As the dark nights draw in it becomes important to stimulate the body during hours of daylight. Stimulating and vigorous exercise is important to remove stagnation and clear congestion in the body as well as being Exercise is an excellent way to stimulate digestion, regulate metabolism and clear toxins.
At this time of year for all you yoga heads, ramp up your Sun Salutations. Try building up to 12 rounds every day throughout the winter and reap the benefits!
Typical symptoms of compromised winter health
- Recurrent colds
- Recurrent coughs
- Runny nose
- Feeling cold or shivery
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
Ayurveda is the traditional medical system of India. It uses natural remedies and lifestyle recommendations to give optimum health. Poor health in winter can occur as the increase in wet, damp and cold weather can invade the body and cause similar feelings of heaviness, tiredness, cold and mucusy congestion. We also tend to eat a richer diet in the winter and this can lead to the digestion becoming imbalanced and the build up of toxins. Colds, ‘flu andfevers are the body’s way of ridding us of these toxins.
Some Ayurvedic dietary suggestions
Ayurveda says that all disease starts with a weak digestive system. So, the best advice is to keep your digestion healthy this winter using healthy eating habits:
- Eat fresh, seasonal food that is organically grown.
- Eat foods that are light, fresh, and easy to digest.
- Eat warm and soupy foods. Avoid raw, chilled or iced foods
- Do not eat too much or too little. Either extreme weakens digestion.
- Minimise the use of leftovers, canned, frozen or preserved foods.
- Do not eat lots of raw and cooked food together.
- Only eat when hungry and drink when thirsty.
- When you travel adjust your diet slowly as the change in water, food and climate can all adversely affect your digestion.
- Antidote extreme qualities of food with digestive spices e.g. Add warming dry spices to balance heavy wet food.
- If you get a cold or a fever reduce your diet and only eat light broths.
- If you suffer from mucus problems avoid dairy products, sugar, white flour and cold or icy food. Avoid all processed foods and all foods that increase cold or dampness in the body; cold salads, refrigerated fruit juices, ice cream, sticky toffee pudding!
- Increase nourishing and warm soups in your diet. Try this soup with 50g barley, 2 carrots, 2 beetroots, kale, seaweed (kombu, arame), 10 shitake mushrooms, 1 inch fresh ginger, 1 clove garlic. Add 1 tsp of Ashwagandha herb (or 2 capsules). Simmer for 2 hours. Eat freely; It’s delicious and healthy!