Nutrition

Fall in love with foods that will keep you warm this winter

Emma Bathie Nov 27, 2019

Ready to cozy up with foods that help keep you warm and vitalised this winter? If so, stick around. I'll show you how, instead of piling on the usual pounds that come from indulging in a few too many of the regular rich and creamy comfort-foods.

Read on for the low-down on the best warming foods to eat this winter. Ingredients and meals that are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and immune-boosting powers to keep you feeling warm, satiated, and energised.

WHAT'S THERMOGENESIS, AND HOW DOES IT WORK TO KEEP ME WARM?

Thermogenesis is the ability our body has to produce heat, through the food we eat.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) teaches us that different foods have warming or cooling properties. And we can use this knowledge to our advantage to help ourselves stay warm and healthy throughout the winter months.

Here's how that works according to TCM:

Healthy products for Immunity boosting and cold remedies. Winter vitamins food

THE PHYSIOLOGY OF WARMING AND COOLING FOODS

When cooling foods are eaten, the energy and fluids of the body are directed inward and lower (yin), so that the exterior and upper portions of the body cool first.

Conversely, warming foods push the deep energy and blood up and out to the surface of the body (yang).

Interesting is that the hottest foods, such as cayenne peppers, can cause an extreme reaction – we feel temporarily warmer, but then cooler as the heat radiates out of the body.

EXAMPLES OF FOODS THAT PRODUCE A NICE SLOW-BURN, ENDURING TYPE OF WARMTH ARE:

Ginger
Oats
Parsnips
Butter
Anchovies

HOW FOOD GROWS AND THE WAY WE EAT IT ALSO AFFECTS HOW WARMING IT IS

Plants that take longer to grow (such as carrots, parsnips, and cabbage) are more warming than those which grow quickly (such as lettuce, zucchini, radish, and cucumber).

Cooked food is more warming for the body, than raw food. Raw food is cooling. As is any food eaten cold, straight from the refrigerator. Instead, allow it to come to room temperature. And avoid microwave cooking.

Cooking methods that involve more cooking time, higher temperatures, and/or pressure, impart more warming qualities to food.

Chewing food more thoroughly creates warmth.Chewing not only breaks food down but, in the case of carbohydrates, the action of saliva initiates the release of digestive enzymes, helping greater assimilation, and warmth.

I'm always fascinated by what TCM teaches us. So taking these points into account, here are my top foods to keep you warm this winter:

Autumn soups. Set of various seasonal vegetable cream soups and organic ingredients on white background, top view. Homemade colourful soups.

1) Enjoy a bowl of warm porridge

Porridge made with oats, quinoa, or brown rice is the perfect way to start your day. These grains are full of fibre, which mean they're slow to digest, leading to an uptick in warmth.

Bonus points for adding: warming sunflower or sesame seeds, walnuts, or pine nuts, together with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

2) Ginger tea

Ginger tea helps your body warm from the inside out. So next time you're at the supermarket, grab some fresh ginger root, slice it, and allow it to steep in boiling water.

3) Fresh turmeric root tea

Take your ginger tea to another warming level by simmering it together with slices of fresh turmeric root. Or try boiling slices of fresh turmeric, together with a glass of milk for the perfect warming and beautifully golden-coloured winter's day drink.

4) Savour soups, stews, and slow-roasted foods

One of the quickest ways to warm yourself from the inside out is with a bowl of slow-cooked soup or stew.

Add in some chunks or pureed slow-roasted root veggies to a base of beans, lentils, or red meat, and you have yourself a grounding, warming winner.

Bonus points for adding: some cloves of roasted garlic!

Now is a great time to break out the slow-cooker and add a handful of ingredients in the morning that will be a deliciously warming meal by the time you walk in the door tonight. Root vegetables are those that grow under the soil, such as carrots, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes.

Warm drink beverage infusion in glass for cold flu winter fall days. Cup of ginger tea with mint, lemon and honey on a wooden table

5) Drink water, water, and more water

Water is the one thing that we need to be drinking ALL the time. If you're like me, you probably thought that winter is the one time we don't have to be focused on drinking those 8 glasses of water a day.

Winter may be the time of year you feel less thirsty, so ensure you're always carrying a water bottle and sipping on liquids.

Remember, what you eat and drink affects your body. So when the temperature drops outside and Jack Frost moves in, nourish yourself with food and meals that help raise your body temp and keep you warm.