Do you Know winters are the best time to build immunity and nurture our body? Yes, you heard it right, though we think that winters come with cold, flu, cough, and other low immunity-related problems. But winters are the time when our digestive fire is high and due to the high digestive level, we feel hungrier, and can actually digest food better in winter, thus nourishing our bodies more.
Other seasons are better for purifying, but winter is the time to build up and nourish anything — your skin, hair, body, and mind. It’s also the best season for taking Rasayanas or rejuvenators and other herbs because of the high level of digestion.
Here are some guidelines to maintain optimum health during this winter season.
1. Food plays a very important role in the maintenance of health Ayurveda describes six tastes of foods-sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Foods that are sweet-sour and salty are especially beneficial in cold and dry winters. Avoid bitter and spicy food as they tend to increase the vata element and cause dryness in the body. One can take nutrient-dense foods like nuts and dates, cow’s ghee, cheese, and warm herbal teas that are beneficial. Moderation is important while taking nutrient-dense foods.
2. Teas made with combinations of ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper or coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel seeds encourage strong digestion and can be taken after meals.
3. Heating vegetables like radishes, cooked spinach, onions, carrots, and other root vegetables are good for this time of year, as are hot spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cayenne, and chili peppers.
4. Legumes are generally good for kapha, but they should be soaked in warm water prior to cooking, well-cooked, well-spiced, and prepared with desi ghee so as not to aggravate vata.
5. In winters, Milk should be taken with a pinch of turmeric or dried ginger and nutmeg.(Plain milk aggravates Kapha elements of the body, which slow down the metabolism.)
6. Drink warm water in winters, it helps to maintain body temperature and helps in easy digestion of food.
7. Exercise regularly in this season. Massage your body with warm herbal oil and take bath in warm water. Sesame oil infused with herbs like Bala (Sida cordifolia) help to prevent flaring up skin diseases in the winter season. Dry skin and other skin problems can be prevented by regularly massaging the skin with oil.
8. In winter, when the days are shorter and the nights are longer, our bodies crave more rest. Try going to bed a little earlier, and wake up with more vitality and freshness.
There are certain winter herbs like AMLA that promote immunity and are very good for health. I Will discuss these herbs in detail in the next article. Till then follow these diet and lifestyle guidelines.
Wishing you Health and Happiness