New Delhi: This winters bid adieu to the annoying cold, cough and fever by strengthening your immunity level. The immunity level of the body tends to lower down during season change. The nutritionists suggest that during this time one should include vitamin A, C and E, dark coloured fruits and vegetables in the diet as it helps us improve the immunity level and keep cold and cough at bay.

Include fruits and vegetables in diet

Sweaters, over coats and shawls will be of little help in winters if your body is not strong from inside. Head dietician Dr Jyoti Arora said, "Dark coloured fruits and vegetables like violet, dark red, yellow, green are good as they contain anti-oxidants. Kiwi, papaya, strawberry are good in vitamin A and C. Also one may have guava and honey which gives resistance against cough and cold. Also spinach is very healthy and rich in anti-oxidants which are further good for immunity."

Amla is rich in vitamin C and helps fight cough and cold. Dr Jyoti Arora says, "Nimbu-pani hurts the throat so one can have lemon in luke-warm water with some sugar in it. Also with the changing season one feels low and especially in winters when the intake of water and fruits get reduced. Including lots of soups, green tea, carrots, fish, almonds, walnuts and flax seeds will help in keeping the body strong in winters."

Taking two whole serving of fruits in a day apart from normal meals is important suggests Prof in nutrition Neeraj Dhingra from IHM, PUSA. She shares, "One must take fruits twice a day and must not combine them with the main meals. They give nutrition to our body and help build resistance. One may have one serving of mixed fruit before breakfast that contains fruits like papaya, pomegranate, kiwi and Sapodilla (chikoo). The second serving could be in the evening before dinner. Also one must have a whole fruit and not just have juice. By doing this we lose 50 to 60 percent of the nutritional value of the fruits as there is no pith and pulp left in them."

It is good to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables in abundance as they have all the vitamins and minerals. The other fruits are from cold storage and have lost their nutritional value.

Fruits to cure disease

One must introduce lot of colours in their diet as darker the colour the better it is for health. Fruits help in fighting diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and helps in digestion of the food and lower the cholesterol level in the blood.

Dr Neeraj Dhingra says, "Apple has good soluble fiber and protects against diabetes, blood pressure and heart diseases. Therefore it is rightly said that 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away'. Also one must wash the fruit and then cut it. It is not correct to wash the cut fruit as in that case 50 per cent of the vitamins are leached away."

Spinach and other green leafy vegetables are good for health but must be washed thoroughly in clean water or could be steamed slightly as they have disease causing bacteria.

Fruits and vegetables that have vitamin A, C and E

Vitamin A is found in dark green leafy vegetables, orange, bell peppers and yellow coloured food. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits like amla, orange, guava, lemon etc and vitamin E is found in green leafy vegetables and vitamin E oil.

Include lots of winter fruits and vegetables in your diet to build immunity against cough and cold.

(Courtesy: City Plus)