When the cold snap descends, the urge to curl up under a blanket next to a roaring fire and do nothing is certainly a strong one to fight against. However, as seasons gradually shift to have more extreme weather conditions on both ends of the scale, most of our homes in South Africa are not really equipped to deal with the plummeting temperatures.

Sure, your fireplace might be doing the trick – provided you’re sitting right next to it, but sometimes when you have to move away from it the cold comes right back into your bones. Now, unfortunately, we can’t carry our fireplaces with us (sadly!) however humans have been fighting winter ever since the dawn of time, so there are ways around it without relying on our creature comforts.

Spice It Up

As much as we’d love to tell you to stay curled up in a blanket until summer comes back, unfortunately, we have to carry on as usual and deal with the cold. So, there are a few less obvious ways to keep warm by utilising certain ingredients in foods, such as:

1. Ginger

Thought to have thermogenic properties, which means it can stimulate your metabolism which contributes to your body’s core temperature, this root is certainly one to keep around in your vegetable drawer thanks to its versatility. Add it to your soups, marinades or simply put a few slices in a cup of hot water with lemon and honey.

2. Chilli

Sure, we all know that chillies are hot, some more than others, which make them a quick solution to add warmth to any meal. However, it’s important to remember that super-hot chillies will make you sweat, which actually cools you down. So, you want to stick to milder chillies like Jalapeños, but remember to remove the seeds for sensitive eaters.

3. Cinnamon 

Whether you use it whole or in powder form, cinnamon stimulates your blood circulation and is a healthy and easy way to boost your immune system, help with dampness inside your body, aid as a digestive tonic and help with your blood sugar. Simply add this super spice to your foods to help with all sorts of ailments and keep you warm too.

 4. Tumeric

The orange root cousin of ginger has its own beneficial properties that can keep us warm in the winter. Sure, this vibrant flavour helps with inflammation in your body, boosts your immune system, aids with detoxing your liver and might even help with dry skin, but its rich flavour also helps stimulate your blood circulation to help keep you warm.

Remember, if you want your body to receive the full nutritional benefits from these ingredients, try and purchase them in their raw form as opposed to bottled spices.

Now that you know what you can use to keep warm in winter, consider adding these ingredients to your soups, curries, potjies, meat rubs or hot drinks to turn any meal or drink into a winter warmer.