While piling on the layers is one way to keep the winter chill away, certain foods can help warm us from the inside. Warm soups and hot beverages are a natural, but some foods actually stimulate heat production more than others.

As temperatures drop, appetites perk up. The cold, dark days of winter often bring on cravings for hearty comfort foods, warm beverages, and spicier dishes that held less appeal during the warm summer months. Our biology drives us to consume more calories in case food should become scarce, and to add a little extra padding to help us stay warm. But unlike our ancient ancestors, we live in heated homes and food is readily available – so we don’t need to pack away those extra calories.

“Whenever we eat and digest a meal, the body temperature rises – in a process called diet-induced thermogenesis, or DIT for short,” said Dr. Luigi Gratton, vice president of medical affairs at Herbalife. “But some foods stimulate heat production more than others. High protein foods, for example, increase DIT more than starchy or fatty foods, so they are more ‘warming,’” adds Gratton.

Pungent ingredients – like spicy ginger, chili, pepper and garlic – can aid circulation and generate warmth.

We’re more inclined to drink fluids when the weather is hot but we need plenty of fluids in the winter to warm and humidify cold, dry winter air.

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