School of Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion
Cold refers to anything that reduces body temperature, metabolism, and blood flow.
Winter, High Heeled Shoes, & AgingIt takes work to keep your body warm. We all work hard to reduce drafts in our homes during the winter. Under-dressing for winter leaks your vital energy. Something as simple as toeless high heels could create a big 'draft' in the body, sapping your strength. A cold body temperature stresses your organs and leads to early aging. The best way to stay young is to keep your vitality intact.
Blood in HibernationSome people get cold feet even with two pairs of socks. When your body is cold, it constricts blood vessels and pulls blood into core. Even socks can't coax the blood out of hibernation. The solution to cold feet is warming your core and oiling your skin. Oiling your skin helps hold the heat in, as long as you wipe off all the excess before going outside. A pinch of turmeric keeps circulation strong.
Cold restricts all fluid motion, slowing the body's digestive juices and drying up sweat glands. Contact with a very cold temperature, such as ice cubes, constricts blood flow even to the point of numbness. Cold stiffens muscles, condenses, and compacts. Cold stimulates the nervous system. The cold weather in autumn stimulates fat storage and creates a protective layer of fat in the skin. Animals like polar bears are large to help them retain heat.
Effects of Cold Food & Drinks on DigestionSince cold restricts circulation, drinking or eating cold foods such as ice cream or ice water effectively shuts down digestive function the moment we need it most. If your stomach is cold it will feel heavy. For this reason, cold foods are contraindicated for all three doshas.
When you eat cooling foods your eyes will feel refreshed, your forehead will feel cool, and your emotions will feel calm.
Kapha & Vata ColdKapha gets cold from slow metabolism. Vata cold comes from the core, deficiency, and exhaustion. When the core is deficient, even digestion gets cold. Vata people with cold digestion may forget to eat meals. Pitta is usually warm all year round!
Cold Blood PressureCold causes a slow heartbeat and pale skin. Cold causes constriction of blood vessels, hampering circulation and causing obstruction and toxic buildup. Constricted vessels then lead to a rise in blood pressure. The kidneys compensate by filtering water from the blood which causes dryness, a process called cold diuresis in Western medicine. Cold also causes weakness and loss of coordination, shivering, goosebumps, and slurred speech.
Stuffy Noses & Common ColdsViruses thrive in colder temperatures. Since breathing through the nose makes the sinuses cool, the body stuffs up the sinuses to keep them warm whenever it is threatened by infection or cold temperatures. Many diseases in Ayurveda are named after patterns, like the aforementioned example of the common cold.
Causes of ColdCold can be caused by improper clothing, insufficient food, climate, dryness, lack of fat tissue, lack of exercise, anemia, slow metabolism, blood stagnation, and drinking cold water.
Treatment of ColdNourishment, warm spices (like cloves and turmeric), ghee, extra layers of clothing, and exercise all help warm the body. Hot showers heat the skin but are insufficient to heat the core of the body. One of the best home remedies for cold is giving yourself a warm oil massage followed by a hot bath.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.