A warm bath, some extra thick socks or sitting by a crackling fire may be some of the first things that come to mind when trying to beat winter's chill. But many of the things we put in our body can actually help keep us thermally regulated as well…only here, it's from the inside out. So, in addition to layering on the extra sweater or grabbing a bowl of your favorite soup, try adding more of these warming ingredients to your culinary rotation to support an inner-sense of cozy.
Matcha – Green tea, along with its more antioxidant-rich strain, Matcha, significantly promotes thermogenesis, a process by which cells convert energy into heat. (Even hibernating animals use thermogenesis as one of the ways they stay warm!) Almost like stoking an internal fire, drinking hot Matcha is not only immediately soothing, it can also create long-term warmth as well.
Chili Peppers – That hot feeling your taste buds announce when exposed to a spicy pepper isn't just limited to your mouth. Peppers like cayenne, jalepeno and chipotle raise body temperature slightly due to their concentration of capsaican, a phytochemical that creates a heated sensation. They even cause swelling or a bit of redness if too much is consumed. As a general rule, the hotter the pepper, the higher amount of capsaicin, and the more significant the augmentation of body temperature. If truly spicy foods aren't for you, try adding micro-doses of ground chilis in drinks or water throughout the day for a subtle effect.
Ginger – Like chili peppers, ginger's slightly spicy effect should be a good indicator of its thermogenic effects, which are found primarily in its active compound gingerol. Pungent, floral and excellent for teas, consuming the root regularly is shown to help make those crisp days more manageable.
Cinnamon – Often referred to as a warming spice, cinnamon really does live up to its reputation. Cinnamaldehyde, the essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavor, induces fat cells to start burning energy. This not only helps to heat up the body, it can help protect against obesity, too!
Astralagus – Astralagus, also called “Huang Qi,” is a vital root used in Chinese Medicine as an energizing and warming herb. Astralagus is unique in that it helps clarify the circulation of blood just below the skin's surface, as well as in the muscles.
Turmeric - High in beneficial tannins, turmeric helps with circulation and blood flow throughout the body. A warming, drying spice, turmeric can be used raw or in powdered form, and is excellent when added into hot soups.