When winter hits, it hits hard and below the belt. Warming up those popsicle toes and frostbitten cheeks can seem utterly impossible. What's worse? Being cold never looks cute - we scrunch up our shoulders, layer on the bulky clothes and tend to eat our way to warmth with comfort foods.
The good news? These winter-y spices can warm you up while also protecting you against some of winter's major health challenges. So skip those '80s ear muffs and start experimenting with spice:
Allspice. Not just for fruitcakes (or men's deodorant), this spice delivers a variety of flavors that can 'warm' up the taste of any soup, vegetable dish or baked good, while also packing heat for you. It promotes digestion and lends anti-inflammatory effects to your weary winter bod.
Cinnamon. While we're not giving permission to go overboard, the addition of cinnamon - which acts like insulin - to your winter treats (hot cocoa, butternut squash soup, baked sweet potato) will help the body's cells absorb sugar (i.e. carbs) so it doesn't stay too long in your blood. Pass the snickerdoodles!
Red Clover. Whether you're trying to avoid that nasty cold or actually dealing with flu/cold symptoms, this spice helps soothe frayed nerves and aid your respiratory system. Add red clover to cooked vegetable medleys, grilled vegetable salads and even tacos.
Comfrey. Snuggle up with this spice for its multitude of healing benefits, which include improved digestion and elimination of trapped mucus. Bye bye, snot factory. You can even make it into a nighttime tea with some honey for those times when a stuffed nose, a cough or a bellyache threaten to keep you from your best Z's.
Nutmeg. This warm, sweet spice can enhance the flavor of any winter dish. But it's also your kitchen's best-kept energy secret, aiding the adrenals to give you a better chance at optimal energy when combined with the right foods.
Oregano. It ain't just for spaghetti. Oregano oil taken as a daily supplement - or at the first sign of a cold - helps fight off the bad bacteria that wants to take you down.
peppermintPeppermint. Soothing and relaxing, peppermint helps raise your internal temperature when consumed as tea. Capture the most benefits by placing a lid or saucer over your tea cup to steep for at least five minutes. (But steer clear if you suffer from acid reflux or are taking homeopathic remedies.)
Before you raid the neighbor's herb garden, be sure to check with your doc if you're preggo or are taking medications for anything. Happy warming!
What are your favorite winter spices? Tell us on healthybitchdaily.com
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