Warm Up Your Winter with these Spices!

Winter is beautiful. You have bright flowers lighting up the dull weather, pretty girls with their fancy scarves & sweaters adding much needed colour to the fog and mist, and yummy fried food accompanied with tea adding centimetres to the waistline. Hah. And, right in the middle of all this fun and beauty...you have a runny nose, a sore throat and a hoarse voice making you miserable.

Most people do not enjoy the wonders of this season only and only cause they don’t have the robust immune system to fight the cold that accompanies this crispy weather. But, if you just add a few ingredients to your regular diet, you may be able to enjoy the glories of the misty season a bit more.

We don’t say you won’t get a cold at all, but it’ll be easier to recover from with the help of these wonder herbs and spices.

Cinnamon – This woody spice, is as warm as it looks. Cinnamon is known to help control diseases like diabetes and cholesterol. It also helps fight cold and cough. It can be consumed in a variety of ways like adding a little to your milk, tea or coffee, or in your curries and rice. One can even consume it in powder form with a spoonful of honey.

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Ginger – Spicy and hot, ginger helps aid digestion and fight cold. Though ginger is generally consumed year-round by many people, it becomes precious in winter. Who can deny the comfort of aadrak wali chai? It can be added to fresh fruit/vegetable juice, tea, milk, and vegetables. Also like cinnamon, it can be consumed with a spoonful of honey for quick relief from cold and cough.

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Garlic - A necessary winter spice. Garlic is known to have antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antioxidant properties. All this ‘anti’ makes it very ‘prohealth’. It is known to provide relief from cough, cold, arthritis pain, and even helps improve heart health (You’ll need it to keep your heart safe; remember, all the winter beauty?) It adds flavour to any dish – curries, vegetables or soups. But for best results, it should be consumed raw, preferably early morning and on an empty stomach.

Note: Before having it in huge doses, do consult your doctor.

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Mint - Fresh and green, mint is easily available in winter. Mint tea is known to help combat stomach aches, clear clogged noses and bring relief to a sore throat. One can even chew on one-two fresh leaves or add it to fresh fruit juice, salads and soups.

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Saffron - Its rich aroma and colouring properties have made saffron a necessary spice for many dishes – ladoos, kheer, a variety of curries, and masala milk. Apart from aiding in treating ailments like depression, stomach ache, and blood circulation, it also helps in fighting asthma and cold. Try having it in your milk at night for a warm and cosy sleep.

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Basil (Tulsi) - Easily found in most Indian homes, this herb is consumed through out the year. But in winter it gains extra importance for its cold, flu fighting properties. Just pop a few leaves in your mouth in the morning or add them to your tea, milk, salads and soups to benefit from the many benefits of this wonder herb.

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Black Pepper & Cloves - Black is beautiful. And, nothing proves this saying more than these two spicy spices. These two kitchen essentials can up the ‘hotness’ quotient of anything that they’re added to. Sprinkle a little on your salads, add them to your soups, or in your tea and milk for relief from cold and cough. Both these spices are known to aid in clearing congestion and helping digestion.

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If winter is really getting to you, combine a few of these spices to fight off the winter blues. For example – you can add black pepper, cloves, ginger, basil, mint, and cinnamon to your morning tea or you can combine all these with a strand or two of saffron and have it at night in the form of the famous ‘ haldi ka dudh’. Garlic, however, must be consumed alone and early in the morning.

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