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Winter: Effects and Care / Diet Tips

At the core of Ayurvedic philosophy is the concept of the three doshas, the vital energies that make up our physical and mental/ emotional constitution.

Tridosha defines the three fundamental energies or principles which govern the function of our bodies on the physical and emotional level. The three energies are known a vata, pitta, and kapha. Each individual has a unique balance of all three of these energies. Some people will be predominant in one while others are a mixture of two or more. When these three doshas are in their individual balance, we feel good, energetic , enjoy perfect health and radiate natural beauty.

Winter is actually the season when the digestive fire is strongest. The body requires more fuel to stay warm and healthy in the winter months, and the cold weather forces the fire principle deep into the core of the body—igniting the digestive capacity. Our bodies therefore crave a more substantial, nutritive diet at this time of year, and you will likely find yourself eating larger quantity.

If you eat too lightly, your strong Agni would begin to break down your own body tissue and put Vata out of balance. Similarly, wind and cold increase Vata. This is easy to understand when you know that the main characteristics of vata dosha are,"airy","dry","cold" and "irregular". Therefore, the following Vata reducing measures are particularly recommended in autumn and winter.

Whenever possible take warm and nourishing foods, for example, soups, black lentil, edible gum laddu, bajara roti, and dairy products such as cream of milk , butter, almonds and nuts, oily seed like sesame seeds , soaked dried fruits such as, dates, raisins or figs (tip: eat with cream and cinnamon).

On the other hand, reduce raw foods, salads, cauliflower , potato , broccoli, cabbage and dry foods like raw rolled oatflakes, crisp-breads, rusks or cornflakes with cold milk.

Always use ghee (clarified butter) in your meals . Ghee is particularly highly valued in Ayurveda for its health promoting properties. It will keep your digestive fire good as well as give the lubrication to your body needed during dry winter days.

In this cold season one can have "sweet", "sour" and "salty" flavors.

Vata - pacifying spices include: Cinnamon, fennel, anise, ajwain, nutmeg, cumin, cardamom, cloves, fresh ginger, parsley and basil, just to name a few.

Besides taking adequate sleep, regular practice of Meditation is a key to deep inner regeneration and relaxation. A particularly important point in your daily routine should be regularity, because regularity is very good for balancing Vata. Make your meal times about the same every day. Similarly, go to bed at the same time every day, and not too late, and always get up around the same time. A regular daily routine without stress supports the balance of the three doshas and ultimately gives good health .

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