8 foods to keep you healthy and warm this winter

During winters, it is not just about keeping warm with extra clothing, but also keeping your body warm internally. There are certain foods, spices and drinks that you can include in your diet, which can help generate heat in your body naturally. When the temperature drops, the body’s metabolism slows down and the body attempts to conserve energy to keep warm. If you don’t cope too well in winter, have low immunity or simply feel sleepy and lethargic in cooler temperatures, these foods can help give you a much needed boost along with some essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.

Here are 8 foods that keep you warm and can also increase your energy levels to get you through winters.

1. Chilli

They may sting and burn, but chili peppers can fire up your metabolism and ease sinus problems. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the spicy flavour is said to correspond to Lung energy, and can expel wind and cold from the body due to its warming effects. This spice works well with other warming spices like paprika, cinnamon and cumin, but nearly any spice can pair with it. Add some chilli peppers anytime you want to add heat to things like soups, dressings, marinades, seasoning blends and rice dishes.

Try out some chilli condiments and snack recipes here:

2. Dried Fruits & Nuts

Dry fruits and nuts like almonds and walnuts provide much-needed nutrients, vitamins and warmth in the chilly winter season. Figs and dates are great examples of dried fruits, which are rich in calcium and iron and are both warming. Almonds are known as the ‘king of dry fruits’ as they’re full of essential fatty acids, fibre, and protein. Dry fruits also have many skin benefits and thus form a key ingredient in beauty products. Just eat them raw or include them in your cooking.

3. Ghee

The Ayurvedic wonder ghee is a winter essential that can be used to keep warm naturally. Ghee is rich in unsaturated fat, which is responsible for keeping the body warm and also supplying it with energy, dispelling the sluggishness that is brought on by winters. Ghee aides in digestion, prevents constipation, increases immunity and protects the body against cold and flu. You can add a few drops of ghee in your dal or you could cook your food in ghee- in moderation of course.

4. Ginger

Besides being incredibly warming on a cold night, ginger is a powerhouse spice packed with health-promoting qualities. Ginger can treat morning sickness, nausea, muscle soreness, lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation and the pain associated with menstrual cramps, just to name a few. Ginger pairs well with a variety of spices and lends itself well to both savoury and sweet recipes. Consider having it as a tea to strengthen your immunity or adding a few slices to your dishes as they cook.

5. Haleem

Nothing spells winter comfort like Haleem. It is a popular soup made from pounded wheat, mutton or beef or chicken and lentils, which is then slow-cooked until it reaches a soup-like consistency. Meat is a rich source of protein while lentils and grains are a rich source of fibres and proteins thus making it healthy for our body. This recipe will create the warmness in the body by releasing heat and will surely delight the people having it.

Try out a Chicken Haleem recipe here:

6. Honey

Honey is warm in nature and its regular intake helps in keeping the body warm, too. Honey is packed with many essential vitamins and antioxidants. It is enriched with vitamin C, D, E, K and B complex and beta-carotene. Often dubbed as a natural antibiotic, the properties of honey can work wonders to soothe cold and cough. So sip on some honey in hot water or have a spoon of honey daily, first thing in the morning to keep yourself warm.

7. Hot Chocolate

Few beverages come to mind when the weather gets colder and hot chocolate is definitely one of them. Chocolate contains antioxidants, which are under investigation for their ability to prevent cardiovascular disease, and help the body fight against free radicals that can damage cells. Plus since the beverage is already hot it truly warms you up on a cold day. Chocolate in general contains saturated fat and sugar, so remember that moderation is the key- the less processed the cocoa is, the more nutrients it contains.

A tray of hot brownies wouldn’t be too bad either, try the recipe here:

8. Oatmeal

Looking for something to brighten a cold morning? Oatmeal is the perfect food to eat in winter. Make a bowl of oatmeal and enjoy its taste, while it will give you a bunch of health benefits. Oatmeal contains protein and fibre that fights against your bad cholesterol thereby making you fit. Oatmeal is also high in zinc, an important mineral needed for proper immune function. One can also add fruity toppings to it, to add some flavour and taste with also a nutritional factor.

Try this Apple and Oat Smoothie for a change: