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Winters good for building immunity: Dr Partap Chauhan

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Navdeep Nandre

 Dr Partap Chauhan, Ayurvedacharya, Director, Jiva Ayurveda, says that physical strength and appetite are highest in winters. In winters, the body retains heat and protects itself from the cold weather.

This strengthens the digestive system and makes it capable of digesting large amounts of food. This season is particularly good for enhancing immunity (ojas), says the Ayurvedacharya..

“As every season has a different natural effect on the tridosha (the three biological energies), it is essential to follow special routines that are unique and suitable to the respective seasons. Ayurveda expounds the seasonal regimens under ritucharya. Ritu means season and charya means routine or regimen,” says Dr Chauhan.

Dr. Chauhan explains about, winter diet, he says, “During the winter, one can take oils, fats, fresh milk products (yogurt, cheese), and sweet, sour and salty foods. As the external atmosphere is cold, the body retains heat and attempts to preserve it. As a result, the digestive fire (jatharagni) becomes stronger and is able to metabolize heavy foods such as fats and dairy products. Kidney beans, black beans (urad dal), grains and products made from grains (wheat, rice), special herbal wines (not to be consumed for intoxication) and honey can be taken. One should also drink warm water or ginger tea in winter.

“There is a natural accumulation of kapha due to the cold and wet environment, so efforts should be made to keep warm. Vata dosha tends to aggravate in cold weather. Warm baths and sauna, sunbaths, and living in a warm house are beneficial.  One should massage the body and head (mainly dry rubbing) but in case there is aggravation of vata, a little warm oil (sesame, mustard or olive) may be used for better results. Oil massage eradicates dryness and replenishes the skin with moisture. Application of natural moisturizer after a bath in the morning is also advisable,” advises Dr. Chauhan.

Dr. Chauhan explains,“the hemanta (beginning of winter) and shishira (late winter) seasons are almost similar. Together, they are referred to as the "sheeta kaala" (cold season). Shishira marks the onset of aadaana kaala (the period of dehydration).  The regimen of hemanta should be followed in shishira too. One should particularly avoid taking cold foods and drinks and vata-increasing diets (bitter, astringent and pungent tastes).”

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