In winter the body uses energy to keep you warm. You may notice that you feel hungrier than you did in summer. Your body heats itself by burning calories and if you haven not been eating much, you will have little energy to burn for warmth. A ready to eat salad with a dressing with some cheese that you ate in summer may not be enough to curb your appetite now so your body requires extra fuel which will give you more balanced energy and keep you warmer for longer. As tempting as is to munch on comfort foods such as crisps, chips, and biscuits, the truth is they do not provide the warmth the body needs. Baked and roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash; yam and wholegrain bread and rice are better sources of carbohydrates, which are further coupled with vitamins and minerals essential for the body. Main meals should also be based around high protein foods such as red meat, white meat, fish, eggs, beans, pulses or tofu, which provides both calories and nutrients. Having digestive imbalances can hinder the amount of nutrients you absorb from what you eat or drink. Therefore it is important to address any imbalances in the gut first. Consuming the healthiest diet in the world is ineffective if your body cannot utilise the nutrients. Choosing foods that are easy to digest can help too and soups based around vegetables, lentils or meat are satisfying to the stomach.
Additional foods that will warm your body and spirit from inside out:
Oranges, Clementine’s, Satsuma’s, plums, peaches contain vitamin C and bioflavonoids that help strengthen capillaries while boosting your body’s blood flow.
Garlic, which if taken regularly can improve circulation as it functions similarly to an antioxidant. Garlic can prevent cardiovascular disease and balance cholesterol levels and protect the body against cold, flu’s and infections. Odourless garlic supplements and extracts can be purchased from health food stores.
Ginger is a warming spice and stimulates yang-energy, and energetically warms the lungs and stomach. According to Chinese tradition, dried ginger is hotter energetically than its fresh counterpart. It is also used to treat coughs and dissolves phlegm associated with colds or chronic bronchitis; asthma and cough due to a cold and coldness associated with shock, digestive disturbances arising from deficient spleen energy, including diarrhoea and vomiting.
Cloves, Cayenne pepper and cinnamon are all stimulating spices that can create heat inside the body and incorporated into dishes.
Tinned beans and pulses are versatile store cupboard staples that can be incorporate into meals to provide extra protein and energy. There are many types out there, so do not be afraid to explore…. you never know you may like a variety of bean or lentil and conjure up a new tasty recipe yourself.