Better Health through Digestion with an Ayurvedic Diet
Winter, High Healed Shoes & AgingIt takes work, wear and tear on the body to keep warm. We all work hard to reduce drafts in our homes during the winter. Something as simple as toeless high heals could create a big 'draft' in the body. Underdressing for winter leaks our vital energy. The stomach works especially hard to turn food into fuel. Organs age whenever stressed, especially repeated stress over twenty and thirty years. The best way to stay young is to keep vital energy intact.
Blood in HibernationSome people get cold feet even with two pairs of socks. When cold our body constricts blood vessels and pulls blood into core. Even socks can't coax the blood out of hibernation. The solution to cold feet and dry winter skin is warming the core and oiling the exterior. Daily oil massages and weekly hot baths will keep skin moist. A pinch of turmeric keeps circulation strong. Sour lemons in morning tea convince sweat glands and stomach glands to stay juicy.
Cold restricts all fluid motion, including digestive juices, and is not recommended for those with weak digestion or when cleansing. Instead, Ayurvedic cleanses recommends sweat therapy. 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 growth of tissues and a protective layer of Kapha 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. For this reason, cold foods are contraindicated for all three doshas.
Kapha & Vata ColdKapha gets cold from slow metabolism. Vata gets cold due to deficiency. Pitta is usually warm all year round! Vata cold comes from the core. When the core is deficient even digestion gets cold. Vata people with cold deficiency can forget to eat meals and have small, frequent appetites.
Cold Blood PressureCold causes constriction of the vessels, hampering circulation and causing obstruction and toxic buildup. Constricted vessels cause blood pressure to rise. The kidneys compensate by filtering water from the blood causing dryness. Cold Vata people, lacking juicy blood, often have gas and constipation.
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 threatened by infection or cold temperatures. Many diseases in Ayurveda are named after patterns. The common cold is an example in English.
Causes of ColdImproper clothing, insufficient food, climate, dryness, lack of fat tissue, lack of exercise, anemia, slow metabolism, blood stagnation, cold water.
Effects of ColdCold causes a slow heartbeat, weakness and loss of coordination, diuresis, pale skin, shivering, goosebumps, and slurred speech.
Treatment of ColdNourishment, warm spices (cloves, turmeric), ghee, extra layers of clothing & exercise all help warm the body. One of the best home remedies for cold is a warm oil massage followed by a hot bath. Hot showers heat the skin but are insufficient to heat the core of the body.
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