Do not let the polar vortex get the better of you as temperatures plunge below zero. We totally understand what your health and beauty concerns could be and we are here to help you glide through these freezing months. Your annual winter wellness guide is here!
Harsh winters can cause an imbalance of melanin in our body. The long dark nights of winter can lend themselves to physical slowing down, dryness and fatigue.
During these months, we often feel cold and drier. Our skin gets dry, sinuses begin to dry out, and so do the joints. As a result, the mucous membranes in the body start to become irritated and produce more mucus—and mucus is a breeding ground for colds, flu, and other bacteria.
According to Ayurvedic diet experts, in winter, or vata season, you need to eat more nuts, seeds, grains, soups, stew higher proteins and healthy fat foods that are denser and more insulating for the body.
Here are some Ayurvedic guidelines to help you warm up this winter, avoid getting sick, improve digestion and reconnect with circadian cycles of nature.
1. Oil Massage
Oil massages are widely recommended in Ayurveda, especially during vata seasons for its healing,detoxifying, hydrating and re-balancing quality. Oil therapy massages in Panchakarma treatments help the oil penetrate the skin, presses into tissues and releases toxins such as lactic acid and trapped oils and chemicals that may have seeped in. Sesame, the king of oils is excellent for those aged, or people with Vata afflictions and this particular season of windy cold days.
Shankara’s Sundarya Oil is a winter special body oil that brings with it the vast benefits of winter oleation, exclusively prepared from the richness of sesame oil, sunflower oleic oil, hempseed oil, aloe vera oil, essential oils made from Rose-Geranium leaf, vetiver, sandalwood, ylang ylang, jasmine and vanilla.
• The body oil has a nurturing effect on the body
• Luxurious floral essential oils to awaken your inner and outer beauty
• Sensuous and uplifting, leaves skin feeling supple-just what you need to get you through the winter
• Can be used as moisturizer, massage oil and bath oil
• Rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Strengthens and lubricates the joints and muscles
Need For Oleation Therapies
Oleation therapies like Abhyanga can tremendously help to purge the body of the toxins that collect in the body tissues, thanks to poor lifestyle habits, irregular diet and sleep cycles. It is specifically recommended for people with Vata dosha which gets vitiated during winters. Abhyanga is part of the Panchakarma treatment, which is a full body treatment that addresses the doshic imbalances, detoxifies and rejuvenates the system. Ayurveda doctors recommend a Panchakarma detox with every change of season. It includes massages, herbal medicated oil therapies based on your body constitution, and detoxifying diet tailor made based on your detoxification needs.
Sunbath is recommended in the Shishir Ritu (16 January- 15 March). Being an excellent source of Vitamin D it also replenishes our melanin stores.
3. Exercise and Yoga
Exercise is a must during winters.To prime your body for winter health, inverted poses increase circulation of lymph that moves through the body picking up bacteria and viruses and filtering them out via the lymph nodes. A decent set of 3 of Sun-Salutation can do wonders.
- Four Foods to avoid this winter season
1. Spicy foods.
The onset of winter makes us crave for spicy foods with an extra dash of fat. Fried and coated chillis, pakoras, frequent trips to the canteen for hot samosas are the orders for the season. Excess of spicy foods may cause dosha imbalance.Spicy foods do not warm up the body even though you may sweat after having them. Medically speaking, spicy food stimulates pain receptors in the tongue, and a response is generated which dilates blood vessels of the skin and there is a loss of heat from the body in the form of sweat.
2. Pre-cooked foods
All pre-cooked, overcooked, canned, reheated leftovers, refrigerated, frozen foods, processed foods are Tamasic foods. Gorging on Tamas-dominated food should be avoided by all body types during winters, as they are heavy to digest and lacks life force or Prana.When taken in excess can make you dull.
3. Sweets and aerated drinks
We tend to have more craving for sweets during winters because carbohydrate-rich foods cause blood sugar levels to spike, which raises blood insulin levels. When this happens, the amino acid tryptophan travels up to our brain, where it is converted to serotonin — a hormone that makes us feel happy. But their excess consumption causes insulin resistance. So, sweets and aerated drinks should be a consumed in a limit during the season.
4. Heavy to digest food
Meats is Tamasic and hard to digest. It takes longer to digest meat and makes the body duller in the bargain.
4 Foods to consume this winter season for optimum health
1. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, grapefruit, and kiwi are available in abundance in this season and they are best known sources of vitamin C, a key nutrient for supporting your immune system.
Orange gives you 62 calories, a medium orange provides up to 116 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement. The fruit is also rich in flavonoids, a class of antioxidants that may reduce the risk for heart disease, as well as potassium, a key nutrient for regulating blood pressure.So get inspired to juice up your meals and body’s winters defences.
2. Desi Ghee or clarified butter
Ghee helps the body absorb and use fat soluble vitamins A,D,E and K. It improves digestion and eyesight, keeps muscles healthy and removes impurities from the body. Omega 3 fatty acid present in Ghee helps fighting dry skin. Ghee hydrates your skin and makes it soft and healthy. You can use Ghee with raw milk and besan or gram flour and make a paste. Applying the paste to your face regularly in winters, gives you a bright and moisturized skin.
3. Hot Water
Water repairs Kapha dosha imbalances. Water consumption early in the morning kick starts your digestion.Water has the ability to flush out toxins from the body and this detox effect helps with problems like acne and obesity. So if you are suffering from obesity then drinking warm water will do wonders for you.
4. Fermented foods
Fermentation supports gut microbial immunity during the winter months. Fermented foods also warm the body. You can have cheese, yogurt, and sauerkraut.