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Eat warm, stay warm

It’s winter, which means coughs, colds and various kinds of the flu are here. This is because we do not eat enough of the foods that have a warming effect on the body.

health and fitness Updated: Dec 11, 2010 18:46 IST
Dr Shikha Sharma

It’s winter, which means coughs, colds and various kinds of the flu are here. This is because we do not eat enough of the foods that have a warming effect on the body. In fact, many of us don’t even know about foods that have a warming taasir and foods that have a cooling taasir.

Taasir refers the impact that food has on the body. You could also call it food’s post-digestive effect. Aside from their nutritive effect, foods also have the ability to make an impact on our bodies with their own energies. So they can also be defined by their energy type. Here I will list some foods that have cold energies and some with warm energies.

Foods with a cold taasir:
Milk and milk products – dairy produces phlegm in the body, particularly if your body type is also kapha. This can result in colds and coughs. In this weather, avoid buffalo milk, which is highly acidic but is also the kind of milk most often sold in cities, curd, cold milk and cheese.

Cold beverages – This includes soft drinks. All cold beverages produce kapha.

Alcohol – Alcohol has a dual impact on the body. To begin with, it makes you lose your inhibitions and become more expressive. This is accompanied by a rush of blood to the skin, because it opens up peripheral circulation. But as you continue to drink, your nerves become dull and your body turns cold. That’s because of all the internal heat you have previously lost.

Overeating – When you overeat, your body shifts its energies from heating the body to digestion. It is important to eat the right quantity of food, as under-eating also makes the body cold. Only if you eat the right kind and quantity of food will you get your the body metabolism high.

Bananas, rice, barley, cold water and ghee all have a cold taasir.

Foods with a warm taasir:
All the spices in garam masala, including badi elaichi, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon.
All non-vegetarian foods, especially eggs and meats.
Carrots and beetroots.
Coffee powder.
Hot water keeps the body warm.

- From HT Brunch, December 12

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