by Dr. Angelina Riopel, ND
The change of seasons requires a conscious shift in how eat and care for ourselves in order to support vitality, immunity, metabolism and digestion. As we move from autumn to winter this is even more essential for individuals with colder constitutions and weak digestive systems.
- Improve Circulation
- Support Digestion
- Keep Your Wind Gate Covered
- Support Your Kidneys
Alternating hot and cold showers is simple way to improve circulation, boost immunity and metabolism. During the winter months a steamy hot shower sounds wonderful, but it can lead to loss of moisture levels in the skin. Take shorter showers that are not too hot. At the end increase the temperature, to your tolerance for one minute, then as cold as you can handle for 30 seconds. Alternate hot 1 minute to cold 30 seconds three times, ending in cold. Sounds a bit scary especially on a cold morning, but you will be amazed at how good and warm you feel at the end of it.
During the cold months it is important to consume more warm, cooked foods such as soups, stews and roasted foods rather than cold raw foods such as big salads and icy smoothies. Include warming spices such as turmeric, cumin, ginger and garlic in your diet. Gas, bloating and irregular bowel habits indicate that digestion is not optimal, and can be due to excessive cold and raw food. Along with supporting digestion warming food also helps to improve cold intolerance, energy and sleep.
Keep Your Wind Gate Covered
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the wind gate is a specific acupuncture point (Urinary Bladder 12) but is generally considered the neck and upper back. This area is vulnerable to entrance of wind and external pathogens. The invasion of wind can lead to symptoms of cold and flus. Keeping your neck warm and covered through windy, cold months will help your body stay warm and improve resistance to illness.
Support Your Kidneys
In Traditional Chinese medicine the kidneys are the center of yin and yang for the whole body, and the original source of both fire and water. They influence hydration, health and vitality. Support your kidneys by keeping your lower back covered and warm. In some Asian cultures kidney belts are used to achieve this. Goji berries and herbs such as rhemannia and nettle are kidney tonics and can be taken as a tea to help keep the kidneys strong.