Winter is the when we experience cold and dry, chilly air in some parts of the country. This is also the time when our appetite increases, sometimes accompanied by a feeling of heaviness, grogginess and lethargy. Some people experience winter dryness, which affects their skin. Here are a few mantras for winter, which can help you enjoy the season, rather than dread it:
Drink hot water: Drinking hot water, something like six glasses, throughout the day, can be very helpful for the following people: those who are vata dominant, suffer from arthritis or high cholesterol, asthma, obesity, or people who feel very cold despite being overweight. Drinking hot water helps them flush out the ama in their system. The ama is diluted, transported and flushed out through the kidneys and the liver. The result is an improvement in cholesterol, arthritis, weight and asthma.
Taking warming herbs: Herbs that have a piitaj action on the body are the ones best suited for winter, such as ginger, garlic and peppercorn. These herbs can be combined with dalchini (cinnamon) and coriander seeds in different forms and consumed. The easiest way is to have soups with vegetables, herbs and spices. Take oils that are heating in nature: We are all aware that certain oils are very heating in nature, like mustard and sesame seed oil. Such oils are not only good for cooking, but also for application on the body. One can eat sesame seeds on toast, and use mustard oil in cooking. Mustard seeds can also be roasted and lightly fried and then added to khichri or any dal. Similarly, one can apply such oils mixed with regular olive oil for massage purposes. In Ayurveda, this is called abhayanga and is most frequently done in winter. This massage is good for arthritis and is also part of many detoxifying treatments.
Avoid fried foods: Especially if one has asthma, arthritis or high cholesterol, as these conditions react very adversely to fried food, and therefore should be strictly avoided in winter. Eating fried food may even cause an asthma attack if eaten at night.
Eat light dinners: In winter, it is very important that one eats well during the day, but eating heavy food late at night can be problematic specially for heart patients and asthmatics.
Don’t binge on alcohol: This can be very dehydrating for the body and many people actually fall ill in winter because the body is unable to maintain its temperature. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels and very rapidly leads to a loss of heat from the body. One may feel warm initially because one is losing heat through the skin, but later, once the body heat from the core is lost, the body temperature may dip, causing illness.