The colder months have already begun and by now many of us will be feeling the cold and wanting to throw more coal on the fire and reach for the thermostat in a bid to crank up the gas. However, there are other ways in which you can keep warm this winter without burning a hole in your pocket, one of these being by eating the right kinds of food.
During winter the cold weather lowers blood pH therefore making it more acidic, and in order to compensate for this acidic blood pH we need to eat foods that will help to raise, or alkaline, blood pH levels. By doing this your body’s chemistry will be balanced and as a result you will feel warmer and more comfortable this winter.
Eating foods such as protein and fat can help to raise the blood pH back into the normal range, therefore this winter try eating plenty of meat, fish, eggs, nuts and high fat dairy and you should feel warmer.
Eating foods that contain niacin will also help to warm you up during the cold months. Niacin, which is a vitamin, also known as vitamin B3, helps to stabilise the nervous system and boost the circulatory system. It plays a role in expanding the capillaries, thus getting more blood to warm up the hands and the feet. Foods like milk, eggs and cheese all contain a good quantity of niacin, and other abundant in this B vitamin include animal liver, sesame, and peanuts, as well as all-wheat products.
Other foods to eat to keep you warm during winter include:
Soup: Not only is homemade soup easy to cook, it is cheap and nutritious too, and if you make a big batch, you’ll always have something hot to eat for those times when cooking feels like a chore! Also, soup makes a great meal for lunch at work. Pop some in a thermos, heat it up for lunch, and bob’s your uncle. To get extra protein, try adding beans and meat to any soup.
Meat: Try eating more meat during winter. As mentioned earlier, protein raises the blood pH to make us warmer. Crock-pot meat meals and casseroles are an excellent dinner. Again, they are inexpensive and easy to make, and usually will feed a whole family. Eating red meats can also help keep you warm. These are high in iron, which the body needs to make the thyroid hormone, which stimulates heat production.
Soy: For those non-meat eaters out there, eating plenty of soy products like tofu. Soybeans, soy nuts and tempeh, will also contribute to keeping you warm this winter. Try some stir-fry meals with tofu and vegetables, or munch on some soy nuts as a snack.
Spice: Spicy seasoning keeps cold temperatures away by boosting blood circulation. So when cooking, try adding some spicy sauce or pepper powder.
Fruit and Vegetables: Fruit and vegetables are a good course of vitamin C, which as we all know, helps keep people healthy. However during the winter months, fruit and vegetables can also play a role in keeping the winter chills away. Leeks and carrots are good vegetables to eat, while fruits like peaches, apricots and papaya can keep you warm. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are also good to eat because like red meats, these are abundant in iron, which helps to stimulate heat production.
Good Fat: When cooking, cook your dishes using olive oil or butter as these are healthy fats that will help to balance your blood pH levels and thus warm you up.
Warm drinks: This winter, try drinking some herbal tea, as whilst keeping you warm, it is a great antioxidant and will help relax you, improve immunity, and flush your system out if you have a cold. Green tea too is great at fighting infection, and warm unsweetened soy milk is also soothing on a warm day. Stay away from coffee though because it will only lower your blood pH more.
Angie is our resident features writer on location in London, specialising in festivals, food and nutrition, and with a keen interest in ethical fashion.