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Warm Yourself To A Healthy Winter Season

Winters are the season when leafy greens are available in their full glory. Try to indulge with the seasonal vegetable for a healthy life

Change of seasons is an inevitable part of life and every season brings with itself a unique change in how we feel, how we live and how we should eat. As per Ayurveda as well as Chinese medicine, winter months are a time for internal reflection, rest and restoration. The holiday season is marked with occasions like weddings, thanksgiving and festivities, all of which make us fall by the wayside. As the weather gets colder and the days get shorter, it becomes difficult to find the motivation to stay healthy and fit. And that may lead to a weakened immune system thereby posing a risk of falling ill. As a Nutritionist & Wellness Coach, here is my list of Winter Wellness Tips:-

SLEEP EXTRA: Less daylight hours affects your body's circadian rhythm and it produces more melatonin as a result, making you crave extra sleep. People in many parts of the globe experience a period of gloominess during winters, commonly known as SAD(Seasonal Affective Disorder). The further north one is from the equator, the higher are the chances of experiencing winter blues.  As per scientific research, the biggest mistake that people make when it comes to sleeping in winter is ignoring their body's natural rhythm. It is fine to sleep for an extra half an hour during the cold months.

STRETCHING: It is well-known fact that one should stretch before exercising.  It's even more important to stretch your body during winter in the morning as your muscles tend to stiffen and contract to make them less supple and prone to injury. So gentle stretching like arm circles, leg kicks, forward lunges and touching your toes can aid the lymphatic flow & slightly raise the body temperature that drops once you get out of bed.

MASSAGE:  Your lymphatic system is the foundation of your immunity. An active lymphatic system aids in the smooth clearing of toxin build-up, better circulation and rejuvenated health. Ayurveda suggests "Abhyanga ", that is using warming oils for massage in winters. And sesame oil is an ideal choice. Sesame oil is rich in Vit E also known as the Skin vitamin and rubbing it daily in your skin as part of your morning ritual gets the lymph flowing. Bonus benefits include smoother skin, calm nerves and elevated mental alertness.

DRINK HOT FLUIDS: Options for hot liquids can range from soups and stews made of a variety of available seasonal vegetables to warm milk and teas  such as lemon tea/ ginger tea/ green tea/herbal tisanes.  Benefits include digestive cleanse, improved blood circulation, prevention of constipation and premature ageing. Haldi milk or Turmeric latte, as the west calls it now is an ideal Winter beverage that helps you stay warm, boosts immunity, memory and brain power.

WINTER VEGETABLES: One of the main pillars of winter health is the array of brightly coloured vegetables that help beat seasonal blues. Both the Ayurvedic as well as Macrobiotic approaches towards health and wellness advise one to choose foods as per season. Cruciferous (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli) & root vegetables like carrots, beets, turnips, sweet potato, radish, yam should be included as they have warming properties, as per oriental medicine approach. Winters are the season when leafy greens are available in their full glory. These include fenugreek, mustard, spinach and bathua among many others. You may enjoy the winter vegetable bounty by kneading the greens into flour or cooking saag, or as stuffings to delectable parathas, or as additions to raita or pulao. An immune-boosting preparation can be made by pickling these or as kanji, a tangy  & pungent fermented beverage.  

HERBS & SPICES:  Spices like clove, black pepper, turmeric, star anise, saffron help regulate body heat besides possessing immense health benefits. Black pepper has antiseptic properties and cardamom helps keep respiratory passages clear. Just keeping a couple of saffron strands on your tongue is enough to warm you up on a cold winter outdoor evening. Nutmeg helps treat insomnia, regulates blood pressure and helps in detoxification. You may add them to your herbal teas, milk, soups, stews. A unique property common to these Winter herbs & spices is that they help you avoid gaining extra pounds & inches that is accepted as a HELPLESS side effect of indulgent eating and the habitual desserts that follow most WINTER meals.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Mansi Chaudhary

Mansi Chaudhary is a Certified Nutritionist & a Diabetes Educator. Her integrative holistic approach helps her clients learn about Mindful Eating and manage lifestyle diseases, autoimmune conditions as well as achieve weight-loss

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