Beat the Cold the Ayurvedic Way – Winter and Ayurveda

It is almost winter now. Winter is called the season of cold, flu and infections. Changes of every season require the change in the diet and lifestyle. Ayurveda prescribes a distinctive lifestyle and recommendations to beat the cold.

Winter And  Ayurveda – Ayurvedic classification of winter season 

In Ayurvedic context, one year is classified into 6 ritus called seasons of 2 months each. Winter season is called as Hemanta and Sishira.

  • Hemanta indicates clear winter, starts from mid of November to mid of January.
  • Sishira indicates dewy and cold season, starts from mid of January to mid of March.

Winter is the season predominated by kapha dosha. Kapha dosha refers to cold, dampness, heaviness, etc. Generally, predominant kapha leads to cough, cold, dullness, etc. So, cold atmosphere may create an imbalance in the body, which leads to many, winter oriented diseases.

Imbalance of Doshas in Winter and Ayurveda 

In addition, winter also accompanies dryness, which also aggravates the vata element in your body. Vata simply means dryness. Dryness in winter is more severe than summer as it affects your hair and skin. When it is winter, you tend to suffer a lot from dryness of skin and need to change the skincare and haircare regimen.

Diet in Winter and Ayurveda – The Ayurvedic Way of Eating 

Ayurvedic recommendations to beat cold starts with diet. In fact, diet plays a vital role in Ayurvedic principles.

Eat seasonal produce! This is the key to Ayurvedic eating. Mother Nature knows what humans need with every season. A winter friendly diet helps you stay healthy during the cold season.

Digestive fire remains at its strongest capacity during winters. Besides, the body has good immunity and strength during this season. You should focus on enhancing the immunity. It will more likely to make you eat in larger quantities, which is quite natural in winter. You can literally digest any choice of food, regardless of the quantity and heaviness during winter. So, your body needs a lot of fuel and energizing foods.There are high chances that you might eat heavy foods that might affect your health.

  • Flavors like sweet, sour and salty are recommended during winter. These flavors reduces the vata imbalance.
  • You can add a lot of oil and ghee in your cooking. Milk and milk products, wheat, jaggery, etc can be added more in your diet.
  • Include a lot of root vegetables (the seasonal veggies of winter), fresh grains , etc.
  • Avoid taking pungent foods as it might increases your appetite and make you eat more.
  • Similarly, avoid taking bitter foods as it might aggravate dryness in your body caused by vata imbalance.
  • Drink warm water and herbal teas to relax the digestive system and regulate the bowel movement.
  • Enjoy a cup of hot or warm milk infused with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg!

Although digestive fire is strong, you need to keep your body warm. So, you can add ginger in your diet and drink healthy, clear soups with ginger. Even though you would love to eat some hot and spicy foods to counteract winter, it is recommended to go for those that are mildly spicy!

Winter and Ayurveda – The Lifestyle Recommendations 

The cold climate rips the natural moisture and oiliness from the hair and skin. So it is recommended to have a regular oil massage at least twice a week. Just heat some sesame oil and apply it all over body before taking bath. Also, winter may cause body aches. Oil massage relaxes the body and reduces pain.

Don’t take bath in hot water, rather take a bath in warm water.

Do exercises regularly (don’t strain yourself) during cold climate. In fact, winter is the best season to get back in shape. Even if you do some simple exercise for a few minutes, you can sweat out a lot and it keeps your body warm.


Image Courtesy : ( Andrew Vargas )

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