Winter is a season to boost immune system and nurture our body and mind. Here are some health and lifestyle tips to stay happy,healthy and warm this winter.
As human body’s thermostat is working at its best to beat the outside cold and conserve body heat, people feel hungrier and eat better. But the issue is not with eating more, but it is more about eating junk and hard to digest foods. With the temperature dipping, it gives way to flu, cough and other contagious diseases too. Besides the weather feels dull and gloomy often. Hence we need to ensure that we take time to nurture our body and mind. Here are a few health and lifestyle tips to boost immunity and stay happy, healthy and warm this winter season.
Be conscious of what you eat
In general, immunity-boosting food include those that are fresh, organic, easy to digest, pure and wholesome.These include fresh from the farm, organic, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and desi ghee (Indian clarified butter). Foods that are hard to digest should be avoided this season. Foods that are convenient to eat like commercially- processed foods, as well as canned, frozen and packaged foods are old and difficult to digest, thereby weakening immunity. Leftovers, foods laced with preservatives or food grown with chemicals clog the digestive system and also create sluggishness and low energy levels for the body and mind.
Eat seasonal and local
Foods that nourish and balance the body and mind in the cold, dry, winter season are of sweet, salty and sour taste. It’s best to eat less of the astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes in winter, although all six tastes should be included in your diet. Warm, home-cooked meals with locally sourced ingredients are ideal, as long as they are not deep-fried and if needed cooked with easy-to-digest oils which are local to the region . Avoid cold or ice-cold foods, as cold foods and drinks kill the digestive fire.
Spice to fire
Indian food is never complete without spices and while it boosts the taste buds, it’s actually good for the immune system too. Spices and herbs like ginger, black pepper, coriander leaves, curry leaves, turmeric, cinnamon and fennel are excellent to boost immunity and flavor in the food we make. Hot teas made using these spices and herbs can be a good replacement for the regular tea during the cold season. They help us to maintain the body heat and boosts the digestive fire too.
Tweak the lifestyle – one step at a time
It is necessary that we take out time to detoxify our system on a regular basis. We can start with playing some sports, and/or include yoga and pranayam(breathing practices), go for walks/hikes in nature (even a walk in the park, courtyard or the road would be fine). If we sleep a little early and wake up a little early, be conscious about what we eat and when we eat and remain hydrated as and when required, we can embrace the cold season in a better way.
Bust the stress
Stress related diseases and lifestyle issues do not just reduce immunity but contribute to mental health issues too. While we focus on right eating, it is important we look at the perks of realigning our body-mind- emotions into a harmonious balance. The cold season feels gloomy, dull to lull and mentally draining of all. We can include some form of yoga, meditation, creative exercises, art, music and dance in our everyday life. It allows us to bust the stress and channelize our inner creative potential to heal, rejuvenate and embrace the feminine aspect within us.
Though there is a lot of hue and cry about winter, this season is a time when nature nurtures you. This is a time to shift the focus from outside to actually nurturing your mind and body by eating right, maintaining a harmonious lifestyle and slowing down the pace of life. It’s a season to celebrate and let the creative juices flow. Turn inward and light up the fire within this winter.
How are you treating winter and how is winter treating you? We would be happy to hear more from you.