Winter warm ups

How do you warm up in the winter? Do you pile on another blanket, the heating pad, or more layers of clothing, possibly a hot cup of coffee or tea, or maybe some hot chocolate. These are all very comforting when coming in out of the cold after a long day, but do they have any lasting effects? Or, do you find the minute you're out from under that blanket, or finished with the coffee, that you're cold again? Well, join the crowd. Unfortunately, none of these remedies, although they are pleasing at the time, have any lasting effects -- and some work to keep us feeling even more chilled in the end.

Our ability to stay warm in the cold weather is tied to several factors, including our metabolism and how well it works. Our metabolism would be equivalent to the furnace in our home. Needless to say, we keep our furnace in good working order, especially during the winter months. Just as our body cannot run on caffeine, if you try to run a gas furnace on jet fuel it's not going to work very well -- nor is it going to heat the house. Our bodies are much the same way; they cannot run on fuel we cannot metabolize into energy.

Coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate, to a lesser degree, all contain caffeine, and have little or no food value. It is also a major stimulant to the body which causes several flight or fight reactions in our body. It revs the adrenal glands as well as other glandular functions causing us to burn more fuel than we have taken in which is why we may initially feel warmed. The caffeine also opens capillary beds temporarily warming cold hands and feet. When it wears off, the body will rebound and we're left with even colder hands and feet. So we reach for another cup, and another, and another; what a vicious cycle.

Try warming the body from the inside out. Herbal teas that contain ginger, licorice root, rose hips or hawthorne berries help relax the capillary beds, keeping fingers and toes warmer without the rebound effect of caffeine.

Hardy soups and stews made with winter vegetables, squashes, carrots, onions, turnips, cabbages all make usable fuel to keep the furnace going on a cold winter's night. Whole grains for breakfast, rolled oats, creamed brown rice cereals, and millet can keep a body warm all morning long.

Other herbs used to help increase circulation are cayenne, horseradish, ginko biloba, butcher's broom and goldenseal. Always use herbs as directed, and if you have a serious circulatory problem that is keeping you feeling cold, see your doctor.

Till next time- stay warm! Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online December 6, 2000

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