24 Foods that will keep your Body Warm this Winter
The winter has finally started announcing its arrival, though more in the form of a guest appearance at night. As different parts of the country gear up for frosty nights, we find ourselves digging at the bottom of our linen shelves, pulling out our duvets and woolens.
And that’s not all. The peculiarity of this season is also marked with changes in our metabolic rate. Having a mild exposure to the cold actually makes the body burn calories to maintain its temperature, thereby increasing the metabolic rate and triggering appetite. On the other hand, a review in the Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association reveals that a 1 degree Celsius drop in body temperature decreases metabolism and people to expend about 100 to 130 fewer calories each day.
Furthermore, the production of the hormone Melatonin increases in winter, and is believed to be the reason behind increased appetite. Making us easily succumb to the temptation of digging into high-calorie foods that make us feel cozy and warm; with not all of these being high on nutritional value. Then there are the festivals that take revelry and indulgence to an all-time high during the year.
As the mercury drops, the immune system also gets suppressed, making the body vulnerable to catching common cold, influenza and other infections affecting ones healthy living. Traditionally, some people have been preparing special sweets for consumption in the winter months, which help keep the body warm and shield the immune system. Some Gujarati sweets like gundar pak are made from a few simple ingredients including edible gum, loads of clarified butter (ghee), ginger powder and dry fruits. Other recipes can be as intricate and time consuming to make as the salam pak – again made by Gujaratis. Or the vasanu – a pungent desert concoction prepared by some Parsis in winter, which is supposedly made with over 30 ingredients, and helps boost immunity and beat the cold.
While these sweets are fattening, the answer to avoiding high calorie foods while guarding one’s immunity lies in adopting a healthy living, consuming a healthy diet that is delightful to the taste buds, yet rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. What’s good for the body is also good for the mind. Which means that such a balanced diet also helps in curbing the craving for sinful food, making one less susceptible to putting on excess weight. And thankfully, nature offers a treasure trove of foods that have a warming or cooling effect in the body. Let’s see which foods are recommended that helps in a healthy living during winters.
Root vegetables are believed to have warming properties, providing the calories needed to burn and keep the body warm. They also have antioxidants and are believed to prevent cancer.
- Carrots: Have a warming effect. These have antioxidant properties, are rich in fibre, beta-carotene and vitamin A, B, C, E, and K.
- Potatoes: Have a neutral effect (neither warming nor cooling). Provide the required calories and energy to stay warm
- Onions: Have a warming effect. These are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and are believed in preventing certain cancers.
- Garlic: Has a warming effect. Helps in regulating blood pressure and improves blood circulation, keeping the body warm and active. It is also an excellent immunity builder.
- Radish (Mooli): Cooling effect. Rich in many minerals and vitamins, and a good source of roughage. They are believed to ease constipation and respiratory disorders. They help fight infections and allergies.
- Yams (Ratalu): Generally considered as a neutral food (neither warming nor cooling). Yams provide the required calories and energy to stay warm. Besides, they contain vitamins and antioxidants, and provide roughage.
- Sweet potatoes (Shakarkand): Have a warming effect. These are rich in fibre, vitamins C & D, and iron while being low in fat content. They produce warmth and boost immunity.
- Beetroot: Has a neutral effect (neither warming nor cooling). It reduces cholesterol, and has anti-ageing and antioxidant properties. It is a good source of potassium.
Green leafy vegetables
These are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, both antioxidants responsible for boosting immunity and preventing infections.
- Fenugreek leaves (Methi): Have a warming effect. It is an excellent source of vitamins, potassium, protein, iron and folic acid and helps the body to produce red blood cells.
- Spinach (Palak): Have a cooling effect. This is rich in vitamin C which helps fortify the immune system. It is also a good source of iron, other minerals and folic acid.
- Mustard leaves (Sarson ki pattiyaan): Have a warming effect. These are very low in calories, have antioxidant properties, and are rich in vitamin A and K, besides being a rich source of iron.
- Amaranth (chaulai): Has a cooling effect. This grain contains vitamins and iron, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous.
- Celery (Ajmoda): Has a cooling effect. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in vitamin C and flavonoids.
- Radish leaves (Mooli ke patte): Have a neutral effect (neither warming nor cooling). Radish leaves are rich in vitamin C, proteins and calcium. They help in the treatment of jaundice, skin and kidney disorders, and help fight cancer.
Spices & Condiments
These are believed to have warming properties and stimulate the metabolic rate.
- Mustard (Sarson): Has a warming effect. It is rich in antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. It is used to treat asthma, gastrointestinal cancers, muscle and arthritic pain, and also helps to lose weight.
- Asafoetida (Hing): Has a warming effect. It is used to treat influenza, bronchitis , whooping cough and asthma.
- Black pepper (kali mirch): Has a warming effect. This has antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and anti-flatulent properties. It is rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, zinc and iron. It is used to treat cough, cold, influenza, and chest congestion, and helps boost the metabolic rate.
- Fenugreek seeds (Methi ke beej): Have a warming effect. These are rich in vitamins and minerals and provide fiber. They lower blood cholesterol levels and help in preventing cancer of the colon. They help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
- Oregano seeds (Ajwain): Have a warming effect. These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, supporting the immune system and useful in treating respiratory infections. They have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Dill seeds (dill beej): Have a warming effect. Dill seeds help in digestion and improve immunity. They have antibacterial properties. They also help treat arthritis, diabetes, dysentery and flatulence.
Fruits & vegetables
- Papaya: It is generally believed to have a neutral effect (neither warming nor cooling) though traditionally people may feel it has a warming effect. It has anti-inflammatory properties and enzymes that aid digestion. It is used to control diabetes, heart diseases, asthma and ageing.
- Pineapple: It is generally believed to have a neutral effect (neither warming nor cooling) though traditionally people may feel it has a cooling effect. It is rich in vitamins and useful in treating sinusitis, arthritis, stomach and intestinal disorders.
- Amla: Has a cooling effect. It is one of the best known natural sources of vitamin C, and is considered to have rejuvenating properties. It is an antioxidant, promotes healthy hair and skin, enhances immunity and helps digestion. It counters cholesterol, cancer, and diabetes.
- Dates: Has a warming effect. Dates are energy boosters and are rich in vitamins and minerals like iron. They provide roughage and relief from constipation, and are used to treat intestinal disorders, heart ailments, allergies and cancer. They are also useful in strengthening bones and reducing high blood pressure.