Winter’s blast is just around the corner, or it may be knocking on your door already. In either case, you need to keep yourself and your family safe and warm during the chilling months. Here are a few tips that can take the edge off of winter’s chill.
Dress in appropriate layers. Lots of people know they should dress in layers to help stay warm, but it’s important to choose the appropriate layers, or your efforts will not help you reach your goal. Begin with a thin layer of nylon, polyester, or silk since these fabrics help take perspiration away from your skin. Cotton, on the other hand, will absorb moisture and actually make you feel colder. The next layer is an insulating one and should be made of polyester, fleece, or wool. The final layer should be wind resistant and water proof, which typically means a man-made synthetic fabric. These three layers should be used on your upper and lower body.
Cover all exposed skin. If you believe your lose more heat through an uncovered head than you do through other parts of your body, you have been holding onto a myth. However, it is true that your body loses heat through any uncovered part, and the head is often the victim. So keep your head as well as your hands and your face (with a scarf or face-covering hat) covered to stay warm.
Choose mild spices. Here’s another myth. Some believe that including cayenne in your diet will help you stay warm, but it actually causes you to sweat and lose heat. However, there are several milder spices that can increase your metabolism and help you stay toasty, including allspice, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, and paprika. Add these spices to your hot chocolate, veggies, soups, stews, and other foods.
Include whole grains. Whole grains such as steel cut oatmeal, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, rye, and whole wheat are sources of magnesium and B vitamins. These nutrients have a key role in regulating the body’s temperature, so be sure to include them in your diet on a daily basis.
Enjoy hot soups. It’s no surprise that hot soups are on the list of things that can boost your inner heater, but you can get the most benefit from them if you eat them in the evening. That’s because your body is warmest during the afternoon hours, so you want to consume hot soup at dinner when it can help you stay warm throughout the night. Be sure to include some whole grains and/or mild spices in the soup to really enhance its heating powers!
Get some fat. As fats metabolize, they keep the body warm. Choose healthy fats—monounsaturated and omega-3s—found in avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, olives, nuts, and cold water fatty fish to keep your inner fires burning this winter. Dry skin loses more heat than moisturized skin, so use coconut oil to protect your skin as well.
Stay hydrated. Be sure to consume enough water and other liquids (but not booze!). The body can tolerate the cold much more effectively if you maintain a balance of water and food.
Avoid booze. Drinking alcohol can give you a false sense of feeling warmer. In fact, if you are already cold, downing alcohol will cause a drop in core body temperature.
Use reusable heat packs. Sporting goods stores and other retail establishments carry reusable heat packs that you can put into your mittens, boots, or pockets to help you stave off the chill. Reusable rather than disposable heat packs make the most sense because they are environmentally friendly and you can use them season after season.
Written by Deborah Mitchell. Deborah Mitchell is passionate about personal health and the well-being of animals and the planet. She has authored, coauthored, and ghostwritten more than 40 books, contributes regularly to several websites, and shares information on physical, emotional, and spiritual health on her blog, deborahmitchellbooks.com.
Accuweather. 5 top foods to keep you warm. Retrieved 2016 Nov 13.
Go Canada. Dress to keep warm in winter. Retrieved 2016 Nov. 12.
Live Science. 7 scientific tips for staying warm. Retrieved 2016 Nov. 13.
Washington Post. Ever wonder why…you should wear a hat in winter? Retrieved 2016 Nov. 13.