When the winter brings us freezing cold temperatures, we tend to grab hot foods like curry, mulled wine, or pumpkin spice lattes to warm us up from the inside. But why do these foods and beverages make us feel so much better when it’s cold?
It’s not only because they are served warm, but also because spices like cumin, ginger, turmeric, etc. are thermogenic (aka warming or winter spices). Thermogenesis is a process in which heat is produced in living organisms. Thermogenic foods help warm up our bodies and speed up the metabolism. Luckily, they’re easy to incorporate into your everyday cooking. Here are a few spices to make you feel cozier during the winter.
Cinnamon is a warming spice that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes and drinks. Cinnamon increases blood circulation and aids in tissue regeneration. Besides its vital role as a winter spice, cinnamon can also serve as an anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon pairs perfectly with roasted squash and is a perfect addition to any type of muffin.
Cloves produce a large amount of eugenol, an oil that makes the skin feel warmer and increases blood circulation. They also possess a high level of antioxidants and anticancer properties, so they’re pretty healthy and flavorful addition. A staple in pumpkin spice blends, cloves can also add a delicious edition to rice pilaf and pickles.
Known for their fiery flavor, cayenne peppers are typically added to foods as a powder. Studies show that cayenne reduces hunger and may boost your metabolism. Cayenne’s spiciness will definitely warm you up and is a key ingredient in spice rubs and chili. A more unexpected combo to eat this winter would be dark chocolate, the bitter sweetness goes perfectly with the spice!
You may be surprised to learn that cumin is actually parsley’s cousin and a traditional ingredient in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Cuban cuisine. This spice that makes your tongue feel hot, is naturally high in antioxidants, improving digestion and nutrient absorption. Cumin can be added to various dishes but its flavors pair particularly well in Tex-Mex dishes.
Looking for a good way to incorporate more spices into your winter meals? Check out this Cardamom Cookies recipe to warm up your sweet tooth.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup of softened unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 3/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat the oven to 370?F.
- In a mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the cardamom.
- Mix in the flour, nuts and salt.
- Form balls and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- Once cool, roll the cookies in powdered sugar.
Schedule an appointment with one of our integrative medicine doctors and we’ll help develop a custom menu that keeps you warm and healthy all winter long.
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