It makes sense that food could affect your body temperature. Anyone who has had a nice bowl of spicy Indian curry in the middle of summer knows that spicy equals sweat equals cooling down the body.
There are also foods that work in a reverse way. Eating them will help boost your internal body temperature and help keep you a bit warmer this winter. This happens through several processes with the main one being thermogenesis.
Thermogenesis is the process of converting calories from food to heat. Our bodies need to stay warm and we have ingeniously evolved to do just that through the digestion of food. Not all food is made equal though. Some foods in particular boost thermogenesis beyond what is typical. As a rule of thumb, the longer it takes for your body to digest and metabolize a food source, the more it will boost thermogenesis and increase body temperature.
Here are 5 foods that are proven to keep you warm from the inside out. Some use thermogenesis and others have their unique temperature boosting properties.
A nice warm cup of coffee is a classic wintertime pick when it comes to warming up the body from the inside out. While the physical heat of the liquid will help to warm the body temporarily, it is the caffeine in the coffee that kicks it up a notch.
Caffeine increases the body’s metabolism. It does this by stimulating the release of fatty acids from fat tissue. Metabolism through thermogenesis warms the body long after the heat from your cup of coffee has faded.
Prefer an iced coffee? You’re in luck! Since it is the caffeine that works more to turn up the body temperature, having the coffee iced is just as good. Caffeine levels are usually higher in iced coffee drinks as well. And bonus – if you add a splash of milk to your coffee you’ll get an extra thermogenesis boost from the natural digestion of the milk.
Iron deficiency can often be the underlying cause of body temperature irregularity, especially among women. Around 20% of women are considered iron deficient and the number jumps dramatically among pregnant women.
Low iron levels can cause your red blood cell levels to drop, preventing adequate oxygen from reaching all parts of your body. This often leads to cold hands and feet.
To avoid this issue and warm your hands and feet back up, make sure you are consuming enough iron-rich foods. The best sources of iron are usually meat products, with lean meats being the best option. Plant-based sources of iron include beans and spinach. If you feel you still aren’t getting adequate iron from your diet, consider adding an iron supplement.
Whole Grains and Complex Carbs
Coming back to thermogenesis, it has been found that body temperature rises after eating a carb-rich meal due to the metabolizing of the calories. However, you can significantly boost the effect by choosing complex carbs and whole grains.
Not only are complex carbs and whole grains better for you overall, but they also take more work for the body to metabolize. This means adding potatoes, lentils, and whole grains to your meal can increase thermogenesis and up your body temperature for longer.
It would be logical to think spicy foods would warm you up but as we mentioned before, spicy foods are a better way to cool down as they cause you to sweat. That being said, there are a few spices that do help with increasing internal body temperature.
Cumin is a great body temperature regulator. It is said to both warm you up when you’re cold and cools you down when hot. The science isn’t quite clear on why yet but you might consider adding it to your favorite winter recipes, just in case.
Ginger is another great option for warming up. The spice has been shown to boost thermogenesis while also reducing hunger. For a wintertime treat, consider a nice warm cup of ginger tea.
Bananas might just be the most unexpected item on this list. Surprisingly though, bananas are a great option for increasing body temperature.
Bananas help regulate body temperature through B vitamins and magnesium. The fruit is super high in both. B vitamins and magnesium help the body regulate temperature by supporting the proper function of the thyroid and adrenal glands, which play an important role in a stable body temperature.
Stay Warm This Winter With Good Food
Hopefully, with the above list, you can stay a bit warmer and cozier this winter. Don’t forget to also add in all your favorite wintertime treats – warm homemade soup, tea, hot chocolate, etc.
At Eric’s, we carry a wide selection of healthy foods, supplements, spices, and drinks. From organic whole grains to ginger teas, we have your winter health food needs covered. Stop by to browse our selection or feel free to get in touch if you are looking for something in particular.