Seasonal Eating : Can Warm Foods Improve Your Digestion in Winter?

Seasonal eating means adjusting the foods you consume based on the time of year. When the temperature dips, most people reach for steaming bowls of soup, hot plates of casseroles, and comforting hot beverages to warm up. The feeling of hot tea or soup warming your belly is just as comforting as it is filling. You may have heard that this warming effect could be good for your digestion. Is there any truth to this?

Unfortunately, eating warm foods doesn’t directly improve your digestion, but it may boost your calorie burn a smidgeon since your body has to expend energy cooling you down. The same would be true with a glass of ice water. Your body has to increase calorie expenditure warming you up.  While the temperature of the food may not make an impact, the types of warm foods often consumed during the winter can significantly improve your digestion.  

Here are a few go-to staples for seasonal eating in the winter:

Veggie Packed Soups

Soups are one way to pack in a ton of flavor, nutrients and especially fiber into your diet during the winter and can be easily modified to fit your seasonal eating. Soups come in an infinite number of flavors meaning you will never get bored of them. Plus, just when you thought you couldn’t pack any more veggies in your next bowl, you could throw a big handful of spinach or kale. It will wilt down to nothing and provide a considerable fiber boost!

Teas

Like soups, there are countless flavors of teas available. During the winter you may find yourself craving a cup of tea to help warm you up or just for comfort. Drinking warm tea can help boost your digestion by upping your fluid intake which will help keep things moving along. Teas that contain turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and cinnamon have an anti-inflammatory effect, which is not only good for the GI system, but the whole body. Green tea is also anti-inflammatory and contains caffeine.  Caffeine is a stimulant which can help trigger a bowel movement and relieve constipation.   

Winter Produce

The best way to practice seasonal eating is to consume produce when it’s in season. Winter produce such as pomegranates, kumquats, citrus, and winter squashes also add fiber to your diet. Moreover, they add variety and new flavors you don’t typically eat year around which might encourage you to increase the amount of produce in your diet overall. The more produce, the better your digestion will be!

Stay tuned for our next blog post about winter produce and some tasty recipes to take advantage of seasonal eating!