Find Balance this Winter
Winter is a time to warm up and dry out—especially our respiratory tracts. To ward off cold and maintain good health during the winter months, it is best to get plenty of sleep and eat a nutritive diet. It’s also important to take care of your physical body with low-impact exercise activities and by enjoying massage with warm and moistening oils (think castor, sesame, mustard, and olive).
In winter, choose warm, dry and easy-to-digest food such as millet, corn bread and barley, cooked with mild warming spices including garlic, cinnamon and cloves. In dry climates, add sweet, filling foods such as figs, carrots, dates and warm milk products, as well as ghee or sesame oil. Concentrate on foods with pungent taste, including ginger or radish, to stay warm and keep digestion moving. Add bitter flavors to help maintain healthy detoxification (such as leafy greens or dandelion root). Other outstanding winter foods include apples, prunes, beets, broccoli, buckwheat, dry oats, rye and beans. Cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, tofu (in warm dishes), corn and pumpkin seeds are also tasty and satisfying winter weather foods.
Drinking hot beverages is another delicious way to stay warm in the winter season. Warming winter teas often include ingredients such as sarsaparilla root, ginger root, juniper berry, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and black pepper.
Herbs for Winter
Black pepper, one of the most valued herbs in Asia, is traditionally used to generate body heat and give a sensation of warmth by bringing warming blood to the distant areas of the body.
Long pepper, a famous Ayurvedic herb, is a two inch long peppercorn closely related to black pepper, with which it is often combined. Long pepper is traditionally used by herbalists to moisturize tissues, including those in the lungs, while black pepper is thought by herbalists to help keep these tissues from getting congested.
Ginger, Ayurveda’s “universal medicine”, is another spicy, pungent herb that can help promote circulation and digestion. Teas containing ginger can be soothing when congested or feeling under the weather. Historically, ginger has also been one of the most respected herbs to support the joints.
This trio of warming herbs – Black Pepper, Long Pepper, and Ginger – forms the famous “trikatu” (“three pungents”) Ayurvedic formula. In a cold, moist winter, this combo is superb. This time-honored combination of herbs can be found in our DeTox tea.
Other herbs with warming, Ayurvedic properties include cinnamon, cardamom, fennel, anise, cumin and holy basil (tulsi), which can be found in our Tulsi Spiced Berry Immune Support tea.
We hope these tips help to keep you warm and comforted this season!
~Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa