When the temperature drops below zero, it’s natural to try every trick in the book to keep warm – bundling up in several layers of clothing, turning up the heat or throwing on a heavy wool blanket. There is another strategy for keeping warm this winter, and it’s gorging on food and drink that actually makes your body temperature rise.
Here are six such consumables to help keep you warm and toasty over winter.
It may seem like an obvious choice, but many people assume coffee warms up the body because it’s served hot. What most people don’t know is that coffee’s temperature has little to do with it. In fact, we recommend that you drink your coffee closer to room temperature. It’s not the temperature in it that ups your body temperature, but the caffeine.
The caffeine in coffee stimulates your metabolism, makes your body “exert” itself in burning more calories, hence the resulting increase in body temperature. If possible, down a couple of your favorite cups o’ java without cream or sugar, as these additives will only shorten the duration of the “burn” and you’ll have a sugar crash.
Most any kind of pepper that’s spicy enough to make you break into a sweat will cause your body temperature to spike. That’s due to a natural chemical present in peppers called capsaicin. To reap the body-warming benefits of peppers, you can eat them raw (if you can handle it), toss them into a soup, stew or any other dish that benefit from a spicy tang.
Just be sure to choose a pepper that isn’t so spicy that it overwhelms your taste buds, gives you a nasty case of heartburn or goes against your doctor’s orders.
Ginger raises your body temperature by getting your blood flowing, so your extremities warm up. You can throw this spice into a soup or other dish or take a couple of roots and boil them and steep into a tea.
For a more palatable ginger tea, add honey, a slice of lemon and some cinnamon.
Although most refined rice varieties and flours turn into simple sugars and give you a sugar crash quickly, this isn’t true of brown rice. High in fiber and, as a complex carbohydrate, brown rice takes more time and requires more effort for your body to digest, and that’s what causes a spike in body temperature. You’ll find that brown rice is a lot more filling than other refined varieties, so there’s little risk of gaining any unwanted weight.
5. Coconut Oil
Like avocados and olive oil, coconut oil is packed with healthy fats that turn into fuel instead of fat when ingested. Apart from its energy-giving and metabolism-stoking benefits, cooking with coconut oil can kill viruses and stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Peanuts are actually more of a bean than a nut, and their high vitamin B3 content helps promote good blood circulation while boosting your metabolism. Along with healthy fats and loads of protein, peanuts make for a great snack any time of the year, but are especially great at helping you beat the cold during winter. Peanuts are versatile in that you can eat them as is or chop them up and add them to thicken soup, stew, pasta or other dishes. Just make sure no one you’re serving is allergic to peanuts.
X The Alcohol myth
When Jack Frost starts nipping at your nose, reaching for a bottle of whisky, vodka or other alcoholic beverage is an impulse that’s hard to resist. The quick-fix rush of heat when you take a swig or shot actually does more harm than good. Not only does alcohol dehydrate your body, it lowers your core temperature by forcing more blood to travel to your extremities. The warming effect is both temporary and illusory, since it makes you more vulnerable to hypothermia.
The mere act of eating actually causes your body to increase its core temperature, as this is part of the digestion process. The consumables listed above are just a few examples of what you can take and enjoy to counteract the winter chill. Remember to fill your pantry with items like these and consume them in moderation, and minimize foods high in sugar.