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Five Foods That Can Help Keep You Warm This Winter

As the arctic air keeps on bringing brutal temperatures to a large part of the United States, people can do more to keep warm besides wearing a coat, hat and gloves.

A variety of foods can help the body stay warm during these winter months. Heather Nicholds, a holistic nutritionist who has the Healthy Eating Starts Here website, said grains, spices and oils give the body energy to keep warm.

1. Ginger

Ginger not only helps the body stay warm, but it also helps boost the immune and digestive systems.

Ginger can be used in salad dressings, soups such as ginger carrot soup, and baked goods. You can even drink ginger in hot water.

Ginger carrot soup, photo courtesy of Healthy Eating Starts Here.

2. Coconut Oil

Fats in general, such as coconut oil, keep the body warm through metabolizing, Nicholds said.

You don't eat it, but coconut oil can also be used as a moisturizer, which will prevent the body from losing heat through dry skin, she said.

3. Cinnamon and other spices

You don't want things too spicy because spices such as cayenne can make you sweat and cause you to lose heat, Nicholds said.

Cinnamon, cumin, paprika, nutmeg and allspice help increase the body's metabolism and generate heat.

4. Whole grains

Oatmeal isn't just a breakfast food. It can be used to add whole grains to dinner such as a savory balsamic oatmeal.

Eaten hot, rolled oats, brown rice, millet and other whole grains give immediate warmth and also provide needed complex carbohydrates to fuel the body's engine.

Nicholds said the grains are a good source of B vitamins and magnesium, which help the thyroid and adrenal glands better regulate the body's temperature during a time when they slow down from the colder weather.

Savory Balsamic Oatmeal, photo courtesy of Healthy Eating Starts Here.

5. Hot soups

Hot soups seem obviously for the winter months, but the timing of the foods are important, too, Nicholds said.

A salad, for instance, can be eaten during the afternoon when the body is at its warmest.

But a stew or a soup, such as a chickpea tomato soup, in the evening can help keep the body warm through the night.