By Pushpa Bhatia
Although winters mark relief from the hazards of heat there are certain health issues that women need to take care of. As temperature begins to drop, sinusitis, cough, cold and joint pains start plagung people. This is also the time when our appetite increases – sometimes accompanied by a feeling of heaviness, grogginess and lethargy. Some people experience winter dryness which affects their skin.
Here are a few mantras for winter, which can help you enjoy the season rather than dread it.
Consume immunity-boosting foods: Make lemon, orange, amla, broccoli, cauliflower and strawberry a part of your daily diet. Rich in vitamin C, these foods play a pivotal role in enhancing your immunity. Take a probiotic every day. They don’t just improve your digestion and intestinal health, they also boost your immunity. Dry fruits like almonds and walnuts also help you stay warm and up the immunity factor.
Spice it up: Spices like turmeric, garlic, pepper, fennel, clove, mustard seeds, pepper corn have a warm effect on your body. These herbs can be combined with dalchini and corriander seeds in different forms. Increase the intake of these spices to get rid of digestive troubles, coughs and keep yourself snug throughout this season.
Make meals lighter: We tend to eat more carbohydrates in the winter. Our calorie intake also increases, making us more prone to weight gain. Eating more like you would in the warmer weather, will help keep your fitness in check. Certain foods like oats, fruits like guava, dry fruits like almonds and walnuts, sesame seeds, jaggery soups, porridge, sprouts, chickpea and salads can help you avoid putting on the layers of fat. Drink hot water.
Eat more foods rich in vitamin D: You are less likely to get enough vitamin D in the winter. So, this is a good time to take a supplement or make sure your diet is vitamin D enriched. Cheese, butter, fish, margarine and fortified cereals are good sources of vitamin D.
Stay safe: Particularly when the weather turns cold, people with arthritus need to protect their joints from further damage. If you are going outside, keep yourself warm with proper clothing. Pick supportive shoes with good treads and try to walk on a flat surface.
Veggie wonder: Increase the intake of fresh carrot, cauliflower, spinach, lauki and cabbage in your diet. Low in calories, these vegetables are full of micronutrients that help you stay fit. In fact, how about delicious vegetable soups – slurp!
Fight fatigue and laziness: The long hours of darkness and short hours of light affect serotonin, the brain chemical that keeps us in a good mood and turns off our appetite. In winters our energy levels are higher in the morning and gradually keep on reducing as the clock moves ahead. The same is responsible for your mood which fluctuates. Make sure you eat protein at breakfast (think eggs with low-fat cheese) and lunch to stay mentally alert. At dinner, include healthy foods like whole grains, like brown rice. Eating dark chocolate has proved to be a natural mood enhancer.
Take oils that are heating in nature: Certain oils are very heating in nature. Like mustard and sesame oil. These oils are not only good for cooking but also for application on the body. Try using olive oil or sunflower oil to prepare meals. These are less fattening and help develop good immune systems.
Don’t binge on alcohol: This can be very dehydrating for the body and many people actually fall ill in winter because the body is unable to maintain its temperature. Alcohol dilates the blood vessels and very rapidly leads to a loss of heat from the body. One may feel warm initially because one is losing heat through the skin but later, once the body heat from the core is lost, the body temperature may dip, causing illness.
Skin care: Avoid using antibacterial soaps, alcohol-based tones wipes or cologenes. Avoid stepping out in extremely cold and windy weather as it can make the skin and the hair dry.
Those with extra-dry skin should use some oil before their baths and apply plenty of moisturising sunscreen before stepping out. This will provide a protective layer that will help counter the impact of the extreme weather. You can use a mix of aloe vera and almond oil as a face mask.
Massage well: According to experts, it is necessary for the body to have a protective layer on the skin that will save its natural suppleness. Body oils massaged properly on the skin as a prebath ritual solve the problem. They nourish the outer layer of the skin and work as great emollients and smootheners. Coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, sesame oil, avacado oil and aloe vera oils are some good oils you can use in winter. Have an ayurvedic expert pick the right oil for you. Remember that as the oil should stay on the body, an immediate bath is not recomended.
Exercise inside: People with joint pains should still stay active and the best way is with an indoor exercise plan.