In London, pipes carrying water burst during winter. This happens because the metal pipes carrying the water contract as a result of the cold. What happens to metal could also happen to our bodies except that our bodies have been provided with a thermostat, which helps regulate the body temperature

Never the less, the human body responds differently to different seasons. Just as our bodies need a different type of clothing in different seasons; we also need to eat differently

Warming Foods :
According to Chinese medicine, food apart from having a physical nature to it – like proteins, fats, carbohydrates – also has a thermal nature. It has warming and cooling properties for e.g. ginger, garlic, most grains like wheat, jowar, bajri, onions,sarsoo, green chillies, pepper, mustard have a warming effect on the body. Dates, honey and jaggery (gud) are sweetners that have a warming effect. All animal products are essentially warming.

Effect of cooking
Cooking methods that require longer cooking time impart more warming qualities to food e.g. cooking vegetables on slow fire, imparts more warming qualities than stir frying. Pulses that are pressure cooked over medium heat like kabuli channa, rajhma, black dal have a more warming effect on the body as compared to pulses like mung beans which are sprouted and stirfried to be added to salads or dishes. Although eating ‘raw’ foods has its own set of benefits, eating them during the cold season may cause weakness, indigestion and discomfort.

Moderately cooked food, especially in winter is better digested, its nutrient are better assimilated, which in turn gives warmth and energy to the body.Food habits are usually carried forward from generation to generation. They are also a result of our lifestyles. Individuals react differently to weather changes. People with cold signs dislike the winters and need more warming foods. Cold temperatures cause contraction. A person moves around with difficulty. Those suffering from arthritis experience more pain in their joints. They should take flaxmeal powder or alsiseed powder twice a day, one tablespoon each time to reduce pain and inflammation. They should have warming food like hot soups flavoured with pepper and ginger.

However those with hot signs like large appetite, glowing face, coated tongue, redness of the eyes, tolerate cold climates better. They can tolerate some amount of cooling foods like raw salads and fruits. Usually if you pay attention to the body’s demand, the body’s internal wisdom takes over the choice of foods.
In the winter, our food intake should be such that it gives our body warmth and the energy that is necessary to maintain peak performance.
Foods have specific properties. Some foods help to increase energy, others calm the mind, some foods reduce mucous, some provide warmth and others cool the body. Also each individual has a unique constitution. One man’s food may be another man’s poison. Therefore food plans should be designed to suit a persons constitution. It is only then that he will begin to experience good health.
1. In the winter you should have fewer salads
2. Reduce the intake of cooling drinks like cocunut water, buttermilk, lime juice.
3. Avoid intake of foods below room temperature.
4. Drink hot soups with warming spices like pepper, ginger, garlic, onions.
5. Increase intake of whole grains like jowar, bajri, makai, oats.
6. Include dry fruits like walnuts, almonds, figs and dates. These provide the body with essential oils and the much needed warmth and energy.
7. Those who eat non-vegetarian foods can increase intake of eggs, fish, chicken to at least 3-4 times in a week.
8. Alcohol also has a warming effect on the body. Those of you who take alcohol – red wine should be a good choice. It has many health benefits. A glass of wine a day can help you make severe winters more bearable.
9. Above all, in the winters you must eat foods that are steaming hot. You will find those stimulating and keep you in better health.

ANJALI MUKERJEE, Nutritionist, Founder Director-Health Total, having health centers
in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune -manages obesity & other health related disorders.
Contact numbers: 1800 8918131/+91 86575 61727
For further information, Visit

November 28, 2020

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