7 Food And Drinks Scientifically Proven To Warm You Up (And One That Won’t)

January 15, 2016

When the weather gets cold, we reach for items like soup or tea to keep us warm. And while there are plenty of old wives tales out there regarding certain foods ability to heat us up, science has been able to prove what works – and what doesn’t.

Some of these will be obvious while others may surprise you. Get cozy and read on!

1. Coffee

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Would you believe us if we said iced coffee will heat you up best? Photo: @coffeexample / Instagram

It’s important to note that coffee legitimately helps you heat up, but it has nothing to do with the warmth of the beverage. As a matter of fact, you’d be better drinking iced coffee.

It’s the high amounts of caffeine in coffee which stimulate your metabolism, encouraging your body to burn fuel. Your best bet is drinking it black since cream and sugar will just break down instantly and produce a sugar crash.

2. Fresh Ginger

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“Break me off a piece 'o that ginger root.” Photo: @swamprabbitcafe / Instagram

Ginger is another way to get your blood flowing, helping to warm your extremities and keep away the chills.

While you might be tempted to throw this spice into a dish or soup, you’ll maximize your benefits if you eat the root raw (not quite as appetizing). You’ll also get similar but less noticeable effects from other root vegetables like carrots or beets.

3. Cayenne Pepper

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Oh yeah, you know that upper lip sweat’ll keep you warm. Photo: @sweetdomesticity / Instagram

Finally, a spicy food on this list. While any spicy pepper will help you break into a quick sweat, you’ll also notice the prolonged effect of digesting the fiery fruits. This effect is due to the chemical called capsaicin that is found in all peppers, meaning you’ll experience similar results with jalapenos and habaneros as well.

4. Peanuts

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Of course, this will NOT do the trick if you’re allergic. Photo: @lauhaus1 / Instagram

Good grief! Peanuts are high in vitamin B-3, which promotes blood flow, and kick starts your metabolism — two key components in fending off the cold. With healthy fats and plenty of protein, they’re a smart snack any time of year, but will also help you combat dropping temperatures.

5. Brown Rice

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Toss some cayenne pepper on that dish and you’ll feel extra toasty in no time. Photo: @teffyperk / Instagram

Refined rices and flours turn into simple carbs almost instantly, leading to sugar crashes like the ones mentioned above. Brown rice, on the other hand, is a complex carbohydrate that your body will break down slowly over time, resulting in an extended release of energy and (you guessed it) heat.

6. Coconut Oil

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Is there anything it can’t do? Photo: @nayeli_bbyw / Instagram

Much like peanuts, coconut oil is full of healthy fats, which turn into fuel instead of spare tires. Again, essentially, you’re promoting your metabolism to do what it does: generate energy that makes you feel warm, not to mention other benefits of coconut oil, like its antiviral and blood sugar-stabilizing properties.

7. Ice Water

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I mean, it works so long as you don’t dump it on your head. Photo: @ashmanfrq / Instagram

Seems counterintuitive, don’t it? Your whole life you’ve been raised to believe that warm drinks like hot chocolate are perfect winter beverages. But your basal body temperature will fluctuate to try and counteract the effects of hot liquid, meaning your body temperature will drop from drinking even one cup of cocoa. Cold water has the opposite effect, raising your core temperature to counteract the chilly liquid.

8. NOT Alcohol

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Britney does not know how to handle this new information. Photo: @ranga_god / Instagram

Despite rumors to the contrary, alcohol is a horrible way to stay warm. The rush of heat that drinkers feel is the warm, fresh blood leaving their core and heading to their extremities. Though you might feel warm in the short term, it will make it harder to stay warm over time, increasing your risk of hypothermia.