Staying Healthy with the Season: Winter
We are almost halfway done with winter! Only a few more weeks left, and hopefully we won’t have anymore crazy cold bursts like we did at the beginning of 2018. Even though the temperatures have gone up a bit, winter is still in full swing and we still need to protect ourselves from the winter weather and try our best to stay healthy with the season.
Winter time can be difficult for many people. Lack of sunshine, long nights, and cold days can bring about wintertime blues. In Chinese Medicine, this is a very yin time and it is important to let your body get lots of peace and quiet. It is a good time to withdraw and snuggle up on the couch with some favorite books and movies and a warm blanket. It is also a time to reflect and root ourselves, like dormant trees of winter, and prepare our energies for the upcoming spring.
- One of the most important things you can do to stay healthy in the winter is to eat warming, cooked foods. Avoid consuming raw foods, as they tend to cool the body down and consume much more energy for the body to first heat them up, then digest them. Cooked foods are always a better option than raw foods and juices in the wintertime.
- Sleep long hours! Enjoy these dark, long nights by curling up in bed with your favorite book earlier than you normally would. This is a great time of the year to conserve our energies and heal our bodies with rest, relaxation and restoration. Like mammals that hibernate and deciduous trees that loose their leaves, this is the time in nature for conserving energy and sending it inward.
- Similar to in the autumn, it in important to keep your body, especially your back and neck covered during winter months. In Chinese Medicine, it is believed that colds and invasions can enter the body through the back of the neck. If you don’t have a scarf you love to wear, now is a great time to get one!
- It is also important to keep your feet warm. Never underestimate the importance of warm socks and shoes. Prevent feet from getting wet or damp. My three winter must haves to make sure my feet are warm are: warm wool socks, waterproof winter boots, and a cozy pair of slippers for in my home.
- Incorporate heating herbs into your cooking. Some of the tastiest herbs, like ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, can increase your circulation and help heat up the body. You can also add these herbs into delicious teas. One of my favorite warming winter teas are the selection of chai teas we have at Arogya. To explore our many different Chai teas, click here.
- Because winter is the time of the kidneys in the Chinese medicine system, there are lots of foods you can eat to nourish the kidneys. Some of these foods include kidney beans, black beans, seaweeds, blue-green algae, bone broths, whole grains, and hearty vegetable soups. Try to eat seasonally and incorporate root vegetables, animal fats, winter greens, cabbages and carrots into your diet.
- Exercise! Even though it is an important time to conserve energy, it is important to move and not allow energy to stagnate. Try going on brisk walks or if you prefer to stay indoors, go to a yoga class, Tai Chi class or join a gym. I recently went to a wonderful and free yoga class at the library and it is a wonderful way to move gently and connect with your body and spirit. The wintertime is a good time to restore energy, so don’t push it with excessive exercise and sweating, but exercise in moderation and get your heart pumping. This is also a great way to warm up your body and keep yourself healthy from the outdoor cold.
To keep you healthy and happy this winter season, here at Arogya, we have different teas and Chinese
herbal formulas that can keep you well and boost your immune system. If you do end up catching a cold, we also have teas and Chinese herbal formulas that can help decrease the length and severity of colds and flus. If you are interested, in making an appointment with our acupuncturist, feel welcome to give us a call or email us.
Wishing you a happy and healthy winter,