HOT OR COLD MEALS – WHEN AND HOW?

Centar za nutricionizam i dijetetiku inga markovic

Dietary thermogenesis (DT) is a phenomenon of increasing body temperature right after consuming food. The food has a significant impact on our bodies, especially when we are talking about our diet during winter or summer days.

In our body, the breakdown of food that is the carrier of proteins (meat and meat products, dairy, and dairy products) leads to the increase of the basal metabolism and the feeling of pleasant warmth after a meal. If we consume proteins only, the increase is higher for 30%, but if we consume only carbohydrates, that number will jump for only 6%. When it comes to fat, consuming fat only leads to an increase of 4%. Since our diet is diverse, it is believed that dietary genesis increases caloric needs for 5-10%.

Climatic factors or the weather, especially extremely high or low temperatures, affect the increase or decrease of the metabolism, for sure. During extreme heat, our body decreases the need to preserve body temperature, which leads to a lowering of the total daily caloric intake needs as well. Every time the temperature gets over the average annual temperature in the moderate climatic region for 10C, it is important to reduce the caloric value of meals, calculated based on our body mass number, up to 5% even. For example, if the external temperature is around 30C, and our daily caloric needs are around 2000 kcal, we need to reduce the intake of calories for around 100 kcal.

The Asian diet dedicates a lot of attention to carefully choosing energetically hot or cold ingredients, depending on the weather outside. The macrobiotic diet stands on a similar principle, as well. The food that warms up the body should be consumed during colder days, while the food that can cool us down should be eaten during hot days.

Hot soups, warm broths, and stews with meat are a good option during the winter months, as well as hot and strong spices that will warm up our body for sure. During summer months or high temperatures, in general, Asian people fight heat consuming cold teas, fruit juices, and cold salads made with fresh celery, aloe vera, cucumbers, pineapples, and watermelons. It is important to know that the cold energy of these ingredients is great in cases of increased body temperature, as well.

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