Discover the balance of ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ foods in Chinese cuisine.
When you think of warming foods, a piping hot bowl of soup might come to mind, but it may surprise you to learn that it’s not just the temperature of your food that will help you warm up. In Chinese culture, ingredients fall into either the ‘warming’, ‘cooling’ or ‘neutral’ category, based on their effects on the body. Embrace the warm ingredients this winter and you’ll be on your way to improved digestion and general wellbeing.
Herbs and Spices
Did you know that chilli can help you cool down, rather than warm up? If you want to feel toasty from the inside out, reach for spices like ginger, garlic, galangal, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin and fennel. Is it any wonder we crave curries and spiced stews during winter?
You can also warm your body from within by choosing the right protein source. Beef, chicken, lamb, ham and tofu are all celebrated for their warming properties, which might explain why we hanker for hearty beef dishes during the cooler months.
Fruits, Vegetables and Starches
Bulk out your meal with warming fruits, vegetables and starches, such as coconut, dates, mandarin peel, mango, leek, mustard greens, onion, pumpkin, potato, rice and oats.
Stews and Soups
The temperature of your food plays a role too—though perhaps not in the way you might think. By avoiding raw foods and indulging in well-cooked dishes, the digestive system doesn’t have to work so hard to break down the foods, ensuring an even distribution of heat throughout your body and aiding in the absorption of nutrients.
Hint: Wine is also on the warming list, so feel free to pour yourself a glass while you’re cooking dinner.