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 How to Stay Healthy in the Winter - According to Ayurveda.

As winter arrives, we should be on our guard as the warm summer days are behind us. It’s time to prepare our body for the cold weather of the winter season.  To remain healthy and stay in harmony with nature,  it is highly recommended to make lifestyle and dietary adjustments.

Ayurveda considers a seasonal routine as an important aspect of health-care.

The desire to eat more during winter is a natural instinct of the body designed to put on additional weight and insulate itself. Mother Nature gives us what we need by providing us with a whole range of healthy cold weather food like nuts and a variety of winter vegetables.  With these winter foods, the blood and skin becomes thicker to protect the body from the cold.

Vata Guidelines for the Winter

Vata is usually not comfortable in the cold months, unless they follow a nourishing vata reducing diet.  So the Vata more than any other dosha needs to follow their Vata reducing diet strictly during the winter months.  This is because the Vata diet is moist and warm, the exact opposite of the cold and dry qualities of winter.

For the Vata to stay balanced, it's better to adopt a very nourishing diet.  Ayurvedic practitioners advised that a diet with warm and cooked foods is essential for the Vata. During the winter the Vata can also add additional oil and butter to the diet. Warm soup cooked with organic coconut oil or ghee will nourish the sensitive Vata during the chilly winter.  A good breakfast for the Vata in the winter is cooked oatmeal with warm milk and butter.  The Vata always does well with cooked vegetables and lentil soup with whole wheat bread.

Pitta Guidelines for the Winter

Pitta dosha is comfortable in the winter, but they still need to avoid hot spices, hot curries, chilies and too much garlic.   The cold air of winter makes the Pitta stay cool both emotionally and physically.  It is recommended that a Pitta use Ghee for cooking instead of butter which is the most favorable oil for the Pitta.   In order to keep Pitta balanced, it is optimal for them to eat foods which are naturally sweet, bitter and astringent.  Cooling herbs and spices like coriander, cilantro, fennel and cardamom are perfect for the Pitta all year around. In fact, winter is a good time for the Pitta to exercise and build muscle.

Kapha Guidelines for the Winter:

For the Kapha person, winter is a difficult time to lose weight.  The goal for the Kapha during the winter months is to not gain extra pounds and wait for spring to lose any extra weight.  To keep the Kapah metabolism active and burning fat, the Kapha needs to consume pungent spices like chilli, black pepper, ginger and other stimulating herbs.  Additionally, the kapha should fast one day a week or skip dinners two or three times a week to manage their weight. To keep the Kapha dosha balanced, teas such as lemon ginger with a pinch of freshly-grated ginger will help. Processed and oily food should be eradicated from kapha diet. Furthermore, it is not optional to have heavy meals since Kapha get more sluggish and slow.  It is recommended that the Kapha mostly eat dry foods that are prepared with a minimal oil to to stay balanced during winter months.

The key to staying healthy year around is maintaining the body's balance through the seasons.

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