What are the foods that help keep the winter chill and aches and pains away?
Our body operates on cyclical patterns. As the sun rises we become active and as the sun sets our bodies too slow down and rest at night during sleep. Similarly, seasons too affect our body. In summer, our bodies cleanse themselves, and are thus parched, therefore the need to be constantly cooled. Nature provides for this through watery fruits and vegetables.
In winter, our bodies build and repair-renewing themselves for the next cycle. The aches and pains that seem to accompany the chills of winter, indicate that our bodies instead of regenerating, are actually degenerating. The body prioritises and repairs only the organs that are vital to survival. Since our hair and skin do not sustain life, they are the first to show signs of degeneration, which become more apparent in winter. At this time, instead of using external exfoliates/lotions and oils, keep yourself lubricated from within.
To synchronise yourself with the rhythmic changes in our external environment, don't ignore the needs of the body and keep in mind what nature has made available for us.
Body-building foods. The body requires construction material for growth in winter and this can be made available in the form of nuts and seeds (sesame, almonds, walnuts and avocados) and fresh, whole, pulses (there are upto 60 different varieties) which are abundantly available.
Anti-oxidants. Life is a continuous process of absorption and growth, which is an oxidative process, i.e. free radicals are produced as a by-product. In order to fight this and protect the cells, nature has provided brightly coloured fruits, vegetables and berries-rich in anti-oxidants.
Immunity-building foods. Growth during winter does not occur only in our bodies, it occurs in colonies of germs too. Nature reinforces our immunity against this onslaught through herbs and spices such as ginger, fresh garlic, amla, turmeric and fresh fenugreek leaves. These spices not only boost our immunity, they also keep us warm.
Energy-giving foods. Our body strives to always preserve a perfect balance of all its parameters, including body temperature. In winter, our body has to expend extra energy to keep the internal temperatures stable while external temperatures drop. These energy shots come in the form of dry fruits-figs, raisins, apricots, dates, prunes, cranberries, etc.
Sunshine. Do not forget the sun. Even if the sun is behind the clouds, soak in the light.
Thus, the process of growth, balancing body temperatures, boosting immunity and reducing oxidative damage, requires energy and construction material which comes through food. If instead of having the right foods, we pick up stimulants and foods that take too long to digest-tea, coffee, fried food, sweets, etc.-the body ends up spending most of its energy to digest these heavy foods, making us feel colder and slowing down growth and repair. Instead, reach out to vibrantly coloured, anti-oxidant rich, bio-flavanoid rich herbs, spices, fruits, nuts and vegetables which are sure to drive the winter aches and pains away.
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