As the Sun has dwindled from a blanket of warmth to a subtle caress, we all awaken from our winter slumber to the crisp air and bare trees with roots buried beneath a pool of their auburn leaves. Spirits may rise but the lull of the winter threatens to make us abandon it during the Fall months.
From digestive imbalances, headaches, immunity weakness, irritability, and anxiety, to an overwhelmed mind, don’t fall for the cold season’s games this season with our Fall health tips.
October 22, 2019. | 21 minutes 43 seconds By Vaidya. Jay Parla
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In Ayurveda, it has been documented that seasonal changes can throw a spanner in the works of our regular functions. Our health hinges upon the balance of our three constitutional bio-energies or Doshas, Vata (Wind Energy), Pitta (Fire Energy), and Kapha (Earth Energy), which are constantly fluctuating during seasonal transitions, leaving the body’s immunity in a lurch.
During late summer and early Fall months, our bodies experience a shift in the regulation of body temperature and fluids, both of which are critical in maintaining a strong immune system.
The ruling dosha of early Fall weather is Vata, which peaks during this time causing dehydration, a slow onset of dryness, waning energy, and other types of dry spells. This occurs because Vata’s regular responsibility of guiding the immune system in the right direction goes haywire when aggravated, which directs immune responses to areas where action isn’t necessary.
Meanwhile, after this Vata season’s effects, our body’s dehydrated state leaves room for body heat accumulation caused by Pitta dosha aggravation which further confounds the immune system and causes abnormal reactions such as nasal, chest, and skin allergies.
Hence, our Fall health tips procured from Ayurveda involve purging out these excess toxic energies without compromising the health of our body’s tissues, organs, and systems.
By harnessing the gentle healing power of some Fall herbs and spices and a few DIY tips, foods, drinks, and healthy habits for Fall, here's how to protect your health from the whims of the Fall months.
A Warm Pot Of Calming Ingredients For The Fall Months
During the cooler seasons, especially in the Fall most of us start shirking off our hydration habits. Keep it flowing, with a pot of light tea handy steeped with Dandelion and Holy basil (Tulsi) can help you adapt to environmental changes. Any tea with dried fruit or flowers can provide that sweet yet astringent flavor dynamic to balance Vata and Pitta, ensure hydration, and imbue their warm essence. Flower teas like Chamomile are very beneficial in the Fall, while the sweet yet lightness of Licorice tea helps expand the blood flow and pull out toxins from the minutest channels for a thorough Fall cleanse.
*Caution: Those on blood pressure medication must be mindful about consuming Licorice as it can raise blood pressure.
Spice It Up
Spices are the perfect companion for the Fall months. Here is a healthy handful of failsafe Fall herbs and spices to stock your pantry with. Sprinkle on salads, blend into stews, brew into tea, or toss in your meals some wholesome spices such as Coriander for its astringent & sweet crunch, Cardamom for its sweet-cooling nature, and Fenugreek sprouts for fiber and nourishment.
The diet needs to be properly monitored. A plant-based diet that is rich in carbohydrates is recommended for this season. Any spicy or oily food can be detrimental to the body’s quick adoption of seasonal change.
A Symphony Of Bitter-Sweet-Astringent Foods For Fall Weather
The secret to unlocking your best in the Fall is to eat light, liquid meals while including bitter, astringent, and sweet tastes in your diet. To expend that trapped energy and body heat, a warm, soupy, carb, and plant-based diet is recommended with mild grains such as oatmeal, buckwheat, barley, millet, and rice.
Add a few seasonal bitter foods into your diet such as kale, endives, bitter melon, arugula, escarole, chard, and collard greens to help dissipate excess Pitta. Diversify your diet with some astringent ingredients like lentils, legumes, squash, and other root vegetables like yams, potatoes, and sweet potatoes to extract Pitta located deep in your tissues and facilitate a natural Fall cleanse. Top it off with naturally sweet flavors of dry fruits like dates, honey, figs, and raisins as well as fresh fruits like pomegranates, persimmons, grapes, apricots, and peaches to ease yourself into the Vata season.
Avoid or minimize consumption of oily (ghee and coconut oil being exceptions) and spicy food as well as red meat and fish (you can consume freshwater fish sparingly) as they are heavy to digest during the Fall months.
Ayurvedic Fall Recipes: Have a warm bowl of runny oatmeal and/or buckwheat with figs or dates for breakfast and make a lovely soup or stew for lunch with rice, barley, and mild spices to calm down both Pitta and Vata doshas while slowly rehydrating the body.
For optimal energy and immunity, it's best to complement your health with the right herbal supplements and fill in any immunity or nutritional gaps during the Fall months.
For gentle deep-seated detoxification of the worst hit parts of our body in the Fall - the gut, upper GI, intestines, and colon, Triphala’s polyphenols and terpenes work wonders. How To Consume: Take 1 pill twice or thrice daily with warm water when Fall weather hits.
Insulate your immunity with Chyawanprash’s herbal medley which has the cooling & rejuvenating hero herb of Amalaki, whose Vitamin C gives your immunity all the ammo it needs to get through any seasonal transition, especially in the Fall. How To Consume: Take 1-2 teaspoons daily before breakfast and dinner as one of your healthy habits for Fall.
The best-kept Ayurvedic Fall recipe for all things immunity would be the herbal elixir of Kalyanaka Gritham. ‘Kalyana’ meaning ‘auspicious’ and 'Ghrita' which means ‘ghee’ (clarified butter) in Sanskrit bring about this silky immune-boosting blend. This herb-infused Ayurvedic ghee is concocted for absorption assistance, like an ambassador of nourishment for your tissues, blood, and entire system. To bring out its potent yet shy herbs to the fore, it is formulated using a century-old recipe with the hero herbs of Amalaki, Haritaki, Vidanga, and Turmeric. This potpourri of antioxidants supports cognitive & nervous function, detoxification, and emotional balance, and keeps your immune responses astute & adaptable for the Fall months and beyond. How To Consume: All you need is 1 teaspoon once or twice daily with warm water before your meals the moment you feel the Fall weather getting to you.
Whittle Down That Workout For The Fall Months
Vigorous exercise is not recommended in the Fall, as it may produce more body heat. Light to moderate exercises such as walking twice a day (morning & evening) for 20 minutes each, pilates, yoga (not Hot Yoga), and even tai chi are recommended healthy habits for fall.
Boost Your Breathing In The Fall
The health aspect that’s often overlooked isn’t food or sleep but breathing right. In Ayurveda, coordinated breathing is essential to avoid provoking the mind and triggering restlessness, especially when Fall weather is on the rise. Examples to avoid are holding your breath for too long or breathing too briskly.
Sheetali Pranayama or ‘Cold Breath’ is best done around 20 times each in the morning and evening to ease any irritability or agitation, especially for women going through menopause, whose already exacerbated Pitta and Vata doshas worsen during the Fall months with increased hot flashes, sleep disturbances, and dryness.