Winter is the season when nature is ready to nurture us. Our body is compact, stiff, has maximum strength & a normal resistance in winters. Our body is in a state of balance/equilibrium & unless provoked by rash eating & irregular habits it remains so.
Diwali is an indicator of approaching healthy winter season ahead. Energy is conserved in this period for the rest of the year. Winter has a bad reputation of being called the flu season when contagious diseases like cough, cold, running nose and other respiratory disorders are common but as per Ayurveda, winter is actually the best season to improve immunity only if you know how to strengthen your immunity.
In Ayurveda, immunity is said to be directly proportional to digestion. When digestion is strong and appetite is good our immunity is strengthened. Whatever weakens digestion weakens the immunity. Due to the digestive level being very high, people feel hungrier, and can actually digest food better in winter, thus nourishing their bodies.There is the misconception that this season is bad for immunity as due to increased hunger, people start eating more junk, heavy and hard to digest food resulting in a weakened immunity. Thus it is important to understand that we ourselves are responsible for creating the bad immunity by eating such food and not that the nature is giving it to us. So to increase immunity, it is more important that people eat immunity-boosting foods in winter.
Immunity-boosting food are those that are fresh, organic, easy to digest, pure and wholesome. These include fresh, organic milk and yogurt, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and ghee (clarified butter).Food & spices that energize the body & keep us warm should be taken. Digestion enhancing spices should be added to food while cooking.
- Do not to skip meals.
- Eat pure, fresh & warm home-cooked food and drinks including freshly prepared soups.
- Avoid cold or ice-cold foods, as these reduce the digestive fire and decrease immunity.
- Stay away from canned or processed foods that contain additives and chemical preservatives.
- Honey, wine & vinegar are healthier in winters.
- Warm drinks, such as herbal teas are useful.
- Supplements like Chyavanprash, that has amalaki (Indian gooseberry) as its ingredient should be included in your diet. It’s one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin C and antioxidants, and has immune-enhancing effects.
- In winter, when the days are shorter and the nights are longer, it’s natural for the body to crave more rest. So try going to bed a little earlier to wake up with more stamina and freshness.
- Oil massage (abhyanga) in winters helps enhance immunity. It improves the blood circulation, stimulates organs of the body, flushes out impurities and builds resistance to stress and disease.
- Exercise vigorously to avoid accumulation of kapha. This is a must-do thing.
Though all 6 tastes should be enjoyed in winters but the preferred tastes are sweet, sour and salty tastes. It’s best to eat less of the astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes.
- Drink warm water.
- Have lots of bajra, wheat, green vegetables, cabbage, cheese, milk, jaggery, sesame seeds.
- Have non-veg food, meat-soup & flesh of aquatic animals.
- Preparations of sugarcane should be taken.
- Go in for dry-fruits.
- Cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, cloves, turmeric, ajwain, sesame seeds, ginger should be added to food while cooking.