Health as per Ayurveda means equilibrium of all the three doshas, seven dhatus, three mala, and Agni. To maintain this equilibrium Ayurveda explains Dinacharya (Daily regimen) & Rutucharya (Seasonal regimen), which includes various diet, exercise, dressing, creating favorable, soothing and comfortable surroundings as per the individuals prakriti and seasonal conditions. Here in this article we shall focus our details on Diet in Winter season (Hemant & Shishir rutu). Ayurveda has mentioned in details interesting foods for the season.
Winter season is governed by Vayu mahabhoot, with dominance of vata and Kapha dosha. The dry and cold properties of the season, results in the increased demand of warmth and nourishment by the body. Winter is the best period of the year to replenish and restore body’s powerhouse. The Jatharagni (digestive fire) is very well kindled, and has the capacity to digest all the nutritious foods and store the surplus energy for rest of the year. If it is not supplied with sufficient fuel it can cause damage to healthy body tissues and so it is very important to provide it with correct foods.
The cold and dry climate has its impact on the body, and strotas in the body. The cool and dryness in the air leaves the skin dull, dry and lifeless. Internal dryness causes dryness and obstructions in strotas, leading to constipation , dry eyes and hair, increased appetite, episodes of cough and cold, sinus problems, joint pain, bodyache, backache. Few simple dietary inclusions which can be taken by all the body types (prakriti) can help miraculously. Here we shall know about these 5 superfoods beneficial for winter.
1. Ghee :
Ghee being snigdha (unctuous) decreases vata and pitta dosha, thus reducing dryness and dryness associated ailments in the body. It is Agnivardhak i.e. kindles jatharagni and aids digestion, relieves constipation and increases appetite. It is a very good source of energy for all age groups. Regular intake of ghee not only boosts immunity, but also serves as a very good brain tonic. Intake of ghee provides good nourishment and lubrication for bones and joints and reduces pain.
Adding 1-2 tsp ghee to your dal, roti, bread, veggies, salad, chicken, rice etc, will also enhance the taste of your food. You can also have it alone.
2. Nuts and Seeds :
Superfoods are usually the seasonal and local foodgrains, veggies and fruits, as nature is the best guide to follow. It is well aware of the climate, season and common complaints, faced in the locality during specific season.
Nuts and seeds like Groundnuts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, seasme seeds (both black and white), flax seeds, niger seeds (Karale), ajwain seeds, etc. have good oil content, and it also has good amount of minerals, vitamins and proteins.
All these nuts and seeds are snigdha, hot in potency and a good source of energy, thus pacifies and normalizes Vata and Kapha. The extreme coldness in the air demands heat, which is well provided by these healthy foods. It provides necessary lubrication and nourishment for the body, skin, joints and hair. It serves as good fuel for digestive fire and prevents damage to healthy tissues in case of starvation or improper diet. This quality of nuts and seeds serves for both weight gain and loss, if taken under proper guidance.
Our traditional festivals also guides us to have proper diet, it is due to this, that festival like Makar sankranti is celebrated in this season and sweets like Til gul ladoo or chikki (A preparation made with seasme seeds, jaggery and peanuts), niger seeds chutney, seasme chutney is used to make various preparations.
3. Jaggery :
Jaggery is an easily available, cheap, very beneficial and nutritious food. It is a storehouse for many nutrients. Due to its Ushna (hot) potency and snigdha property it pacifies vata, It strengthens bones and joints, allievates backache and bodyache. Jaggery being easy to digest, it also kindles digestive fire, aids in digestion and helps in constipation.
It helps to increase haemoglobin content of the body, and is a rich source of iron, calcium magnesium and potassium. The most common cold and cough problems faced during winter, is taken care of by jaggery due to its ushna, snigdha, vataghna guna. It is a good natural sweetner, immunity builder, and a natural health tonic.
Jaggery can be used in various food and medicinal preparations. It can also be had raw with peanuts or piece of coconut. It is advised to use organic Jaggery for benefits.
4. Wheat :
As mentioned previously, foods and veggies which are seasonal and local, usually serve as a superfood. Wheat is one of the foodgrains which is harvested in winter, healthy and can be used in various forms.
Wheat is very nourishing foodgrain, ‘bala mamsakrut and vrushya‘ as said in Ayurveda, i.e. it boosts energy, enhances physical strength, endurance and vigour. It balances vata dosha and increases kapha. Being snigdha, madhur and sheeta (cold) it facilitates motions, adds luster to skin, builds healthy muscle tissue and provides the necessary energy to the body. Ayurveda recommends use of rasayan and balya medicines in winter season.
Wheat can be used in various forms like regular wheat rotis, bread, puris (fried wheat roti), Parathas, semolina, kheer (porridge), daliya, wheat ladoos, pancakes and lot more, depending upon your cooking skills. Wheat and wheat preparations should be supplemented with ghee for added benefits.
5. Ginger :
Ginger can both be used in dry and fresh forms, Ginger is katu (pungent) in taste,and hot in potency. It is due to this taste and hot potency – that ginger pacifies vata and kapha- the doshas who dominate and cause ailments in winter. Ginger is agnivardhak, helps digestion (pachan), increases appetite and also relieves constipation.
The cold during winter aggravates joint pain, the aampachan effect and hot potency of ginger alleviates joint pain and reduces inflammation. Ginger is a good decongestant, and so cures cold, cough, sore throat, sinus, headache and other respiratory infections.
Ginger can be used in various ways, like adding chunks or grated ginger to tea. Ginger juice can be add to lemon juice for indigestion, ginger chunks or paste can be added to food preparation, this eases digestion. External application of juice is beneficial in inflammatory conditions.
These are 5 easily available and easy to use superfoods, with super health benefits. Intake of seasonal veggies and fruits like beans, horse gram, green peas , carrots, garlic, figs, oranges, papaya, apples, etc. should also be encouraged to maintain best of the health.
Try and use these superfoods this and every winter to keep yourself fit and fine. Stay healthy and enjoy Ayurveda lifestyle.