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Foods to keep you warm in winter

Last updated on: December 20, 2010 14:04 IST

Foods to keep you warm in winter

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It's very important to keep yourself warm in winter and it's really easy to do so. Just add these foods to your daily diet and you'll be able to enjoy the season to the fullest.

Winter is upon us and we're all enjoying the nip in the air. It's the best season to enjoy an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables. This is the time of the year when market places are overflowing with fresh, appealing foods and because of the lower temperatures, appetites increase.

The shorter days and cool weather enhance the desire for comfort foods and TV-watching. If you want to stick to comfort foods this winter, you may. But how about eating foods that actually keep you warm?

Food is the foundation of the body and it has the most amazing effects on our system. The concept of foods which have an intrinsic capacity to warm the body is an ancient one and is found in Ayurveda, Unani and Chinese medicine therapy. Now even modern science has started studying and researching a very important aspect of nutrition called the 'post-gigestive effect of foods'.

Simply put, it means that foodstuffs have certain qualities outside the body and once they are eaten and digested, they affect individuals in a certain pattern, which is determined by the person's constitution and genetics.


Image: Enjoy the season to the fullest with the right foods
Photographs: Courtesy Lifemojo.com
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'Certain people have a warm constitution, others have a cold one'

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Certain people have a warm constitution, others have a cold one. In winter, when the outside temperature is dropping, individuals with a cold constitution need specific foods which have an intrinsic ability to warm the body by stimulating certain neuro-transmitters in the body.

Conversely, consumption of such foods in excess by individuals who already have a warm constitution can lead to blisters in the mouth and loose motions (according to Ayurveda, vata people have a cold constitution and pitta people have a warm constitution).

Here's a list of foods for you to keep warm this winter:

  • Til (sesame seeds): Both black and white til have been known to provide heat to the body after digestion. That is exactly why til gajjak, rewari and til laddus are standard winter groceries.
  • Garlic: It is not only effective as a cholesterol-lowering agent, but also as a warming food. Winter is also a bad time for people with bronchitis and asthma. A wonderful remedy for them is to substitute a heavy dinner with a black channa soup, with lots of vegetables and curative garlic for the zing!
  • Ginger: You can have it in chutney or add it to soups or cooked vegetables.
  • Cinnamon: Pulaos and biryanis taste awesome when you add cinnamon sticks to them.

Image: When it's cold, those with a cold constitution need foods like garlic to warm up
Photographs: Matej Bat'ha/Wikimedia Commons
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'Have onion as a hot French onion soup or add it to curries'

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  • Onion: Have it as a hot French onion soup or add it to curries.
  • Cumin seeds: Add to flavour green veggies or simply garnish rotis with it.
  • Pepper: It is excellent for asthmatics; you can simply sprinkle some on your breakfast omelette.
  • Clove: A great mouth freshener and it is also known for its antiseptic abilities.
  • Fennel: Really good for the stomach and can be used as a digestive after meals.
  • Fenugreek: Have one teaspoon of pre-soaked methi seeds early morning; it's really good for diabetes.
  • Almonds: Have 10 soaked almonds in the morning.

Image: French onion soup
Photographs: Anton Obolensky/Wikimedia Commons
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Honey not only warms you; a great complexion is an added bonus

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  • Pumpkin seeds: Have them with sauteed channa or murmura with a dash of oil. Also, tarbooz seeds go well with tea.
  • Millet: Bajra, jowar rotis with green saag -- simply delicious! (makki ki roti with sarson ka saag was invented for a reason). However, people with gas and flatulent tendencies should go easy on it.
  • Peanuts: We all love them! But because they can be very gaseous, avoid over-consumption.
  • Honey: You should switch to this natural sweetener; a great complexion is an added bonus.
  • Saffron: Add it to your milk or pulaos. The rich taste will get you hooked!
  • Fruit and vegetables: Winter is the time when warming foods are in abundance. Fruit chaat of oranges, plums and peaches is most welcome. Also, you can make a salad of carrots, oranges, beetroot or just make a vegetable punch!

Image: Honey
Photographs: Waugsberg/Wikimedia Commons
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Foods to avoid

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Maida, white bread sandwiches, processed chips, aerated drinks, curd, raita, cold coffee, cucumber, alcohol, rice at night, too much butter and ghee and cold water after meals are all to be avoided.

Finally, avoid overeating at night as it overloads your metabolism and diminishes the digestive fire. There are several recipes online, which can be printed out and prepared in winter months. Perhaps you have your own family recipes too, handed down from generation to generation. Treat the whole family to these exquisite meals that are not only healthy but are guaranteed to make you feel warm all over.


Image: White bread sandwiches should be avoided in winter
Photographs: Jesus Gorriti/Flickr: Sandwiches de Miga
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LifeMojo is a wellness company, helping people to live a healthier life. LifeMojo provides online and on phone nutrition consultation services to help you achieve your weight loss and fitness goals.