Over the last week my family and I have been fighting the cold. Here in the KCMO area there have been record low temperatures. With temperatures at -3 and below before windchill, staying warm has become a sport in my house. Dawning our bodies are robes, fuzzy socks, and fleece pjs and blankets with space heaters and fireplaces running just to catch a piece of warmth. Even with all of our efforts, the best tactic we have found to keep warm is by cooking. By using herbs and foods that are warming we have been able and will continue to thrive in this polar vortex. Here are 5 warming foods you can add to your kitchen to spice things up and keep warm.
This is one of my favorite herbs. Not only is it full of medicinal properties, it’s warming as well. Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory, it’s great for circulation and blood flow, and is antimicrobial. This makes it great for helping relieve symptoms of the common cold and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Its the gingerol component that gives it its warming action. It is related to capsaicin found in cayenne and the piperine found in black pepper. These are also great compounds for anti inflammation and warmth. Consider adding a little ginger with honey to your next cup of tea for a warming, stimulating and relaxing break from life.
This next herb I use almost as much as I use ginger. Cinnamon is such a wonderful spice that goes great with chocolate, desserts, and tea. Cinnamaldehyde is the active ingredient in this herb. Along with its warming effect, cinnamon is anti diabetic, antimicrobial, and anti inflammatory. A sprinkle in your morning coffee or afternoon tea can go a long way in keeping you warm this summer.
Cayenne pepper (and other peppers)
In my cooking, I love to add a jalapeno to almost everything. The spice seems to wake up all of my senses causing all of my dishes’ flavor to go to the next level. Though sometimes my family says my cooking is too spicy it definitely has been keeping us warm lately. By adding a pepper or two to your chili or beans you can stay warm with the power of the capsaicin that fills each pepper depending on its spiciness.
Garlic and onions
These two herbs are both allium species plants. They are highly related and this is part of why they taste so good in dishes together. Like the other spices listed garlic and onions are in almost all of my dishes. They are antimicrobial, antilipidemic, and anti-inflammatory. Their medicinal and warming action is made possible through the active ingredients allicin and ajoene.
This last food is an acquired taste. I didnt like this food until my mom mixed it with mayo one day and put it on my sandwich. I had no idea what that subtle kick of spice and flavor was but I knew I loved it. This food is related to broccoli, cabbage, mustard and radishes. Adding horseradish to a sandwich, hot water as a tea, or as an additional spice to your cooking is another addition to keep warm this season.
Try this recipe that I like to drink when sitting in front of the fireplace:
Warming Tea Recipe
- 1 inch peeled ginger
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 lemon
- 1 tsp to 1 tablespoon honey
- 1-2 cups of water
Boil water with cinnamon sticks and ginger for 10 minutes on the stove. Pour into the cup while avoiding ginger and cinnamon falling into your cup or strain water through a strainer or cheesecloth. Cut lemon into wedges and squeeze into your cup to your liking. Add honey and stir. Sip, relax, and enjoy. #eatwellbeheathly #getyousome