A healthy lifestyle for cold and dry winter

According to principles of ayurveda the season Shishira marks the beginning of uttarayana (summer solstice) . Shishira ritu has mixed combination of hot and cold. The intense rays of sun absorb the moistness of surroundings, leaving the environment devoid of moisture. The coolness of winter and absence of moisture creates a harsh and dry atmosphere. The powerful rays of sun reduce the strength of plants, animals and humans. This paves way for diseases which further weakens the living beings.

Respiratory diseases like cold, cough, influenza etc peak in this season. Joint pains, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis etc trouble more and restrict the movements. Dry skin, chapped lips, cracked heels, brittle hair etc surface during this season and pose a threat to self confidence. Flaring up of psoriasis can be noticed.

Ayurveda acharyas recommend diet and lifestyles which help to preserve strength and boost immunity during this season. This regimen is known as “shishira ritucharya”. Here are tips to keep oneself fit and prevent the seasonal diseases.

  • Our body needs plenty of nutrients to maintain body temperature, boost immunity, repair weakened tissue and maintain their moistness. Hence consume sumptuous, nutrient rich foods which can be easily digested. Include whole wheat, fresh corn, black gram, milk, green gram, seasonal vegetables, citrus fruits to diet. Use amla or Indian gooseberry in plenty. Consume Sugar cane juice and sugar cane as they provide abundant energy and minerals.
  • Add Vegetable oil and little ghee to food to meet increased energy demand. According to texts of ayurveda oil and ghee reduce the dryness of tissues and normalize the doshas.
  • Consume warm nourishing liquids like soups in between meals.
  • Always drink warm water to maintain warmth in body. Warm water eases digestion, prevents drop in body temperature and reduces inflammation of tissues.
  • Wear warm woolen or silk clothes. Take care to cover head, ear, palm and feet.
  • Mild to moderate exercises are required to keep body healthy and warm.
  • Massage body with thick herbal oil, this prevents skin conditions like dry skin, flaring up of psoriasis, cracked heels etc. The oil should be warmed before massaging on skin.

Apart from these avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily. This lowers the body immunity. Do not take long showers as they strip the natural oils of skin. Use gram flour as body scrub instead of soap. Keep the house well lit to prevent seasonal depression. If you are using a room heater use humidifier along with it. This prevents exaggeration of dry skin condition.

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