As summer fades into autumn and winter, we start to think about our central heating again - our first instinct can be to crank the thermostat up as soon as things turn chilly. But if you want to save some pennies, here are a few easy ways to stay snug as a bug through winter.
Food and drink
Not many things beat some belly-warming food on a cold evening, but did you know that certain foods are better at heating you up than others? Here are a few suggestions that’ll warm you right through.
• Energy – Tucking into food packed with healthy fats and complex carbs can be good for you. Fats – like those in nuts and avocados – help provide insulation and give our metabolism an extra push, so our bodies stay warm. Complex carbs in brown rice or rolled oats also make our bodies work hard to break them down – meaning we generate more body heat.
• Spices – Some spices (like ginger, cinnamon, and pepper) also boost your metabolism and improve your circulation, making sure your fingers and toes stay nice and warm.
• Drinks – Having a hot drink always warms you from the inside. But the calories in hot chocolate, and the caffeine in tea and coffee, can also boost your metabolism.This helps your body start working like a mini furnace. If you’re old enough to drink alcohol, a hot toddy can improve blood flow and flush you with warmth – but this only works indoors. If you drink outdoors, the widened blood vessels can actually cause you to lose that precious heat.
Dressing for cold weather
Unsurprisingly, the clothing you wear can also have a big say in keeping you warm or cool. When it’s cold outside and you’re indoors, wrapping up can keep you comfortable without needing to turn the heating up.
• Layers – Piling the fabrics on until you’re as mobile as a snowman might look warm, but pick the wrong materials and you’ll either be sweltering or damp, sweaty and cold. Pick a soft, snug base layer that draws moisture away – polypropylene is great for this – and top it with a lightweight, breathable layer that keeps heat in – such as a fleece.
• Extremities – While the myth that you lose almost half of your body heat through your head was debunked, exposed skin still lets heat escape from the rest of your body. Your body also shuts down the circulation to your fingers and toes to protect your vital organs, but thick socks or slippers can stop you losing that vital warmth.
• Blankets – What better way to feel cosy than wrapping up in a big, warm blanket? Flannel is a reliable alternative to cotton and keeps you much warmer, while alpaca fleece is well-known for its softness and cosiness.
Getting out and about
Staying warm isn’t always about curling up on your own – sometimes it helps to share the warmth.
• Social snugness – To cut heating costs down for lots of people at once, you could suggest getting together with friends or family. With a group of people under one roof, the combined body heat and goodwill can warm you up just as much as a boiler.
• Hosted heating – It doesn’t have to be your home that hosts the heating horde – public buildings like libraries and coffee shops can also be a good place to gather, and entry to these heated havens is normally free.
• Warm-up walkabouts – Our bodies burn more energy when we’re active, which in turn raises our body temperature. So going for a walk is definitely a way to get the blood flowing – just remember to wrap up if you’re going outside.
When the winds of winter arrive, it can be a struggle to keep our homes warm and our wallets happy at the same time. But if you combine handy homecare hints, body-temperature boosters and reliable boiler cover, staying snug this winter will be a hibernation haven.