immunity and are great for the heart. So, sprinkle generously on your chaats, tikkas and starters.

  • Gur ka paratha

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It has been a winter tradition in my house to finish our meal with a piece of gur roti. This natural sweetener, prepared fresh in the winters, is rich in vitamins & minerals. Therefore it boosts immunity, regulates body temperature, wards off cold and cough and prevents anaemia. And moreover, it is a delight to finish your meal with this!

  • Kaadha

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Every family has their own recipe for a ‘kaadha’. However, it is essentially a concoction of turmeric powder, ajwain, black peppercorns with a dash of honey. This concoction fights cold and cough It has anti-inflammatory properties which relieve sore throat and boosts immunity. Sip on this kaadha the next time you want to get rid of your cold instead of popping pills.

Try these wholesome and healthy recipes this winter to ensure a healthy body and happy taste buds!

 

bon happetee indian food calorie counter appAkansha is the Founder and Consultant at Beyond the Weighing Scale. With a wide range of expertise and skills, she is adept to speak about nutrition, health, lifestyle management and physical activity. She is a popular food columnist, a passionate foodie, a health enthusiast, an avid traveller and a happy yogi.