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Winter Warmers: Healthy Warming Foods

As the winter drags on and the weather continues to be grim, rainy and cold, it is a good time to start focusing on warming your body from the inside out. While some people immediately think of rich puddings and hot whiskey toddies, warming foods do not have to be laden with calories or alcohol. In fact, there are a whole host of healthy warming foods that are as good for your body as they are for your internal thermostat!

If you are feeling down and chilly during the winter months, try adding these ingredients into your diet. Not only do they taste fantastic, they will warm you up from your head to your toes in a much healthier way than a fry up or a roast dinner will!.

1. Spiced black beans

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While a hefty dose of chilli and cumin are sure to set your tongue afire, black beans are the true star of any dish. Whether you choose to make a hearty soup or a side dish out of these nutritious beans, their high iron, copper and protein content will boost your immune system. Iron and copper both help your muscles to utilize more oxygen, meaning that you will be nourished and warm all winter long.

2. Black pepper

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Long revered in Asian cuisines for its warming properties, black pepper is spicy and flavourful. A good grind of black pepper definitely warm your body, as its antiseptic and antioxidant properties are known for improving your body’s circulation and blood flow. Add black pepper to your favourite meals – if you find the taste of freshly ground pepper too strong, you can always add pre ground pepper (found in your supermarket spice aisle). 

3. Sweet potatoes

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While you may be tempted by creamy mac & cheese or decadent lasagnes this winter, instead consider dining on foods that pack a nutritional punch. Sweet potatoes are the perfect example of a nutrient dense ‘super food.’ Exceptionally high in Vitamin A, C, calcium and potassium, sweet potatoes are filling and low in calories. Try roasting your bright orange spud with some fresh rosemary and a splash of heart healthy olive oil – divine, simple and cozy.

4. Ginger

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In all of its forms, ginger is a wonderful warming ingredient. A big dose can be spicy on your tongue, or a little can add a light, botanical flavour to a stir fry or a curry. In addition to ingesting ginger, you can also use it as a topical aid to stay warm. Its antioxidant and antiseptic properties will improve your circulation, especially if you treat yourself to a ginger bath. Try simmer a large knob of ginger in a few litres of water for 20 minutes, and then straining this infused water into your full bathtub.

5. Cinnamon

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Cinnamon is known as a spice associated with the winter season because it can actually raise your body temperature. Its antioxidant and antiseptic properties not only improve your circulation, it can boost your metabolic activity. Feeling warm all winter while losing a few kilos? Not a bad combination! Try sprinkling cinnamon in your coffee, adding it to your curries or making a healthy baked apple.

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