With the change in the season, we can observe the change in various elements of environment. Right from spread of greenery in monsoon to blossoms during spring to the trees losing its green cover during the winter and summer time. The seasonal variation even affects the animals, hibernation during winter for some animals is a great example. We being a part of this ecosystem, the change in the seasons also affect the humans.
Our amazing body has the ability to adapt to various changes in the environment. However in certain circumstances, when the body is not able to cope up with the changes, it can lead to Imbalances or vitiations of bodily humors (Dosha Vaishamya), leading to one or the other disorders.
“Tasya Shitadiya Ahaarbalam Varnascha Vardhate. Tasyartusatmayam Vaditam Chestaharvyapasrayam,”
Which means ‘the strength and complexion of the person knowing the suitable diet and regimen for every season and practicing accordingly are enhanced’
With the transition of sun to Makar Rashi, there is increase in the coldness along with dryness brought about by cold wind. A number of lifestyle changes need to be made to cope up with the climatic change. It is during this time that a number of cases of flu, cold, cough and sinusitis problem increases.
We can help our bodies adjust and cope with these changes in the following ways:
- Continue with the exercises - Studies report higher incidences of imbalance in the lipid profile during this season with high risk for cardiovascular diseases. Hence continue with the exercises wearing appropriate warm clothing, be it walking/jogging/yoga etc.
- Include nuts and seasonal produce - According to ayurveda, seasonal fruits rich in Vitamin C is advised like gooseberry (amla), oranges, sweet lime; vegetables like sweet potatoes, dried beans and peas, dried fruits like almonds, walnuts, figs, apricots, dates. All these foods help to fight against the infection common in this season, good fats that provide the heat required to fight against the cold wind with B-vitamins and minerals that help the body to rejuvenate.
- Other foods and spices - sesame seeds and its preparation, sugar cane and jaggery, fatty fish, ghee, milk and milk products, spices like pepper, ginger, cumin seeds, turmeric are good source of calcium, iron and good fats. The spices aid in digestion and also have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties.
- Massaging with sesame oil and taking bath in warm water has been recommended to protect against the dryness.
- Freshly cooked and warm food is preferred and advised than cold food.
- Exposure to sunlight for minimum of 30min to get the required dose of Vitamin D
- Excessive exposure to cold wind, staying out for a long duration of time.
- Eating cold food and cold drinks should be avoided
- Avoiding processed foods and including more of fresh produce is recommended.
- Avoid sleeping late.
- According to ayurveda, foods which are pungent, bitter and astringent in taste are to be avoided since they instigate Vata.
Common ailments during winter and their management
- Cold & cough - A decoction made from ¼th tsp dry ginger powder, 1/4th tsp black pepper powder, 4-5 Indian basil leaves, 1 clove, 1 small piece of cinnamon, 1 / 2 tsp carom seeds. Boil everything in 2 cup water. Reduce to half , add jaggery for taste and take half cup twice a day.
- Dryness on skin - Daily warm oil massage with Dhanvantari oil , on the face with Eladi oil
- Headache due to cold / nasal congestion- Put 2 drops of lukewarm shadbindu oil / Anutail in both nostrils while sleeping.
- For prevention of cold - Add few drops of eucalyptus oil and take steam at night
- Constipation - A gentle dose of Gandharva Haritaki churnam 1 tspn at night with warm water helps.
- Chapped lips & cracked feet - Application of Kailash Jeevan is beneficial for both. Intake of pure cow ghee on empty stomach helps to cure the problem.
- Bloating - Hingwashtak Churna 1 tspn with warm water half hr after meals.
In the nutshell, changing our diet, exercises and sleep patterns as per the seasons help us to cope with the climatic changes and allow our body to adapt in the right way.