It’s always been interesting to me why some people sail through winter without a day under the weather, while others are in a state of constant snuffles. I don’t believe it’s just luck, there is a reason to the phenomenon.
Eastern medicine practices that have been developed and administered for thousands of years have always adapted health practices to the seasons, something we have been slow to catch onto in the west. When deciding how to prepare yourself for the winter chills its nice to know we have choices. We can opt for vaccinations and/or drugs or you can boost your immune system naturally.
Homeopathy, Ayurvedic (Indian) and Chinese medicine assert that you are much more likely to catch a cold or flu if your digestive and respiratory systems are compromised. These systems are primarily your lungs and intestines. Signs and symptoms of these systems not coping include runny noses, mucous build up (congestion in lungs or sinuses) or a nasty cough.
Below are the four Winter season modifications for strong respiration and digestive health.
In general avoid foods that are cold, wet, white, and sugary. This includes dairy products, wheat, potatoes and bananas.. The main reason to avoid these foods is to prevent mucus build up in lungs and sinuses (for a simple example of diary products producing mucous build-up, have a milkshake and observe the feeling of your mouth and sinuses).
A great habit to get into is to eat what is in-season. During winter you will note that rich vitamin C fruits are widely available such as grapefruit and lemons. You can easily add these juices in your water or have them hot as a lemon (and honey) drink. Soups are particularly good for including great digestive ingredients such as pulses and vegetables. Try adding spices such as ginger, cinnamon, mustard seeds, black pepper, or a bit of chilli (e.g. cinnamon with your porridge). To aid your respiratory tract look to consume foods that resemble the shape of your lungs. These include cauliflower and broccoli. Foods that aid bowel function are winter vegetables that push into the ground, such as carrots, radish and beetroot. Fresh is best so be sure to get your produce from the Farmers Market if possible.
Yes I know it’s not pleasant outside but you want to have a strong and vibrant immune system don’t you? After all we don’t live in a country where it is snowed under for 8 months a year. Pick your days and make the most of the good ones to keep walking through the winter months. This will greatly enhance the lungs functioning through the winter months when there is much greater moisture in the air. If you are looking to establish a greater health foundation through the winter months, look into Pilates and Yoga, as these disciplines focus more on the respiratory and digestive systems, as well as being a great thing to help shake those winter blues.
Seasons represent the natural cyclic order of nature. Our bodies are a part of the giant natural world that surrounds us, so be part of it. Now is a good time of year to slowdown, listen to our bodies, rest a little more often, reduce the length of the to-do list, and let our bodies recharge. After winter comes the energy of spring and naturally you will feel like it’s time to get busy when the days are lengthening and the sun is warming your skin. Winter is a great chance for some introspection, to review your goals and make new ones that will begin to cultivate themselves in the springtime.