Spice up your day this winter.

February, and its time for the full winter regalia; coat, hat, gloves, scarf, thermal underwear, long johns, leg warmers and anything else we can put on as we follow advice to wrap up warm to keep out the cold. Admittedly not everyone goes overboard as I do. When I see people outdoors in skimpy skirts or leggings with only a flimsy looking coat, I marvel.
According to Dr Manfred Kaiser, the best way to get through winter is to eat as much as you can, grow a thick coat, reduce your body temperature and find a hole in the ground where you can hibernate. Easier said than done!
But that said, taking the first piece of his advice is not difficult. Why does it work?
One of the best ways to stay warm in a cold climate is by the use of the ‘inner furnace’ to generate heat from within. We can indulge in hearty stews, soups and rich food knowing that it is doing us good! All these calories are needed to create heat by burning in the muscles and providing an insulating layer of body fat.
We can make eating work even better for us by adding warming spices, to help counteract the cold damp of winter. Ginger, cinnamon, cloves are some of the better known warming spices. The warming effect is achieved by bringing blood to the surface of the skin to radiate heat through the body system; just what we need in the middle of winter. Ginger has its own warmth which kicks in very quickly through our taste buds. For those of us who always feel cold, with hands and feet that never seem able to warm up, spices such as cinnamon and cloves are good as they stimulate and support circulation. Cinnamon is also known for keeping the body dry.
Another benefit these spices bring is that they stimulate the immune system to see off coughs, cold and flu, which are particularly common in winter. This is because a cold nose provides cold and flu causing rhinoviruses with more opportunities to reproduce. Cold diminishes our immune responses too. So if the temperature is cold and one of these viruses is around we are more likely to catch it, especially since we spend more time indoors with little or no ventilation. Ginger and cinnamon can be taken to relieve aching muscles and other symptoms of the common cold and cloves help maintain a clear respiratory system.
In case we take advice to eat well a bit too seriously, ginger also comes in handy with the digestion of heavier winter meals. It is the obvious choice for soothing upset stomachs which semm to occur more often in winter.
You can add spices to your meals or infuse and drink them as teas. As for me; I’ll have mine with Chosan!

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