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Ways to Ward off Winter Woes

Seasonal weight gain, especially during the grey months is a matter of concern for all. From lack of vitamin D to body temperature, many factors trigger weight gain in the winter. With food-based holidays, parties, and plenty of overindulging, it’s hardly surprising when your jeans feel snug or the scale goes up a few pounds.  Plenty of studies have proven that climate plays a major role in the eating habits of a person. The intake of carbohydrates increases and water intake decreases which is one of the unhealthiest and common habit one develops during winters. Perhaps, most of us take a break from exercising in the winter due to cold weather. Many studies also prove that exposure to cold temperatures suppresses the immune system which further leads to an onslaught of health disorders.

India is plagued with non-communicable diseases. Most common causes of the same are unhealthy lifestyle choices, adulterated food, stress, and lack of exercise and majorly due to wrong eating habits. Dr. Manjari Chandra, Senior Nutritionist, said, “Seasonal weight gain is very prominent and common due to lack of exercise and intake of unhealthy junk foods. People should consume nuts, green leafy vegetables, seasonal fruits, sweet potatoes and eggs. It is very essential to reduce the intake of salt and sugar and replace them by alternatives like rock salt, Epsom salt (sendha namak ), jaggery, honey etc. It is also important to keep a tab on your oil intake. Winters often see an increase in intake of fried goodies. Reducing everyday intake of oil goes a long way in ensuring good health of individuals and families.“

Another alternative to avoid weight gain is by opting for Ayurveda lifestyle. In ayurvedic terms, immunity is connected with digestion. When digestion is strong and appetite is good, then immunity is strengthened. Whatever weakens digestion weakens immunity.

Speaking about the same, Dr. Saurabh Sharma, Medical Superintendent, Maharishi Ayurveda Hospital, said, “Winter is the season when nature is ready to nurture us. Due to the digestive level being very high, the appetite as well as the power of digestion is more as compared to other seasons. People think this season is bad for immunity as they consume unwholesome food which slows down the immunity. As appetite increases, people start eating more junk food and heavy, hard-to-digest foods, and thus weaken their immunity. But it’s important to understand that WE are creating the bad immunity; nature is not the culprit. For this reason, it’s more important that people eat immunity-boosting foods in winter, and that they follow the ayurvedic daily routine.”

Realizing the slow decline in the under nutrition level and rapid rising of obesity and lifestyle diseases, the union government and government agencies launched various preventive and awareness programs. Eat Right India movement is one such initiative of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to spread awareness around issues like food fortification, food Safety, reduced intake of high salt, sugar and oil, and nutrition during first 1000 days of life. In an effort to provide an impetus to mass penetration of the ‘Eat Right India movement’, Swastha Bharat Yatra (SBY) was launched as an extension. Around 750 cyclists are pedaling their way to Delhi after under SBY, which draws its inspiration from the Dandi March of 1930.

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