It's that time of the year again when anything served 'hot' looks tempting. And most of the time, hot soup and chaiis on our mind to keep the chill at bay.
As much as I love a good bowl of hot soup, there are other foods that help you keep warm and toasty from within. Elders in our families have often told us that certain foods affect our internal temperature by heating and invigorating us, pushing blood and energy to the surface of the body during the digestion process. If you're looking to stay warm this season, I would recommend some of these.
Hot Chocolate – Right on top of the list as it’s my favourite midnight snack and my weakness too. I use two-three squares of dark chocolate and melt it into hot milk. No harm in adding a little dark chocolate to your diet, after all it’s an excellent anti-oxidant. Nothing like a cuppa on a cold wintery night.
AlmondsPumpkin Soup – This soup is easy to make and doesn’t necessarily need to be laden with cream as just the taste of roasted pumpkin tantalises the taste buds enough. Pumpkin is high on Vitamin A and has antioxidant properties too, so there you go.
Almonds and walnuts - Walnuts and almonds are good at any time of the year, but they make a lovely roasted snack in the winters. I remember as a kid my mother always increased the intake of these wonder nuts to keep me warm. Add them to your salads and cakes.
Bell peppers – Not only do they add vibrant colours to your food, they are very high on Vitamin C too, keeping the cough and cold away by helping you build immunity. Add them to salads, sauté them with some broccoli and carrots, cook them with chicken, there are endless possibilities with peppers.
Avocado – I don’t think I can ever describe my love for this fruit in words. Apart from all the things that I stated in my previous article about this superfood, it helps you keep warm too. If you don’t feel like having it raw or in smoothies, oven roasting is also an option. Or you can cut them and put it on top of another vegetable. It also keeps you fuller for longer periods of time cutting down your constant craving for food in this season.
Sweet Potatoes - Honestly, this is probably one street food that I look forward to all of winters. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and a bit of iron. Unlike contrary belief, roasted sweet potato isn’t a very high calorie food. Moderation is the key, of course. I love to have it with lots of nimbu and masala.
Ginger/Adrak chai – This is something I can’t do without. Ginger has thermogenic properties that can keep you warm. So if you're thinking of reaching for a cup of tea, brew it with ginger. Because of its heating powers, ginger may also boost metabolism and promote blood flow. I prefer it black or with very little milk.
Daliya porridge - Traditionally, a steaming bowl of porridge is thought to be one of the best winter warmers. Daliya is also very versatile, so you can make it savoury if you don’t want that extra sugar intake. I like to add raisins and roasted almonds too to my bowl to add crunchiness.
While eating the right food helps, I strongly recommend working out too during winters even though that may be the last thing you feel like doing. Apart from giving you a rush of endorphins which boosts mood, exercise will get the blood pumping in your body and, vitally, heat up your skin and keep you active.
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