I have noticed that people have less energy and more stress in the winter months. Maybe you need a little more sleep, or it is especially hard to get out of bed in the morning. Seasonal depression may set in, or you may notice slight lapses in short term memory. In my acupuncture practice, I see a host of physical issues cropping up in the winter, such as dry skin, increased joint and muscle pain, asthma exacerbation, and poor digestion.
What you do (and don’t) eat during the winter can help maintain your mood, energy, and overall health. Here are five tips for eating during the wintertime.
1. Body-Warming Foods
Foods have an energetic temperature. For instance, people intuitively understand that watermelon and cucumber cool the body down, and habanero peppers heat us up. To stay warm for winter, it is better to avoid the energetically cold foods in lieu of warm ones. Your body has to work to stay warm; by eating foods that are warming in nature, you’ll have more energy to use for activities other than maintaining warmth.
Cold Foods to Avoid in Winter
* Fruit and fruit juices
* Black and green tea
Warm Foods for Winter
* Lamb, beef, poultry, duck, and venison
* Red grapes
* Prawns and oysters
* Spicy tea
* Red wine (in moderation)
2. Spice it up
Spices can warm up your body and build energy. Some good warming spices include cinnamon, chili, ginger, garlic, onion, cloves, and coriander. Not surprisingly, these spices are commonly used in seasonal winter dishes.
3.Eat your veggies—steamed!
It is widely believed that salads are always a healthy food choice. But in the wintertime, raw vegetables can hinder digestion. When your digestion is compromised, you absorb nutrients less efficiently, which can lower your energy level, immunity, and overall health.
It is important, however, to keep eating vegetables. Luckily, wintertime brings an abundance of delicious vegetables that are wonderful cooked. Root vegetables, such as beets and parsnips, as well as squash, are excellent roasted in the oven. Dark leafy greens, like kale and collards, are easy to cook up in a little vinegar with black eyed peas, beans, or beef.
4. Warm it up
Iced coffees and popsicles taste great in the summer. But now that it is winter, drink and eat foods that are physically warm. According to Chinese medicine, the body breaks down food by heating it up; thus, chilled foods take more energy to digest. This is especially true during the wintertime when you are already exposed to colder temperatures. If you are eating something that is coming out of the fridge, heat it first or allow it to come up to room temperature. Soups and warm teas are wonderful winter foods. If you really need a sweet treat, have a slice of warm pie and hold the ice cream.
5.Stew on it
Homemade stews are perfect for winter–especially when made with meat or legumes, root vegetables, and kale. Stews are tasty, filling, and can be easily frozen for future meals. Make a large quantity at once so that you can have it for lunch all week. Or invite the neighbors over for a stewed winter meal.
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