We often tend to feel cold and dry during winters, but nature has a treatment for all the dryness and cold that we feel during winters through the foods we eat. Our body requires more fuel to function properly in winters as compared to any other season. The digestive fire ‘Agni’ is the strongest during the winter season.
Ayurveda is an ancient science based on specific body constitutions, called dosha. Eating Ayurvedically for winter means balancing both Kapha dosha and Vata dosha which helps our body maintain a better immune system and stay away from winter diseases.
Roles of Different Food Items:
Underground Veggies: All the vegetables that grow underground throughout summer are considered to be dense and heavy and thus ideal for consumption during the winter season. These root vegetables are full of antioxidants and are very rich in minerals, fiber, and vitamin A and vitamin C which make them ideal for nutrition during winter.
More Protein: Proteins are known as the building blocks for the body and thus are important for us during the winter season as they help in building up better immunity, improving skin health, and also for structural strength. The amount of protein consumed in a day should only be around 10% of your daily diet.
Fiber-Rich Food: Consuming fibrous food during the winter season helps in improving overall intestinal health. There is also an abundance of such foods during winters. Fiber is laxative, and thus according to Ayurveda, it helps in better elimination of the body’s waste which in turn is the natural process of the body to get rid of the heat that accumulates during the end of summer.
More Fats: During winters, Ayurveda recommends a higher fat diet as fats provide our body the nutrients it needs to rebuild, rejuvenate, and repair. It is also recommended to consume foods that are rich in omega-3 and fatty acid. According to Ayurveda, food during winters should be cooked in ghee (clarified butter), because of its health properties.
Nuts: Dry fruits and nuts are a must-have during winters. These nuts help in keeping the body warm from the inside by generating heat within the body and also provide the body with the energy to blow away the winter lethargy.
Spices: Spices are said to boost up the immune system. They help in increasing the temperature of the body and thus keep the body warm from inside during winters. These spices make the body stronger from the inside to fight winter diseases, and also prevent gastrointestinal diseases like diarrhea, acid reflux.
Ayurvedic Food for Winters:
Vegetables: Seasonal vegetables like beetroot, carrot, potato, sweet potato, okra, spinach, corn, chilies, turnip, and green leafy vegetables are extremely beneficial for our health and should be a part of your meal. Vegetables should be steamed and cooked properly to get the maximum benefits.
Fruits: Seasonal fruits are the best source to fulfill your nutritional needs. Fruits like apples, apricots, dates, oranges, papaya, lemons, grapefruits, peaches, and cherries are good for the body’s overall health and provide the needed dose of minerals and vitamins to the body.
Grains: There is an availability of a wide range of grains during the winter season. Grains such as wheat, corn, barley, oats, rice, amaranth, barley, and quinoa can be added to your winter diet to make it more fibrous and nutrition-dense.
Dairy: For the best of your health, consumption of dairy products should be minimized during the winter months. But according to Ayurveda, it is beneficial to have a cup of hot milk along with turmeric, dried ginger, or nutmeg. Other dairy foods such as butter, cottage cheese, and cow’s milk (warm) can be consumed in moderate quantities.
Oils: It is recommended to avoid oily deep-fried foods during winters to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ayurveda considers some oils as an essential part of the winter diet due to their health properties. Oils like almond oil, ghee, sunflower oil, mustard oil, olive oil, and sesame oil are considered to be good for health and are to be used in moderate quantities.
Spices: Spices are not just flavor enhancers but they are also known for enhancing immunity as well. Spices like saffron, garlic, ginger, turmeric, fenugreek, nutmeg, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon found in every Indian household, make the body strong and prevents it from getting sick during winters. Though it is favorable and supportive to consume almost all the spices during the winter season.
Lentils: Lentils are good to maintain the balance of Kapha in the body. But in order to reduce the effects of Vata, lentils should be cooked properly, be well spiced and should be consumed with ghee. Moong dal (split and skinned green gram), toor dal (yellow pigeon peas), urad dal (split and skinned black gram), and masoor dal (red lentil) are a few lentils to be consumed during winters.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are packed with nutritious value and should be an important part of your winter diet as they help in boosting immunity and overall health.
Beverages: Choose hot and warm beverages in order to maintain a balance between Vata and Kapha during the winter months. Kadha made with ginger, gilloy, dalchini and tulsi is a great immunity booster.
Foods to Avoid:
- Processed meals or pre-cooked meals
- Aerated drinks
- Extra spicy foods
- Fried food
- Cold food
- Chilled beverages
It is a fact that there is no specific prescribed diet that works for all, diets should be altered according to our own body. We completely understand our body when we realize what works for our body and what doesn’t. To know your body from the inside and to understand what works best for it, consult our experts at Total Ayurveda Care.
Try to stay healthy this winter by following a healthy and nutritious diet. Our experts at Total Ayurveda Care can provide you with an effective nutritious plan to help you stay nourished and healthy. You can always count on our experts to help you follow a healthy lifestyle. Consult our Ayurvedic experts and kick start a healthy regime.
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is presented for the sole purpose of education on Ayurveda and neither the details in this blog nor the products are intended to diagnose, cure, prevent. Treat, or mitigate any condition. If you have a medical condition, please consult a doctoror health professional. Total Ayurveda Care strongly recommends that you speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet through which your health will be benefited.