So when I say "warming foods" what comes to mind? I'm going to say right away that it does not have anything to do with the temperature of your food.
According to Ayurveda, food is classified as warming or cooling as per the internal nature of the food product and its effect on our digestive system. Which in turn is directly affected by the seasons of the year. Now that I live in a place with actual seasons, I am paying more attention to the foods I eat in order to help me thrive as the seasons change. In the summers our metabolism is higher and so the body requires more hydration as well as light and easy food. In the winters, though the metabolism works harder to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Hence our body needs more energy from richer and more nourishing foods.
Here are the top 5 warming foods that can be easily incorporated into your diet to help keep you warm as the temperature drops:
For the longest time I lived in fear of eating ghee. To me, there was nothing healthy about this basically "Indian butter". But as you may now know, ghee is considered as a 'healthy fat', one that we could all benefit from. It is rich in Vitamins A and E. I like to think of ghee as the lubrication needed for the smooth functioning of different parts of our body.
Not really feeling the urge to consume ghee? Add some ghee to your favorite massage oil or body oil and give yourself a massage as it can help keep the muscular aches and stiffness in the cold weather away.
I think it's safe to say that turmeric is a superfood. Turmeric contains Curcumin that increases the blood circulation in our body. It naturally raises the temperature of our body and is highly recommended in a combination with hot milk. Yes yes, golden milk lattes are not just for the gram, it is an ancient health tonic.
I'm going to share a recipe I just found for an immunity boost tonic that is so easy to make and have whenever you start to feel the cold weather woes. Immunity boost recipe.
Carrots, Radishes, Yams, Turnips, Beetroots and so on make for the perfect winter food. These vegetables that are in season during the colder months are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C and minerals like potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and beta-carotene; to name a few.
All root vegetables are an excellent source of dietary fiber and therefore ensure smooth digestion in the colder months. I myself have noticed my digestion gets heavily effected in the colder months so anything that can naturally help with it, I'll take it.
Another recent discovery for me is jaggery. Again, I always thought it was "bad" for you because of the fact that it is a form of sweetener. Jaggery is the perfect, healthy and natural replacement for sugar in our daily diet. More importantly, as recommended by Ayurveda, it has a very positive effect on our digestive system.
It is also a rich source of iron and vitamin C and is highly recommended as a remedy for congestion and respiratory disorders. A cup of Jaggery tea helps alleviate a sore throat and eases irritation as well. It can be also consumed after meals or with other warming foods such as Ghee.
If you know me you know I love a little (a lot) spice on a daily basis. Capsaicin, a chemical found in peppers, is known to induce thermogenesis which is the process of converting energy into heat by the body.
Other than these foods, there are several other "warming foods" spices like pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger and many nuts and dried fruits like dates, figs, apricots, and raisins have profoundly warming properties.