10 top winter warmers

by on 23/01/2012

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1. Skin brush every morning on awaking to feel re-invigorated. Skin brushing improves blood circulation and lymphatic circulation. Not only increasing body temperature but also improving general immunity.

2. Mustard, Ginger Cayenne powder added to your bath. Add ½ to 1 tablespoon of this mixture to running bath water. This remedy is especially helpful to those suffering with colds and flu. The diaphoretic (sweating) action of these warming herbs can also balance the circulation. (In other circumstances, they are also valuable for ‘sweating out’ a fever.)

3. Exercise, gentle or otherwise (especially ‘Cardio vascular’ stimulants such as running, skipping, swimming) gives a boost to the circulation, Immune System and body temperature.

4. Drink Ginger Root Tea. Ginger Root tea is a great winter warmer. Ginger is slow acting but it’s warming effects tend to last longer than the powerful initial ‘hit’ that Cayenne gives. Ginger teas can be found in your local supermarkets in convenient tea bags. However, using the fresh root (found in all good supermarkets) grated, gently simmered for 5-10 minutes and strained, makes a superior and cost-effective tea, if you’ve got the time to make it.

5. Add a pinch of Cayenne powder to food and drink. Cayenne Pepper is available in powder from all good supermarkets. Just a pinch or even a few grains mixed into foods and drinks will increase body temperature and blood circulation. If used regularly, you will get more used to it, and you will gradually be able to use more and more of this fine herb.

6. A cold weather health tip is to make sure your ankles and wrists are always well covered. If these sensitive areas of the body are exposed to the cold, your hands and feet will naturally become colder too, and your whole body is soon affected. Cover them well.

7. Use multiple layers of clothing. In cold weather, layered clothing is essential. At least three layers should be worn. The layer closest to your skin should be very warm, but soft and comfortable such as thermal underwear, longjohns etc. Next, comes a padded or cushioned layer which is quite thick e.g. woollen jumper or fleeced jumper. This traps air which is a great insulator. Finally, the outer layer which helps to keep the insulating air within the middle layer. This outer layer needs to be appropriate to your situation a light jacket for inside, or waterproof jackets and trousers of some sort if outside.

8. Maximise your chances of keeping warm by always wearing your ‘winter set’.

Q: What is a ‘winter set’?

A: Hat, Scarf and Gloves.

A high percentage of heat is lost via your head, so, wearing a hat will minimise this loss. Your throat is the easiest pathway for bacteria and viral infections to enter the body. Your immune cells work more efficiently at higher temperatures. This is the reason why your body produces a fever during infections and why it is a mistake to try and lower the fever with aspirin (unless it gets dangerously high.) So keep your neck and throat warm with a scarf. If your hands are cold then the rest of your body will eventually feel very cold. Improving blood circulation will help to keep extremities warm.

9. Eat warming foods. This covers a large spectrum of foods. There are the hot foods which give a napalm blast but then the warming effects are over fairly quickly. For example, Chilli con carne; Vindaloo; Mexican tacos; Chilli sauce; Tabasco sauce; Horseradish sauce etc. More gentle but longer lasting warming foods would include Porridge oats; all winter root vegetables i.e. swede, turnip; Garlic; Ginger; Onions; Barley; Soups; Stews/Casseroles; Raw foods (this may seem strange, but more heat is produced through digesting raw foods then eating cooked foods).

10. Keep your Kidneys warm. Your Kidneys are in the small of your back just underneath your rib cage. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the Kidneys hold the life force the ‘chi’ of the human body. Therefore these small but crucial organs need much care and attention which for the most part is rarely undertaken by their owners! The Kidneys are related to the Winter element, and Water. They are involved in rheumatism or arthritis and weakness in the knees or ankles.

Keep your Kidneys warm with extra padding, a belt or scarf wrapped around your middle, or sleeveless jacket, or just ensure your clothing is tucked in so there is no space for a draught. This will help to keep your whole body warm throughout the winter months.

Keep warm!

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