Winters call for snuggling up in warm blankets, sipping hot tea or coffee, waking up late and lazy days for most of us. We also make the most of our improved appetite with gorging on fried food, stuffed “parathas” richly laden with ghee, and not to forget cakes, pastries and hordes of desserts. But unfortunately what is considered to be the healthiest season by Ayurveda turns out to be the unhealthiest due to this unhealthy regime followed by most of us.
Winters make us more vulnerable to illnesses, and may aggravate some serious health conditions. However, if we follow a healthy lifestyle that helps us tackle the cold weather and associated health conditions, then we will definitely enjoy winters and the health benefits gained during this season for the rest of the year.
Let us look at some dos and don't s for the winter season.
- To tackle harsh cold we need to keep ourselves warm. Layering is a good clothing option, not only is it chic but also a better way to stay warm, as layers of clothes trap body heat better.
- Winter brings dryness of skin and hairs. It is necessary to use ample moisturizer to keep our skin and hair soft and supple. Using moisturizer atop the skin and hair serum help maintain the suppleness. Juices of the herbs like holy basil (Tulsi) and Aloe Vera applied topically to the skin are an effective protection against the rude and dry winter.
- Massaging with warm Olive or Mustard Oil for 15 minutes before bath, at least twice a week, will provide warmth and alleviate skin dryness.
- We require more calories to maintain body heat during winters, instead of gorging on fatty foods it is advisable to consume nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios; besides providing calories these nuts also stave off a horde of diseases particularly, heart ailments.
- Make optimum use of your improved appetite and digestion to consume fruits and veggies. For e.g. start your day with a glass of warm water with a tsp of honey and a tsp of lemon juice. Have a wholesome and healthy breakfast. Add whole grains to your diet. Take Black Gram (Kala Chana) sprouts in the morning. Have citrus fruits in the forenoon. Have leafy veggies in lunch with multigrain flour chapatis and green "chutney". Have veg soups in the evening. Have dinner a little early. Take a glass of warm milk with 1/2 tsp turmeric pd half an hour before going to bed.
- It is also advisable to use spices and condiments like ginger, garlic, black pepper and cloves to produce heat in the body.
- Take Amla or Indian Gooseberry regularly to boost your immunity. You can add it to the chutney, or boil and deseed them and churn in the grinder to a coarse paste, now cook this paste with equal amount of sugar till its thick and have a jam-like consistency, you may also add saffron strings. Store it in refrigerator, have a tsp of this home-made amla Chawanprash twice a day to boost immunity. You may have 1/2 tsp dried amla pd instead, twice a day.
- Winters are favorable for flu viruses, washing hands frequently and/ or using a hand sanitizer will provide protection from viral infections.
- If you do catch cold nevertheless, take Echinacea at the first sign of a cold or flu. According to a research journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases this herb significantly reduces cold symptoms. Although it’s beneficial effects are long known to the homoeopaths. It also detoxifies our body (refer my post Acne Free Skin from Mystery To Reality: Golden Rule To Harmony#1). What is less known is that if you take Echinacea regularly, you can develop resistance to catching a cold.Echinacea
- Take allicin at the first hint of cold, it helps flushing out virus particles and eases congestion. Easiest way to get a dose of allicin is by eating raw onion or garlic. Take them in salad, or you may ingest 2-3 whole garlic pods with water in the morning.
- Take Aconite 200/ 3 doses at 10 min interval at the first signs of cold. This powerful Homoeopathic remedy will stop the flu in its tracks. A word of caution here is that it will act only in the first stage of illness; if the cold is already in advance stage then it won’t work. You will need specific Hom. Medicine according to symptoms then. In that case see a Homoeopath near you, or write to me if you want me to prescribe.
- However, Aconite 200/ one dose, daily if taken regularly during winters, acts as a preventive against cold and flu.
- Some people suffer from depression during winters, termed “Seasonal Affected Disorder” or SAD. Using a light box or bright-light therapy in the winter is found to be very effective. This therapy involves sitting in front of a light box first thing every day.
- The best way to remain healthy throughout winter is by taking adequate fluids. This does not imply taking tea/ coffee the whole day. Instead, opt for healthy fluids such as hot cocoa, green tea, hot healthy soups that keep your immune system active. You should take adequate water daily even if you do not feel thirsty during winters. Winters cause thickening of blood for reasons unknown, and the constriction of vessels to preserve body heat. These two conditions may spell doom in people with hard, constricted arteries such as hypertensive and diabetics, or people with blocked arteries, triggering a heart attack. The only solution is to maintain hydration during winters. You must drink water heated to normal temperature during winter.
- Make sure to stay active during winter to maintain proper circulation of blood inside your body. I know it is tempting to lie snuggled up during winter, but regular exercise done indoors prevents heart ailments as well as the joint troubles, also triggered by cold weather.
- Heat 2 pods of garlic in some mustard oil, cool and store. For painful joints, massage the affected area with this oil.
- Soak up the sunlight whenever you can to keep you warm and upbeat during winter.
- Add “Bathua” or Chenopodium album leaves to your diet. You may add Bathua leaves to your favorite soup recipe, or use boiled leaves as filling for parathas. Bathua are very good in relieving cold and cough, and significantly reduce production of phlegm.Bathua or Chenopodium Album
- Try "Suryabhedi Pranayam" to restore and maintain body heat during winters. Close your left nostril with your thumb, and inhale from the right nostril. Now, close your rt nostril and exhale from the left. Repeat for 5 min.
|Amla or Emblica|
So these were the tips to fight winter blues. Like all seasons winter has its own benefits. Make it adorable by following the right tips or deplorable by unhealthy living, the choice is yours.
I’d always advice you to choose smartly and enjoy Holistic Wellness!! Thanks for dropping by. Do leave your feedback, they are valuable to me.