We may know intuitively that heated foods keep us warm, but the principle is so important that it’s key to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which advocates eating for the seasons. ‘Salads and raw foods are too cold to eat in winter, so too are “damp foods”, such as dairy, wheat, sugar and rich meats such as pork,’ explains nutritionist and TCM practitioner Nadia Brydon. ‘We need to consume foods that help to warm and dry the body from inside. One of the best ways is to eat nourishing soups.’ (See below.) Here are some tips:
- Cook up a colourful array of winter vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, dark leafy greens, leeks, onions, garlic, parsnips, carrots, turnips and beetroot, and combine with dried beans.
- Add extra flavour with warming spices such as cloves, fresh ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, mustard, pepper, dried or fresh citrus peel and herbs such as rosemary, which is particularly good for circulation in the head (it might help your memory and perhaps hair growth, too).
- Arthritis can feel worse in the winter and the super-nutritious green algae chlorella has been shown to help. Try sprinkling your soup with Sun Chlorella A granules (£21.95 for 20 sachets, from victoriahealth.com).
- Contact Nadia Brydon via email@example.com
FIVE OF THE BEST WINTER WARM-UPS
- British wool bedding from the Wool Room gained rave reviews from one tester: ‘The all seasons duvet and cushiony double-sided wool mattress topper make you feel cocooned. Both my boyfriend and I have definitely slept better. He hasn’t suffered from his usual night sweats and broken sleep.’ Deluxe Double All Seasons Duvet, £190, and Double-sided Wool Topper, £160 for a double, thewoolroom.com, 01780 461217.
- The Pill hot water bottle by Authentics (below). Shaped like a small, round cushion (it’s about ten inches across), this free-standing hottie is filled via a pull-out funnel. The neoprene cover keeps it warm for up to five hours. £35, amazon.co.uk.
- The Uniqlo Heattech range is a revolution in affordable, keep-you-toasty clothing. We are wedded – make that welded – to the long-sleeve, long-length tees with round or polonecks (men’s and women’s sizes from £9.90, children’s from £4.90). There are also long johns and socks. uniqlo.com.
- Sealskinz gloves, socks and hats are a boon for outdoor types, including riders – both horse and bike. A horsey friend told me her pink high-vis All Weather Riding Gloves, £40, saved her from freezing, chapped hands. I also love the Mid Weight Knee Length Socks, £35, which keep my feet warm and dry even in leaking wellies. sealskinz.com.
- Moccis are what we used to call slipper socks, and these moccasins-cum-ankle- warmers have become a cult buy for all ages. Handcrafted in Sweden (they’re totally Sara Lund), they’re made of nonslip leather with cotton or wool knit uppers, are machine washable and come in more than 30 designs. From £34.97 a pair, moccis.co.uk.
TIME TO GET MOVING
When I asked chiropractor Dominic Cheetham (who keeps me upright and able to ride my horse, despite my scoliosis) what the one health message he wants everyone to hear is, he re- plied: ‘Sit less, move more.’ The amount of time you spend sitting is linked to a significantly high- er risk of dying from a wide range of diseases. ‘If you have to sit down for work, try to get up and walk around briskly for five minutes every hour – or even march on the spot,’ says Dominic. ‘In the evenings, be active: walk, dance, run up and down stairs, go swimming. It will certainly keep you warm and it might help save your life.’ If you are disabled, the English Federation of Disability Sport (efds.co.uk) can signpost you to a wide range of opportunities for exercise.
BOOK OF THE WEEK SOUP GLORIOUS SOUP
by Annie Bell (Kyle Books, £14.99*)
You could pretty well live out of this book – and I may do just that this winter. It offers more than 100 mouthwatering, well-tested recipes for soups of every texture, from delicate consommés to meals in a bowl.
*to order a copy for £13.49 with free p&p, contact the you bookshop on 0844 472 4157, you-bookshop.co.uk