“W” is for Warming Foods

Hello everybody! It’s been in the mid-20′s here in Portland and I’m doing everything I can to keep warm. Unfortunately that means wearing my winter hat indoors and adding a sleeping bag to the ever-growing layers of blankets on my bed. I don’t mind the cold too much, I just wish it would snow if the temperature drops below freezing! Snow in Portland is a rare and extremely hilarious occurrence.

Onto the subject of today’s post: warming foods. There are plenty of effective ways to keep cozy during the winter months. Lots of clothing layers and soup are my two favorite options. Here is a list of nurturing, whole foods that have the added benefit of warming the body*.

1. Black tea – Not only does black tea help prevent heart disease, strengthen the immune system, aid in digestion, and reduce cavities, but it is also contains vitamin C, magnesium, and the B vitamin folacin. While green tea helps cool the body, black tea warms the body. And who doesn’t enjoy a nice mug of tea?

2. Oats – The high fat (unsaturated) content in oats provides warmth and stamina to the body. Oats are great for reducing cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, and soothing the nervous and digestive systems. They are high in protein.

3. Vinegar – Vinegar is a miracle liquid! People primarily use vinegar for seasoning foods and cleaning their homes. It is also used for medicinal purposes, as a beauty aid, and as an antibiotic. Vinegar energizes the stomach and liver while also detoxifying and warming the body. It is supposedly wonderful for helping reduce mental depression too.

4. Ginger – I love ginger. I steep it in tea, add it to rice dishes, bake with it, and juice it. Ginger aids in digestion, increases circulation, treats motion sickness, and is anti-inflammatory. It also eases congestion and headaches. Ginger’s peppery taste warms the body.

5. Wild Rice – Wild rice isn’t a member of the rice family but is is a grain-producing grass. It strengthens the kidneys and is warming and drying. Wild rice has higher levels of protein, minerals, and B vitamins than wheat, oats, or barley.

6. Garlic – We all know the wondrous benefits of garlic, right? It is warming, antibacterial, and anticarcinogenic. Garlic also stimulates metabolism, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and tonifies the spleen, kidneys, and lungs.  It is also great for the intestines and can even eliminate toxins such as snake venom (!!) from the body.

A few other warming foods include: chiles, coconut, beans, papaya, cherries, and nuts. If you incorporate a bunch of these amazing whole foods into your daily meal plan this winter, you will be sittin’ cozy!

I’d love to see a recipe that includes all (or a good percentage anyways) of the above-mentioned ingredients. Maybe we should challenge ourselves to create the ultimate warming recipe? If you create a recipe, let me know! Perhaps there should be a prize?

*The information in this post was obtained through a book called “The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia” by Rebecca Wood.

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