Could Ayurvedic Practices Help You Stay Healthy As it Gets Colder?24 November 2020
You may have heard of the phrase, Ayurvedic practices, and unlike many fads that are marketing to people dieting these days, this is not simply just another trend. The word itself, Ayurveda, loosely translates to “the science of life” in Sanskrit. And, according to some sources, this medical practice may have been founded thousands of years ago in India.
However, we’re talking about today, and as the days start getting increasingly colder, we wanted to explore how Ayurvedic practices could help you keep on top of your health, fitness and wellbeing over winter. Ayurvedic focuses on how our human health is intricately tied to the nature of our environment. Drawing from the idea that as the seasons shift and change, so to do our bodies along with them.
As we head further into winter, and the colder temperatures, rainy days and dry winds become more common, our bodies start to feel run down and ready to rest more. This means it’s even more important to bolster our bodies and immunity. We’re looking at some specific Ayurvedic practices that can help you do just that. Don’t worry, even if you are not quite versed in these practices, it’s actually likely that you’re already practicing some of them regularly.
So, here’s some basic Ayurvedic practices you need to embrace in order to help keep yourself in peak conditions as the cold sets in.
Yes, okay – staying in bed all morning can often feel great! However, when it comes to practicing Ayurveda, you need to train yourself to be more of a morning person. Waking up and getting up earlier can actually be really beneficial for your mental health, and the practice actually encourages waking up before sunrise.
This is centred around the idea that the morning is when the brain is most active and meditation would be most effective. The practice aims to align your body’s rhythm with the cycle of the sun. Meaning waking up just as the sun rises would be an ideal way to start each day.
Winter used to be a time when past generations would turn to the root vegetables and other foods that they’d kept for many months in dry, cold storage. Root vegetables in particular are a staple of ayurvedic menus in winter. The practice encourages us to eat well-balanced and healthy meals, and no doubt these vegetables and fruits are best enjoyed and easiest to digest when cooked.
However, you must remember to cook vegetables and fruits properly, which means opting to steam them or gently roast them. As this helps to keep the nutrients intact, which makes it easier for our bodies to absorb them. So make sure you include more root vegetables and fruit with your meals, and you could also steam, roast or saute some fruit to have with your breakfast in the morning or as a snack.
Keep in mind if you just don’t have the time to cook, we can deliver freshly made, healthy meals to you – saving you on time and energy.
Time your eating
As well as eating more fruit and vegetables, the practice also teaches that what you eat is just as important as how you eat. It recommends that you sometimes take the time to eat in silence, which can help you to take your time with your food, as well as eat and chew your food properly.
Make sure you avoid rushing your meals, and pay attention to your breathing as you eat. Take deep breaths between bites and give your body ample time to process the food. If you’re stressed or otherwise preoccupied with negative emotions, then it’s best to avoid eating. If you decide to eat when you’re feeling over emotional, you’ll likely make poorer diet choices.
Drink warm water
Being hydrated is always important for your body, and drinking enough water per day can never be overstated. Of course you’re probably well aware of this, but you may not be aware of the importance of drinking warm water instead of cold.
According to Ayurveda, cold drinks in winter can interrupt your body’s constant effort to stay warm. Drinking a glass of warm water in the morning can ease digestion and help correct a number of other digestive anomalies in your body.
You can add something to it of course, such as lemon, honey or ginger for a little more flavour. All of these also have antibacterial properties and will help to detoxify your whole system and flush out toxins. Also having herbal teas, warm lattes, and even the occasional hot chocolate can also keep your digestion happy.
The colder and windier the days get, the more our skin gets dried out, along with our hair and sinuses. This is why it’s a good idea to swap out your usual moisturiser for a warming sesame oil to help protect your skin from the harsher conditions. It can actually help to give your metabolism a boost, as well as help free up your sinuses by rubbing a little bit in your nostrils.
It can also help to have a little more fat in your diet, as this can work to bolster our immune systems and help us stay satisfied, because the conditions inside our bodies can contribute to that seasonal dryness too.
Winter is a natural time of year when we want to recover, recuperate and relax after the warm, energetic and exciting summer months. This is why sleep matters so much, and going to sleep a bit earlier can really help your body to recover properly and maintain a healthy immune system. Getting at least 7 hours sleep a night can restore your body and ensure the nutrient-dense foods you naturally eat in the winter are digested and assimilated well.
Have the right flavors
We all need to be more careful with our diets over the colder months, as this time of year can often result in more weight gain, inflammation, congestion, illness and seasonal allergies. In order to help keep your body fighting fit and burning fuel efficiently, you need to look at foods that are flavoured a certain way.
Focus on sweet flavors; such as pumpkins, cooked carrots and beets, natural sweeteners like maple syrup and honey, whole grains and cooked fruits. These will all help to reduce any inflammation in your body. Sour flavors are also effective during this time; like lemons, limes and other citrus, as this helps to prevent inflammations and reduce the build up of too much mucus. Salt can be beneficial as well, as adding some in moderation can help to keep your body hydrated, while supporting your digestive system, ensuring your body runs smoothly.
Having a healthy, well-balanced diet to top up your Ayurvedic practices can certainly help to propel you through the cold winter months. And we can help you achieve just that, without the stress of knowing exactly what to cook each day – Check out our meals here.