Change your seasonal habits and reap the health benefits
3 September 2009
Autumn and winter were traditionally seasons of hibernation and restoration, yet modern lifestyles leave little time to slow down and recharge.
The application of ancient Ayurvedic philosophy targets what it calls ‘Kapha’ accumulation - negative influences on vitality - and supports resilience in our immune system.
By making a few simple, Ayurvedic changes to your seasonal habits, you can reap all the health benefits….
During the autumn and winter months it is best to avoid eating late, as the body will naturally slow down its digestion. “It is also advisable to stay clear of deep fried foods and cold food and beverages”, explains Dr Prasanna, the UK’s leading Ayurvedic physician resident at Ayush Wellness Spa in Jersey. He adds that dairy, cheese, red meat, shell fish and mushrooms should be consumed in moderation and that these adjustments to your diet will aid your digestion and make you less lethargic.
Recommended food and beverages include soups made of mung bean, adzuki beans, pumpkin, carrot, ginger and chicken, as you will benefit from eating warm cooked food during the cold winter months, and it is more important than ever not to skip meals. “Eat pure, fresh foods - stay away from canned or processed foods that contain additives and chemical preservatives, and cook with spices – they are not only great flavour enhancers; they can also help you stay healthy and beautiful”, says Dr Prasanna.
Use energising and digestive herbs and spices like ginger, mustard, cumin seeds, cardamom, black pepper, basil, turmeric and sesame seeds. Honey and agave are healthier sweeteners. Warm drinks, such as herbal teas, will keep you invigorated throughout the day.
Think about including supplements in your diet, such as the Ayurvedic Herbal jam, Chyavan Prash, that comes from the amalaki fruit (Indian gooseberry), is one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin C, antioxidants and has immune-enhancing effects. Dr Prasanna recommends having a couple of teaspoonfuls once a day. Also, give your skin lipid support from within by including soaked and blanched almonds, soaked walnuts, a little bit of soft cheese and ghee (clarified butter) in your diet.
Treat yourself to an indulgent spa treatment to ease your muscles and joints from tension caused by the cold weather. The ideal cure is a body massage such as Padaghata, which means ‘pressure by foot’. The therapist massages your entire body using only the feet. Gentle pressure is applied to release tension and ease movement of the joints.
Another lovely treatment is Udvartana, a herbal powder massage which helps to kick start your metabolism, improves circulation and leaves you feeling truly invigorated. Likewise, a hot stone massage, brings heat in to the muscle tissue enhancing circulation.
Homecare tips to get you through the winter includes self massage using sesame or almond oil before taking a bath to keep your body warm and energised. Always use soap free cleansers, as soap has a drying effect on the skin, and use coconut butter as a natural moisturiser.
For enquiries or to make a reservation at the Ayush Wellness Spa in Jersey, visit defrance.co.uk.