Im almost afraid to ask How cold can it get? for fear that Mother Nature will show me.
By LISA ABRAHAM
Akron Beacon Journal
Like everyone else, Im trying to stay warm.
When I was growing up, there was a commercial on television for Cream of Wheat that showed a bowl of the hot cereal floating behind a child all day.
But some foods are considered thermogenic ones that will help our bodies generate heat. But will they keep us warm?
Kristin Kirkpatrick, manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, explained that while the effects of any foods that will warm us up will be short-lived, there are plenty of things we can eat to rev up our metabolism, and thats where thermogenic foods play their part.
When our metabolism is at its peak, our bodies are actually working harder, and we are warmer as a result. Think of it like exercise for your internal system.
Metabolism is your fire; we talk in terms of keeping your fire burning, Kirkpatrick explained.
Because the thermic effect of any food will be short-lived, the key is to continue to eat metabolism boosters throughout the day to keep our fires burning.
So what foods are we talking about?
• This seems like a no-brainer, but warm liquids, of course. Kirkpatrick said to think about standing outside in the cold and taking a sip of hot chocolate. We can feel the warmth go through our bodies, literally warming us up. Soup is a natural go-to at this time of year, as well as warm beverages like tea, especially green tea, and even coffee.
While soup will only make you feel warm for a short time, coffee and tea have caffeine, which is a natural metabolism booster, she said. Kirkpatrick said studies show that green tea is particularly effective in speeding up our metabolism.
• Eat whole foods, not processed foods, to keep your fire burning.
Studies have shown that processed foods actually slow down metabolism, while whole foods keep it going. Whole foods have a lot of fiber, which takes more energy to break down.
So think in terms of whole grains. For breakfast, opt for whole grains over processed ones (say, oatmeal instead of Froot Loops). For sandwiches, choose 100 percent whole grain bread over processed white bread.
• Eat foods high in iron. Kirkpatrick said studies show that folks who are iron-deficient have lower metabolisms, so getting iron naturally through foods, not though supplements, is a great booster. Spinach, lentils, tofu and oysters are good sources of iron. (So is that iron-fortified Cream of Wheat thats hovering around.) Yes, red meat is iron-rich, but its also a great way to pack on the pounds, so if you do choose red meat, enjoy lean cuts in moderation, Kirkpatrick said.
• Eat foods high in protein.
Consider having eggs for breakfast. Not only are they protein-packed, but they help make us feel satisfied and ward off cravings throughout the day. For snacks, nuts are another great source of protein, and theyre also a whole food.
Kirkpatrick noted that cravings are particularly difficult in the winter, because we tend to want heavy, calorie-laden foods that arent always the most healthful choices. So eggs for breakfast may make you skip the big bowl of mac and cheese later on.