Foods to Keep You Warm

Jessica Harlan by Jessica Harlan | December 23rd, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

At this very moment, I am sitting in my mother’s living room in Santa Fe, looking out the window as fat flakes of snow are gently falling. Since I live in Atlanta, this is even more a treat for me: a White Christmas might be the norm for most of the country this year, but it’s looking like Atlanta is in store for a Wet Christmas instead.

So, needless to say, the falling snow is exciting for me and my family, except for one thing: we’re freezing!

Luckily, there are better ways to get warm than turning up the thermostat. One of them is eating meals that naturally warm you up. If you find yourself chilled to the bone, try these eating tips to warm you up from the inside out.

Eat What’s in Season

There’s a reason that root vegetables are at their peak as the weather turns cooler: Chinese medicine says that foods grown under the soil are warming foods. Also try cooked winter squashes, braised hearty greens and other winter produce.

Eat Foods that Take Longer to Grow

There’s a belief that foods that have a longer growing period are more warming than those that are harvested earlier. This is part of the reason why the aforementioned squash and root vegetables are good to eat during cold weather. Animal proteins, including fish, chicken, beef and pork, are nourishing and warming during cold weather, while vegetarians can enjoy onions, garlic, nuts and eggs.

Spice It Up

Season your foods with naturally warming spices, such as chile powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger (fresh or ground) and curry powder. These warming spices can boost your circulation and many can also boost your immune system. Add chile powder to stews, sprinkle cinnamon or nutmeg over oatmeal or baked goods, or head to your favorite Indian or Thai restaurant for curry or spicy noodle dishes (or make them yourself).

Enjoy Liquid-Based Foods

Dehydration is something we worry more about in the summer than in the winter, but you can easily get dehydrated in cold weather, too. That’s why eating soups and stews, as well as drinking hot beverages such as tea or hot cider, is especially good for you. Plus, the warmth of these foods and drinks will automatically boost your internal temperature.

Consume Whole Grains

Cooked oatmeal cereal in the morning, barley stew, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta or quinoa at lunch or dinner–these are all great whole grain choices for winter meals. These warm complex carbohydrates can help fuel your body for the cold, especially if you plan on doing some sort of outdoor activity, whether it’s skiing or shoveling the driveway.

Now that winter is in full swing, these foods will help you stay warm and toasty during the long months ahead.

What foods do you love to eat to warm you up?


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