Warming Foods for Winter Wellness

By By Julie Ruggirello, Editor
February 14, 2015, 3:23:23 AM EST

After a fall full of crazy blizzards, warm weather, and below-freezing temperatures, this winter is shaping up to be just as extreme as last year. Sometimes the best way to warm up is from the inside-out.

You start craving comfort food as soon as the weather drops for the same reason that bears load up on food before they hibernate. Your body wants to take in lots of fuel to power through the long winter. Bubbly, cheesy casseroles and steaming bowls of soup are everything your body wants after a tedious day of trekking in the cold, snow, and slush.


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A bowl of gooey mac and cheese doesn’t hurt every once in a while, but there’s more than one way to satisfy the warming sensation your body wants. If you’re seriously craving carbs at every chance, this may be a sign of seasonal depression. Eat comfort food in moderation and make healthy swaps when you can. For example, use whole grain pasta and lean proteins (like turkey, chicken, or pork) and add in seasonal superfoods like sweet potatoes and cranberries (which are normally on fall and winter menus anyway) to keep your body in balance.

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Delicious and Healthy Winter Salads
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Winter Stews

Although you may not be going for long runs during these chilly months, you should still be working out a few times a week to stabilize your mood and keep your blood moving.

You may be tempted to use the cold weather as an excuse for over-indulging at every chance (and though hot toddies are delicious, they probably won’t keep you warm in the long run), and though it may make you feel good for a little bit, eventually you’ll feel guilty for overdoing it.

Warming foods don’t necessarily have to be the gooey, cheesy comfort foods we’ve become accustomed to over the winter. Many herbs, spices, and teas have warming properties that will help you maintain heat and general well-being throughout the winter.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon’s spicy flavor is warming, and cinnamon also increases blow flow throughout the body. True cinnamon, also known as Ceylon cinnamon, has a sweeter and less potent smell and flavor compared to cassia (what’s normally labelled as cinnamon in the grocery store).

Ginger

A spicy root, ginger has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat the common cold. Fresh ginger warms the exterior of the body and dried ginger is said to warm the inside.

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