What do you typically associate with winter? Is it a cup of hot cocoa? A pie fresh out of the oven? A sweet and warm cinnamon roll? Wait… why are these all edibles?
During winter, the human body tends to want to develop more fat to stay warm, which might be the reason for constantly craving food. But using high-calorie foods, soups, and hot drinks as a source of warmth is not a good long-term strategy. And their heat doesn’t last.
To stay warm, we should boost blood circulation, and understanding the character of different types of food can help get us there.
So, let’s take a look at some good candidates for your grocery cart.
According to the Chinese herbology book Compendium of Materia Medica, written by the great doctor Li Shizhen in the sixteenth century, lamb is good for strengthening the body. Mild and slightly sweet, it’s also a good choice for people who watch their cholesterol levels and weight. Common Asian lamb recipes include lamb stew with herbs, pan-fried lamb with scallion, and lamb radish soup. All topped with warming ingredients, these dishes make a great choice for a winter meal.
Tong ho is an edible type of chrysanthemum leaf, and a common winter green on the Chinese menu. Traditional Chinese medicine texts say it can help nourish the stomach, reduce phlegm, and relieve stress. Tong ho doesn’t need much dressing to taste good, and so it has the added advantage of being kitchen dummy friendly.
According to the Chinese theory of five elements, water symbolizes winter, kidney, and the color black. And so in winter we should take good care of our kidneys to stay healthy. Choosing food that has the color of the season is a good place to start. Black fungus is an excellent choice due to its high nutritional content. The iron it contains can boost blood circulation and improve the ability to endure cold. It is also said to be good for digestion and weight loss. Do note, though, that according to Chinese medicine black fungus is not suitable for people who have a weak stomach, and women should also avoid it on certain days of the month.
Here comes another dark food! The humble black bean is actually called “the king of beans” due to its incredible functions. According to traditional Chinese medicine, black beans have highly effective anti-aging properties, and frequently consuming it encourages a healthy, youthful look. Black beans are high in protein—making it a popular go-to food for vegetarians. It is also helpful for blood sugar regulation, eye protection, and heart health. If you find just beans a bit boring, you can make it more interesting by sugarcoating, pan-frying, or roasting them. You can easily turn black beans into a healthy snack you can enjoy at any time!
One ingredient you don’t want missing from your winter pantry is yam. Since ancient times, yam has been used for strengthening the body. It is said to blunt the effect of sodium and reduce blood pressure, as well as have several properties beneficial to the digestive system and weight loss. And yam can be a delicious, heart-warming food on its own without too many spices.
So, what’s on your winter menu? Please share with us how you stay warm and healthy during the cold months.
Hope to see you soon!