Welcome spring in a healthy way

Dr. Ankita
Spring is the beautiful season of celebrations and festivities. New leaves, blooming flowers and clear blue skies bring freshness and happiness.

The changing season brings changes not only in our environment but also in our bodies too. Staying healthy according to changing seasons is a secret that you can find only in Ayurveda. The basis of preventing diseases and keeping immunity intact during the seasonal change depends on modifications in our diet and actions according to the season.
How spring affects our health
In Indian subcontinent, spring comes after a long and harsh winter season. Spring is called Basant Ritu in Ayurveda. It spans from mid March to mid May. According to Ayurveda, the Kapha gets accumulated in our bodies due to the natural attributes of winter season. With the onset of spring season, the warmth of the Sun begins to liquefy the accumulated Kapha dosha. When this happens, the liquefied Kapha dosha weakens our digestive fire and leads to diseases of the digestive system. It is also the time when the air may carry allergens such as pollen and dander. Also, disease-carrying insects become active as the temperature increases. All of these have a combined effect of making us sick. Spring allergies like running nose, sore throat, cough; dry, itchy skin and other infectious diseases are very common in this season. People with low immunity are particularly at higher risk of falling ill in spring. Ayurveda recommends some simple yet very effective steps to prevent diseases and to stay healthy during spring season.
*Improve your digestion: Since liquefied Kapha weakens your digestive power, the first step is to boost up your digestion. Few simple tips can be very helpful for improving digestion. Simply add common herbs like ginger, cumin, asafetida (hing), black pepper and rock salt to your food. A simple tip to improve appetite is to chew on a piece of ginger with a pinch of black salt and half table spoon of lemon juice. Sipping a cup of hot water after meals is also very helpful in boosting the process of digestion.
*Boost your Immunity: If your digestion is strong, your immunity will automatically become strong. A healthy lifestyle along with healthy diet and wonder herbs of Ayurveda like Giloya , Amla, Tulsi, Haldi and Ashwagandha can collectively strengthen your immune system.
*Avoid Dairy Products: All dairy products like milk, butter, curd, yoghurt increases Kapha Dosha in our body. One must avoid or decrease their use in the spring season. Try avoiding them for these two months.
*Eat freshly cooked food: Make it a point to eat freshly prepared and warm meals. Always use fresh vegetables and fruits. Buy fresh veggies every day, or after two days at most. Your health is primary, everything else is secondary.
*Avoid Stress: Stress weakens your immune system. You need to manage stress consciously. Try Ayurvedic herbs and formulations like Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Tagara and Shilajeet which will help in strengthening the mind, and help you fight stress. Daily Pranayam and some Yogasana are also great stress busters.
*What to eat: Avoid heavy, oily, sour, sweet food and drinks. As these foods naturally increase kapha, they will aggravate the allergy symptoms. Kapha is predominant during 6am to 10 am so avoid excess eating during that period, stick with a light breakfast. Avoid eating sweet, cold foods during that period. Your lunch should be the biggest meal of the day. Take in barley, wheat, rice bitter vegetables, mango juice, spices such as coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fennel. Drink Asava (fermented infusion), Arishta (fermented decoction), sidhu (fermented sugarcane juice) and fresh ginger tea or green tea with honey.
* Panchkarma: The Ayurvedic Detox: Spring is the best season for various Ayurvedic Bio cleansing therapies know as Panchkarma. The Body massages (Abhyanga), Fomentation therapies (Svedana), Emetic therapies (Vamana), Purgative therapies (Virechana) and Nasal administration of medicated oils (Nasya) all are highly recommended in this season. Various Ayurvedic clinics and hospitals provide these facilities in govt. as well as in private set up.
*Make a Work out Plan: Spring is the ideal season for starting a workout plan. If you are thinking to join a gym or work out at home, this is the best time to kick start. Heavy exercises and increased physical activity is highly recommended for this season. Day time sleep is strictly prohibited during this season.
Follow these guidelines to enjoy this beautiful spring season without falling sick. If you are unwell, don’t just pop a pill. Try to analyze and adjust your diet, daily routine and lifestyle as per season. A few adjustments according to season might be very useful for a disease free healthy spring. You may also consult an Ayurveda doctor to get a personalized treatment of the root cause of your problem.
(The author is Assistant Professor, Govt. Ayurvedic Medical College, Jammu.)