Winter Foods To Keep You Warm

Do your food choices and requirements really change with the seasons or is it all psychological?

A common practice is to eat cool foods when you’re hot and to eat warm foods when you’re cold.  But it’s more than just the temperature of the foods that matters – think about the type of food and how it affects your metabolic rate.

What keeps you really toasty and warm is not necessarily 3 jumpers and the heating set to 30 degrees.  What works better is having an effective metabolism.  A well functioning metabolism is also needed for a healthy well functioning immune system that also keeps those winter viruses at bay.

If you think of your metabolism as an internal fire you may get the picture – when the fire is roaring your body will be warm, when the fire is nothing more than a few glowing embers you will feel cooler.  So then the question becomes what foods keep our internal fire roaring and what foods douse the flames?

Reduce Excess Fluids

Excess fluid in your body can lower your metabolism just as surely as water is used to put out a fire.

In winter raw fruits and vegetables, which contain a lot of water, might make you feel really cold.  Hot drinks during winter is another favourite, but it too may actually cool you down if you drink too much.

Nature developed a great way off signaling when your body needs fluid – thirst.  Use thirst as an indicator of when you need to drink rather than trying to drink a magical amount of fluid that may not be appropriate for your individual needs. 

Reduce Excessive Exercise

Long endurance based exercise sessions may heat you up in the short term but when your body cools down you might feel colder than ever because your metabolic rate may have slowed in order for your body to cope with the increased demands you have made upon it.

If you feel super cold a few hours after prolonged exercise perhaps a better choice for winter exercise is to work with heavy weights/low reps rather than cardio.  Other choices include to rug up and take the dog for a walk, play in the park with the kids or try some activities for fun rather than competition.  The idea is to keep the body moving without it having a negative metabolic reaction.

Increase Starchy Foods

Rather than cold watery salads a better winter vegetable choice are starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potato, carrot, beetroot and parsnips – these root vegetables really keep the internal fires stoked up.

Whole grains, particularly starchy ones, are also good for metabolic rate.  Risottos, rice and curries, pilafs, rice puddings, porridge – these are all great winter choices and sound so much more appealing than cold cereal, sandwiches or salad.

Soups are a favourite during winter but instead of watery broths add plenty of root vegetables or grains such as barley.  You could also try poaching fruits such as apples or pears and adding warming spices like cinnamon and cloves and a little crumble mix so they are not too ‘wet’.

Consume Adequate Calories

Make sure you eat enough calories.  Calorie restriction is a sure fire way of lowering your metabolism.   Your body interprets calorie restriction as possible starvation and its response is then to reduce the metabolic rate in order to last longer on less food.  A reduced metabolic will leave you feeling cold, hungry and more susceptible to coughs, colds and flu.