Winter and cold weather conjures up images of comfort foods, fattening stews, fried goodies, baked cookies, creamy soups and lots of it. By contrast, the hot temperatures of summer brings dishes like cool cucumber, refreshing watermelon, light salads and crisp bites. It turns out that your cravings for calorie rich foods and hefty portion sizes could be a throwback to a more primitive time when humans were stockpiling calories for a long winter.
It is not just the winter holidays and stress of family gatherings that makes you want to eat more. It is probably more directly related to light. As the days grow shorter and darker, you get hungrier sooner. Or maybe it is the holidays, with the tradition of lots of sweets and treats at parties and gatherings. Food is easy to come by at this time of year, so you may as well indulge. It could also be the warm fuzzy feelings that you associate with the winter holidays that prompt you to eat more.
Although carbs tend to be cravable, they are notoriously unsatisfying. You do not have to skip carbs altogether, unless you have a sugar or gluten intolerance. Try to moderate your cravings for carbs with something that will last longer and be more satisfying, like protein. Instead of filling up on bread, make a sandwich with some lean turkey to help fill you up.
In the summer, the warm weather means that your metabolism slows down. Your body does not have to work as hard to keep your temperature 98.6 degrees, which allows you to eat less and crave lighter meals with fewer calories.
Winter weather can also cause SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which has symptoms that are close to depression. To help battle SAD and other feelings of sadness and stress caused by the shorter days of winter, be sure to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins that battle stress. Stress can cause gut disorders, such as leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome, so it is important to avoid stress.
You should watch what you eat in any weather. Make sure to get healthy fats from fish seeds and nuts that help protect against inflammation that can cause gut disruptions. Avoid processed foods and simple carbohydrates that play with your energy levels, affect your mood and leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
It also important to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to constipation and other gastrointestinal problems. Water keeps your system flowing, enabling healthy digestion and promoting a healthy gut that can boost your immune system.
The weather undoubtedly plays a role in what you eat and how much you eat. By consciously making sure that you eat healthy while indulging in an occasional craving, you are able to maintain a healthy weight, enjoy bowel regularity and not suffer from gastrointestinal distress caused by processed and unhealthy foods.