Winter is the season that corresponds to the water element in the Asian tradition. It is the season of deep yin, cold, and a time to conserve energy, as life slows down. Winter is the season of going within, quiet time, and observing one’s dreams during this phase of deep rest. The kidneys and bladder are particularly vulnerable in winter.
8 Tips To Stay Warm
1. Go Early To Bed
The water element governs the kidneys and bladder and corresponds to the emotions of fear, willpower as well as the bones, teeth, hair on the head, ears, knees, and sexual vitality. Going to bed earlier and rising up late keeps us in tune with nature’s rhythm.
2. Stretch Before Getting Up From Bed
Be sure to stretch cold tight muscles before getting up rather than springing out of bed.
3. Consume Warm Food
In winter, it makes sense to use warmer concentrated foods. Include more dark orange-colored vegetables such as sweet potatoes, winter squash, and carrots. Eat more ground roots such as burdock, onions, rutabagas, and turnips. Other foods include sprouted grains, arugula, mustard greens, and watercress.
4. Include Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds make excellent protein-rich snacks. Consuming more nuts, nut butters, and dried fruit in the winter helps one have better resistance to the cold. Getting adequate fats such as in olive oil, avocados, and nuts and seeds help treat dry skin and scalp so prevalent because of the heat used in the house.
5. Avoid Cold Drinks
Avoid drinking icy cold drinks, and if you are consuming food from the refrigerator, take the item out and allow it to get to room temperature before eating.
6. Consume Mineral-Rich Food
The flavor associated with winter is salty and rather than relying on simple table salt, learn to enjoy the wonderful mineral-rich seaweeds such as kelp, nori, hijiki, and dulse which can be used to season food.
Salty foods due to their rich mineral content can help build kidney life force. Consider switching to Celtic or Himalayan salt, which have mineral content. Black sesame seeds make a wonderfully warm winter condiment when sprinkled on food.
7. Include Culinary Herbs
Culinary herbs that make us feel warmer and improve circulation include:
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum), a member of the Piperaceae (pepper) family. It has antiseptic, and antioxidant properties.
- Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), a member of the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family. It improves mental alertness and enhances the digestibility of starches. It is an expectorant, helping one to get rid of mucus obstructing the respiratory passages.
- Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens), a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family. It is rich in vitamin C and helps relieve chills, cough, and congestion. It is an antioxidant and antiseptic.
- Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) is a member of the Lauraceae (laurel) family. It helps dry dampness in the body and keeps people warm when cold and suffering from poor circulation. Cinnamon is an antiseptic and an excellent digestive tonic.
- Garlic (Allium sativum), a member of the Liliaceae (lily) family, helps one more resistant to infections. Garlic is a potent vasodilator and improves circulation by preventing the blood from clumping together.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale), a member of the Zingiberaceae family, is a natural antioxidant and antiseptic. It improves circulation to all parts of the body and helps move stagnation and reduces inflammation that contributes to stiff achy joints. Ginger baths are soothing, muscle relaxing, and cold and flu relieving. It can be made by simmering eight ounces of ginger into a half gallon of water, simmering at a low boil for twenty minutes, then straining into the bathtub.
- Horseradish (Armoracia lapathifolia) is a member of the Brassicaceae (mustard) family. It is high in vitamin C, and aids in the digestion of fatty foods. Horseradish is an antiseptic and a strong decongestant; helping to open congested respiratory passages.
Use more of the warming culinary herbs to spice up your food and as a tea to promote healthy, warming glow for the body. Those on medication should consult with their healthcare provider before combining drugs and herbs.
8. Wear Warm Clothes
Wear warm dresses and enjoy walks taking in some sunlight during the darker time of the year. Wearing bright warm colors such as red and copper contribute to one’s warm feeling. Wearing a hat and scarf can help protect the chest, throat, and ears from cold that can make us more vulnerable to infections. Protect the kidneys by wearing undershirts. Sprinkling a bit of cayenne pepper between one’s shoes and socks can help keep the feet warm.