During winter it is the time of eating, sleeping more and moving less. During the winter season, one should eat healthy diet based on Ayurvedic principles. It helps us appreciate the winters. Winter is a season of bountiful vegetables, hot beverages and traditional sweets. Digestive fire intensifies with the drop in the temperature. Ayurvedic diet pacifies both Vata and Kapha. Ayurveda is an old science of well-being flourished at a time. It studies the effects of seasons and also the recommended diet based on the energy or dosha.
Winter is divided into following parts:
• Early winter (Hemant) and late winter (Shishir). The cold and heavy season slows down the pace of life. The winter season is the season of kapha. A balanced kapha is responsible for lubrication of joints, softness of the skin and immunity.
• Another aspect of winter is that due to its dry and cold nature the vata is aggravated leading to joint pain and indigestion. However excess of doshas leads to dullness, obesity, negative emotions, etc.
How to Stay Warm, and Fit in Winter
Following diet tips should be followed to keep oneself warm in the winter season:
1. Warm, cooked food should be taken.
2. Include die fruits like almonds, cashewnuts, etc. could be added in the meal if possible.
3. Fruits like apples, banana, pomegranate and other fruits that are found in the winter season should be taken.
4. Moong, masoor and gram are very beneficial.
5. Ghee and pure butter.
6. Sugary drinks and fast foods should be avoided not only in winter but in every season.
7. Vegetables like beets, carrots, fenugreek, spinach and other vegetables found in the particular region should be taken.
8. Cold drinks, ice cream and artificial beverages should be taken.
9. Bajra khichadi, methi parathas, palak, mooli, etc. should be taken.
10. Natural cold-pressed oils are very beneficial.
11. Besides this gajar ka halwa, moong daal ka halva, ladoos, gachak, etc. can prove very beneficial.
Now let’s see what the people with the prominence of different doshas should consume during the winter season:
The people with vata constitution feel very cold and their skin generally becomes very dry. They should eat have all flavours in their diet including sweet, sour, and salty tastes. They should also include dry fruits, turnip, and ginger in most of their foods. They should opt for small meals. Soups with carom seeds (ajwain) and heeng can be very beneficial for them. Spices like cinnamon, turmeric, cloves and black pepper are excellent for this dosha type.
The people with pitta dominance are generally of hot composition. They should follow these tips to balance their system:
• They should avoid deep fried and very spicy foods. And also avoid fruits like bananas, cranberries, grapes and grapefruit, pineapple.
• They should focus on eating sweet, bitter and astringent foods such as lentils with ghee, coconut, fresh salads with a little lemon dressing.
• Foods like sweet potato help ground the internal fire of the Pitta dosh.
Winter is the toughest season for the people with kapha dosha. They tend to face congestion and other respiratory problems. They should avoid eating heavy food and dairy products.
• They should eat lighter, drier foods and focus more on bitter, astringent and pungent tastes.
• Freshly cooked and light meals should be eaten and they should eat foods in dry in quality and have little or no fats.
• Sugar refined products, yeasted breads , alcohol should be avoided.
• They should switch to herbal tea with ginger, tulsi, lemon grass, cardamom, pepper and honey.
According to Ayurveda one should eat only seasonal foods. Since winter is cold and dry therefore it advisable that all body types should eat more warming foods such as soups, grains, steamed vegetables and nourishing khichidis. Locally sourced foods are best to consume since they are suitable to the region where the person is living.