Core-Warming Foods for Cold Winter Months


(Photo from Stacey’s snacks)

Core-warming foods for cold winter months

The winter solstice is on Friday, Dec. 21 and marks the first day of winter. During the winter months, cold and darkness drive us to seek inner warmth, and our focus is on warming our core while the surface of our body stays cool. Core warming foods keep the inner flame hot while allowing the exterior of the body to remain cool, which causes us to notice the cold less.

Core warming foods, along with salty and bitter flavors, dominate the food choices throughout the cold winter months. Salty and bitter flavors promote a sinking, centering quality that aids in the capacity for storage.

Most bitter foods are not wholly bitter, but combinations of bitter and other flavors. These foods include lettuces, turnips, celery, carrot tops, leafy greens, rye, oats and quinoa. Often, the bitter flavors are found in the protective coating, such as the peel from citrus and the outermost leaves of cabbage.

Salty foods include tamari or soy sauce, seaweed and barley, plus any food that is prepared with the addition of salt. Small, regular amounts of salty and bitter foods help to create the sinking, centering quality needed during winter.

Warming foods help improve the digestive fire and keep our core warm. These foods include cloves, fennel seeds, anise seeds, black peppercorns, ginger (dried or fresh), cinnamon bark, walnuts, black beans, onion family (garlic, onions, scallions and leeks), quinoa, chicken, lamb, trout and salmon.

Although the winter months are a time of centering and resting, it is still important to stay active enough to keep the spine and joints flexible. Exercise along with a little fine tuning in the diet allows the body to get ready for the cold months ahead, and keeps the body and mind in balance while waiting for the subtle warmth coming in the spring months.


About Author

Elizabeth Blessing is co-founder and chief nutritionist of Green BEAN Delivery. Originally from Noblesville, Ind., Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Indiana University and a Master of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University.

After graduating from Bastyr, she worked as a nutrition educator for Washington State University King County Extension’s Food $ense Program. While at Food $ense, she co-authored nutrition education curriculum. Now Elizabeth is the on-site Nutritionist and a Food Service instructor at The Chef’s Academy, the Indiana Business College’s culinary school. Get her nutrition tips and recipes each week on the Healthy Times blog.

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