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Foods to keep you warm in winter

Baked sweet potatoes


June 7, 2021 3 min read

3 min read


WHEN the chilly weather sets in, it is imperative to fuel your body with foods that can help raise your body temperature and make you feel warm.

The food you eat affects your body when the temperature drops, according to local nutrition scientist, 'Masentu Mathebele.
Nutritional science is described as the study of physiological process of nutrition (primarily human nutrition), interpreting the nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism.
As the country experiences the freezing cold weather between June and August, Mathebele she advises on consumption of food that is high in healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates.

She shows that many of these foods are more complex and take longer to digest and thus; in general, foods that take longer to digest can help raise body temperature and make one feel warmer.
“Drink ginger tea,” she continues, “Keeping you warm is only one of the many health benefits of drinking ginger tea. Hot ginger tea can make you feel warm inside on a cold day. Ginger is known to be good for digestive health and can stimulate metabolism. It is also a diaphoretic, which means it will help your body warm from the inside out."
Mathebele says starting a day with a hot breakfast of oats or other types of porridge is also of essence because oats are a great source of whole grains and fibre. She says fibre can improve your cholesterol and make you feel full. In addition to keeping you full and warm, she notes that oats are full of other nutrients.
She adds that eating red meat such as beef, lamb and pork, is important in attaining iron because, that is a good source of iron.
“Iron is an important mineral to help carry oxygen throughout your body. People with low iron may notice cold hands and feet or feel tired easily. Eating red meat can also supply vitamin B12, which contributes to healthy nerves and a strong immune system.”
She says bananas have a lot of vitamin B and magnesium, which are important for ones’ thyroid and adrenal glands to function properly.

“These glands help regulate body temperature. Bananas can also boost your mood and preserve your memory among other health benefits,” she says.
The other food item she mentions is coffee, adding that the caffeine in coffee increases one’s metabolism, which can raise the body temperature.
“Sweet potatoes and other root vegetables need more energy to move through the digestion process, which raise one’s body temperature. High in vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium, sweet potatoes can add fibre and other nutrients to a warm winter meal.”
Another simple way to help your body stay warm this winter Mathebele says is to drink water.


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Sweet potatoes

She says water keeps one’s body functioning at its best adding it helps regulate one’s internal temperature.
“Dehydration causes your core temperature to drop. You may follow the old adage that a shot of whisky can keep you warm. However, whisky and other kinds of alcohol actually lower your body’s core temperature. You may feel warm at first but it will be hard to stay warm over time. Alcohol also impairs your ability to shiver, which is a natural response to raise your body temperature. To stay warm this winter, avoid drinking alcohol, especially at outdoor events.
“At the end of the day, nutrition is about balancing your diet to support your unique health needs. Regardless of your condition, a balanced diet and good nutrition can help you live easier, happier and healthier every day,” she warns.  

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