Every season comes with its own set of health problems - this hard fact of life is precisely what makes most of us vary of season change. It doesn’t matter if the weather is shifting from fall to winter or from spring to summer, you have to be prepared for allergies, infections, skin problems, hair fall and a bunch of other problems.
One of the best ways to get ready for the new season and avoid health issues is to regulate your lifestyle. This doesn’t just mean adding nutrient-dense and immune-boosting foods to your diet but also tailoring your entire lifestyle pattern to acclimate your body, mind and soul to the season. Such a season-specific lifestyle change is popularly known as ritucharya in Ayurveda.
Ritucharya for every season
In case you weren’t aware, the whole purpose of Ayurveda is to prevent diseases from taking root in the first place instead of setting out to cure them once they have. Ayurveda, therefore, suggests two pillars for good health: dincharya or daily routine and ritucharya or seasonal routine. While most health-conscious people today may have a strict daily routine, people most often forget about having a seasonal routine or ritucharya.
The basis of ritucharya lies in the dual regulation of diet and behaviour to suit the seasons. This helps your body quickly adapt to the season while preventing seasonal infections or diseases from plaguing you. A study published in AYU: An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda in 2011 suggests that the basic tenets of ritucharya for all the six seasons (according to Ayurveda) are provided in ancient texts like the Charaka Samhita. Following these diet and behaviour recommendations during every season can effectively prevent diseases all year long.
Diet and lifestyle changes for winters
Winter season is known as shishir ritu and, according to Ayurveda, a person’s strength reduces during this season. During winters, water and earth - two of the five elements that create doshas - combine to increase Kapha dosha in the body. Catabolism, the part of metabolism responsible for breaking larger molecules into smaller ones, increases. To acclimatise to such changes, Ayurveda recommends the following changes in your lifestyle during winters:
- Dietary changes: Foods that have a sour taste should be preferred during this season. Eating cereals and pulses, wheat flour, new rice, corn, ginger, garlic, sugarcane, jaggery, milk and milk products is recommended. Pungent, bitter and astringent foods should be avoided. Mildly spiced dishes that are hot or warm should be eaten and cold foods should be avoided.
- Lifestyle changes: Massaging your body with oils and moisturising ubtans or packs like milk cream and turmeric must be applied. Bathing daily with lukewarm water is recommended. Get as much sunlight as you can during these months. Habits that can make you fall sick are exposure to cold wind, excessive walking and sleeping late at night, so it is best to avoid them.
If you take a closer look, you’ll realise that these recommendations are actually backed by modern science too. For example, most experts advise you to get more sunlight to overcome vitamin D deficiency in winters. So, this winter, give these other Ayurvedic recommendations a try to stay healthy and hearty.
For more information, read our article on How to increase immunity.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.