Winter is the best time to boost immunity, and Ayurveda has you covered. This is nature’s time to nurture, and these five Ayurvedic practices will nourish your body for a season of good health.
When your body is full of toxins, it becomes a breeding ground for disease, which in winter translates to colds and the flu. Ayurveda refers to toxins as ama, or the sticky waste product of undigested food that clogs the channels of your body. Avoid ama by eliminating these foods from your diet:
Certain spices fire up your digestive power so that ama doesn’t stand a chance. Some spices also burn away any ama that’s already accumulated in the body. Boost your immunity while you eat by working these spices into your meals:
In Ayurveda, sleep is considered one of the three pillars of life. It’s just as important to feed your body with rest as it is to feed it with wholesome food, especially when it comes to immunity.
Aim to go to sleep by 10 p.m. This syncs your body with nature’s daily rhythms, making it easier to fall asleep than if you were to go to bed any later. If you have trouble sleeping, drink a mug of hot organic milk, spiced with a pinch of nutmeg, an hour before bed.
Oil massage (called abhyanga in Ayurveda) flushes out toxins, regenerates the tissues and organs, improves circulation, and actually boosts immunity. You don’t need to pay a masseuse to get these benefits, as you can practice abhyanga on your own at home.
All you need is some high-quality sesame or coconut oil—sesame in cold months and coconut in warm. Heat the oil in a bowl of hot water. Then massage yourself from head to toe, using long strokes on the long bones and circular strokes around the joints. Allow the oil to seep in the skin for at least 20 minutes before washing it off. Or leave the oil on if you’re prone to dry skin.
Warm baths have several immunity-boosting functions besides cleansing. They warm the internal body, which is ever important during cold weather; plus they soothe the mind, balance the emotions, and wash away stress. Stress, as we know, is an immunity killer.
Aim to take a warm bath every day in the winter. Add some warming essential oils like eucalyptus, cardamom, basil, or rosemary. Take your time, relax, and enjoy your soak.
Winter doesn’t have to be the cold and flu season. Add these practices into your daily life and you’ll say strong all winter long.