Keeping Warm from the Inside Out

February 1, 2020

Discover how to activate your own central heating system.

As we head into February the weather can still be very cold here even if we are getting a few early signs of Spring with bight days and a few flowers peeping out. Turning up the central heating isn’t the only way to keep warm. Have a look at your diet and lifestyle to  find ways to help support the circulation through food and supplements. Not only can it help you feel better, it could be more economical and better for the environment that cranking up the thermostat.

Turning up the central heating isn’t the only way to keep warm

In the colder months we often crave warming  and comforting foods, they often have a bad reputation as being stodgy and full of carbs, but they can also be a great way of getting more vegetables and pulses into your diet as well as being relatively cheap and nutritious. When you make a soup or casserole, all the nutrients that may normally leach out into cooking water are kept within the finished dish.

Making a soup can help get you closer to your five-a-day fruit a and vegetable intake, an easy way to keep topped up on nutrients such as vitamin C that helps support the immune system.  Eating warm food will naturally warm us up, but if you include some warming spices, you can help give your system an extra boost. It needn’t be excessively hot and spicy if you don’t like that, it can be gentle warming spices such as turmeric, ginger and cayenne or even cinnamon and cloves. If you like a readymade blend of something not too spicy, try harissa or Chinese five spice to add a little kick without blowing your head off. Capsaicinoids, the active principles in peppers and chillies have been the subject of a lot of research and results show promising effects on our circulation and heart health, so you are adding flavour as well as looking after yourself.

Adding warming spices to your food is a natural way to help your circulation.

There are thousands of soup recipes available online, from simple ones with a few ingredients to gourmet dinner party creations. Try some simple ones here or for something a bit more adventurous, try these.

When we are cold, we don’t sweat as much so we may think we don’t get dehydrated. It is easy to forget to drink yet being fully hydrated is a key part of keeping well. The body functions so much better, including keeping skin healthy and optimising brain function. Soups can be a good source water and minerals to keep us balanced. As an alternative, try spicy herbal teas for a change from tea and coffee. There are some delicious varieties containing cloves and cinnamon and even chilli too!

Regularly eating soup not only warms you up, many people find that they consumer fewer calories and feel full for longer too. A useful addition to your wellness toolbox if you are maintaining a healthy weight. They can also be a good way of using up odds and ends from the fridge or vegetable rack, so help you save on food waste too.

For some people, the cold weather can have far more serious complications, especially if they already have a compromised circulatory system. February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month, aiming to help increase the awareness and understanding of Raynaud’s and helping you recognise the symptoms. Scleroderma & Raynauld’s UK (SRUK) have produced a poster that is idea for sharing at work or a community space, to help people identify the problem and get treatment.

1 in 6 people in the UK live with Raynaud’s, it affects the blood supply to certain parts of the body, usually the fingers and toes. Typically, it will show as very white or dull black looking fingers and toes. It can be extremely painful ad sufferers can also experience stinging and throbbing sensations in their fingers and toes. It is important to get any circulatory issues check by your health provider or GP as people with Raynaud’s may go on to get an autoimmune problem too. If you are concerned for yourself or someone you know, SRUK have also produced an extensive information pack that you can download.

In the colder months, you may find it harder to regularly exercise, it is cold the evenings are dark, who wants to head out to the gym on a rainy evening? Think of ways to give your self some regular exercise that fit easily into your daily routine. A walk, at a fairly brisk pace, is a great way to boost the circulation and done regularly, can have a knock-on effect n your overall cardiovascular health.

It may be harder to exercise during the winter, but a brisk walk can warm you up as well as naturally supporting the cardiovascular system.

The common ones of getting off the bus a stop earlier, climbing the stairs instead of taking the lift, consciously swinging your arms more when you walk, often get repeated. But they are simple ways to get a bit more movement going without needing exercise plans and a new wardrobe full of lycra!

It is always worth reviewing your supplement regime every few months too, especially if it is a time of year where you are experiencing changes in your wellbeing. If your circulation seems a bit sluggish, look at what you are taking and consider adding something to your regime to support yourself.

It is always worth reviewing your supplement regime every few months, especially if the time of year is placing extra demands on your body.

Ginger, turmeric and other warming spices are available as supplements as well as adding them to your food. Nutrients that can be helpful include the B vitamin Thiamine which is needed for normal heart function as are the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, found in fish oils and lichen as a vegan source.

Co Q 10 is a co enzyme that works in the mitochondria of the cells, the engine room of the cell where Co Q 10 helps create energy within the cell. Vitamins C and E along with the mineral Selenium all play a role in protecting cells from oxidation, particularly for the lipids or fats, within a cell. These easy to obtain nutrients can make a valuable addition to your overall wellness regime.

So, while we wait for Spring to arrive, stay healthy and in doing so, you’ll stay warmer too.

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