5 Ayurvedic Tips to Thrive Throughout Winter
The colder months are known to bring on a lower immune system, dry skin, weight gain and even seasonal depression. Depending on where you live, the winters can be brutal and it can be a struggle to look and feel your best. However, if you can fall into alignment with nature's rhythms and make a few small changes to your daily life, you can stay slim, healthy and happy all year long, according to Ayurveda.
Follow these great tips to do just that:
Begin each day with a warming, wellness tea.
Hot water with lemon, ginger and turmeric will flush your lymphatic system, get your digestive juices flowing and balance your PH first thing in the morning. Ginger boosts your digestive fire and Turmeric is warming to the body and rich in curcumin which is known to boost immunity. It has long been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent as well.
Dry brush and moisturize with natural oils.
During the winter, our skins gets dried out from the cold outside temperatures as well as the heated indoors. Dry brushing your skin before a shower exfoliates the skin and stimulates the lymphatic system. After you get out of the shower, moisturize with a natural oil such as coconut, almond, sesame, avocado or a combination of your favorites. Each oil has a unique benefit for your skin.
Adjust your diet with the seasons.
Ayurveda's traditional system from the East, focuses on balancing the bodily systems through diet and herbal treatments. In the colder months, you can balance your body with foods that are sweet, salty, sour, oily and hot such as soups, stews and root vegetables. Eat more fat and protein by including some healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado to your meals.
Get moving in the morning.
Starting your day with some physical activity, even light stretching will increase your circulation, boost your mood and set you up to have a great day. When the weather is cold it can be especially hard to get motivated in the morning, so try implementing an a.m. yoga practice. Set your mat right next to your bed so that when you wake up you're ready to go. Starting with even just 10-20 minutes a day will have a great positive impact on your mind, body and spirit.
You can do your own personal practice or join an online wellness site that offers guided yoga and meditation classes. I highly recommend Grokker, it is affordable and there is a large selection of all different types and levels of classes for yoga and meditation (plus there's a free 14-day trial, so you can see if it's right for you).
Be aware of your vitamin D levels.
In the winter the days are shorter, meaning that there is less time that the sun is out. Also, cold weather deters people from spending too much time outdoors. Vitamin D deficiency can manifest itself as bone pain or muscle weakness and also lead to long term problems such as cognitive impairment, cardiovascular disease or cancer.
The sun is the ideal source to get vitamin D, but when that is not possible, you can get it from supplements and fortified milks and cereals. Since vitamin D is fat soluble, taking supplements with food that contain fat might help increase absorption. Also, prana is a concept in sanskrit that means "life force energy." Prana is what we gain directly from exposure to the sun! Even if it's cold outside, it's worth it to get some prana and feel more vital and energized.
Kathryn is a plant based cook with a zest for life and passion for wellness. In 2012 she founded ZENutrition, a vegan cooking company which offers meal services, catering and plant based lifestyle coaching. Her cooking incorporates styles and theories from around the world. She brings creativity and love into the dishes she creates and aims to truly nourish people by creating food with intention. You can learn more about ZENutrition by visiting www.zenutritionfoods.com.