Editor’s Note: The following post is a guest blog written by our Yoga Intern, Marissa Bradley. Marissa is a yoga student and can often be found working the front desk at Centered. She has a background in sales, marketing and advertising. For any advertising questions, you can visit her website at www.advertisewithmarissa.com

Marissa Bradley Yoga Intern Centered Lexington KY Central Kentucky

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! Ayurvedic Wisdom for Winter Healing

by Marissa Bradley, Centered Yoga Intern

Temperatures have dropped (and are supposed to drop even MORE this week!). You are bundling up, staying in, and craving soups and hot teas. While it’s natural to crave hot meals during the winter months, it’s even better to pick warming (but not hot) foods and beverages. You’ll can reap both the physical and spiritual benefits — providing TWICE the defense against cold and flu season!

In Ayurvedic Medicine, there are specific foods with warming qualities that influence digestion by increasing circulation, raising body temperture, and decrease bloating. Eating warming foods can also help keep off the winter weight through a process known as thermogenesis. In other words, once you ingest warming foods, the body begins working to digest this food over the next several hours. This increases energy and heat production.

Our top five foods to keep you warm all winter long

1. Ginger

Ginger not only helps the body stay warm, but it also helps boost both the immune system and the digestive system. Fresh ginger can be eaten by itself or with other foods, or it can also be used in a warm bath. Other root vegetables that may provide a similar benefit are carrots, beets, cabbage, kale, and sweet potatoes.

2. Hot Peppers

Studies have shown that a spicy meal, such as a bowl of chili with hot peppers can provide a temporary rise in metabolism of about 8% greater than a person’s typical metabolic rate. Spicy foods like chili peppers and seasonings made from chili peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which makes them spicy and, when eaten, increases our body temperature, creating a warming effect.

3. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains healthy, saturated fats that are broken down by the body and converted into energy, rather than being stored in fat cells. This process kicks up your core temperature. Fats in general keep the body warm and it’s thought that coconut oil may also have antiviral properties. That’s right: a potential immune system boost to help fight off cold and flu symptoms. Coconut oil can also be used as a fantastic moisturizer. Dry skin causes the body to lose heat in the winter. As a natural skin moisturizer, coconut oil can prevent the body from losing heat while also helping give skin the healthy glow.

4. Whole Grains

Oatmeal isn’t just a breakfast food. It can also be used for adding some whole grains to dinner. Meanwhile, brown rice and other complex carbohydrates naturally warm the body because they are more difficult to digest. When eaten hot, whole grains such as rolled oats, brown rice, millet and others can provide immediate warmth. They also offer much needed complex carbohydrates to help fuel the body’s engine.

Whole grains are also a good source of B vitamins and magnesium, all of which help the thyroid and adrenal glands better regulate the body’s temperature. Cold weather can cause the thyroid and adrenal glands to slow down, so it’s incredibly important to give them that little extra bit of help! Definitely boost your vitamins and magnesium during this time of year…

5. Spices

Besides just adding flavoring to foods, spices have health benefits as well! Turmeric has an amazing number of healing properties, and other spices — such as cinnamon, cumin, paprika, nutmeg and allspice — generate heat from within and help increase the body’s metabolism.