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It's that time of the year when the air becomes a little nippy and a festive mood
sweeps across the country. It's winter, a time for warm gatherings, good food,
festivals and more importantly a time to infuse your body with health and energy
that will last you throughout the year.

As our ancestors have said and doctors and nutritionists have validated, winter is the best season to improve body's immunity. During winter, our appetite increases and our digestive system is working at its best, resulting in greater nourishment for the body. In winter our body needs nutritious and healthy diet that provides sufficient energy and strength. Improved digestion and burning of fat makes it possible for us to eat heavy food stuffs without too much risk of putting on weight.

It is for these reasons that during winter various preparations using sesame (til), jaggery, peanuts and such other high-energy food ingredients are made in different parts of India. So in Maharshtra it is tilgul, in Punjab it is rohri, in Madhya Pradesh it is gajak. According to Ayurveda, warm food items like ghee, til and jaggery help controlling the imbalance in the 'vata dosha' in the body that is on a rise during winter. Imbalance in the 'vata dosha' increases susceptibility to cold and arthritis. These food items also prevent your skin from drying and keep it supple and soft during winter.

Winter is also the time when we get the best vegetables and fruits of the year. Vegetables available during winter are crisp and juicy. Especially, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach are at their peak in winter and make delectable soups and salads. Vegetable dishes and curries with a dash of spices, soups, crunchy vegetable salads make food a healthy and tasty affair during this season. Use of spices is beneficial during this season as they drive away cold and cough, add heat to the food and keep the digestive fire going. Winter's seasonal fruits, amla and oranges, are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C helps build immunity and iron absorption. Many Indian families make amla murrabba (jam) or amla pickles during winter so that they can enjoy the goodness of amla during the rest of the year. Carrots available during winter are naturally very sweet and the best that you get during the year.


Food Tips

  • Increase intake of food items such as, peanuts, dry fruits, til, jaggery and ghee. They provide the essential nutrition and energy required by the body during winter.
  • Make the best use of fresh and tasty vegetables and fruits available during winter.
  • Tubers such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams etc. make good winter foods.
  • Make amla and carrot preparations such as pickles or jams that can be used throughout the year.
  • Avoid eating cold, frozen and junk food. Freshly cooked hot meals made using the ideal foods for winter is your gateway to health.

While we enjoy hearty meals during winter, let us not forget that exercise is equally important. Lack of physical activity and/or exercise can negate the health effects of the good food we intake during winter. Regular exercise will help you build stamina, fight away the winter blues and increase the feeling of inner well-being.

Exercise Tips

  • Exercise regularly for 30 minutes. Intensity of the exercise should depend on your medical condition and doctor and/or instructor's advice.
  • If you are exercising outdoor, wear adequate warm clothing. Depending on the temperature wear two to three layers of clothing rather wearing one heavy layer.
  • Avoid exercising very early in the morning or late at night when the temperature is minimum.
  • If it is not possible to do outdoor exercises, make sure you do yoga or stretching exercises indoors for flexibility.
  • Don't skip warm up and cooling down sessions.

Mustard oil massages and hot water dips also help you stay warm and fit in winter. Mustard oil massages relieves the pain and stiffness in joints, increases blood circulation, keeps the skin soft and energizes the body. Hot water dips (for hands and feet) promote blood circulation and cure frost bites/chilblains.

In a tropical climate country such as India, winter offers the only chance to have hot, hearty and heavy meals and still be healthy. Combine that with exercise and other winter care regimens such as massage and you will not only stay warm and fit during winter but will have built your reservoir of immunity and energy that will keep you going throughout the year.

Some Winter Recipes



Tilgul is a sweet made in Maharashtra during Makarsankranti.


  • 1/2 kg white sesame seeds
  • 1/4 kg jaggery
  • 1/4 cup dry grated coconut
  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • Cardamoms


  • Roast sesame seeds over medium heat. When they turn slight golden, remove. Roast grated coconut till light brown. Roast peanuts.
  • Remove the skins of peanuts and crush them into small pieces.
  • In a heavy-bottomed, nonstick pan, heat jaggery over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon ghee into it. After some time, when it starts bubbling and changes to light red, pour sesame seeds, coconut, peanuts and cardamom powder immediately and mix well. The mixture will become little sticky and thick.
  • Rub some ghee to the palm of your hands. When the mixture is still hot, take some in your palm. Roll into small balls. If the mixture gets cold, heat again to make the rolling easier. Make all the tilguls and let them cool. Once tilguls cool they become hard and you can store them in an airtight container.


Lentil and Vegetable Soup


  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 3-4 medium tomatoes
  • 5-6 medium carrots
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup moong dal
  • pinch of turmeric
  • pinch of cumin seed powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground pepper
  • Ground garlic


  • Wash all vegetables and cut them in big pieces.
  • Either pressure cook the vegetables and moong dal with turmeric, cumin seed powder or cook them slowly in a pot.v
  • Puree it and add salt and fresh ground pepper and some grounded garlic.
  • Add water according to consistency required.
  • Simmer for a minute and then serve.

Health Initiative from KS Oils