Douillard recommends the following 5 types of foods that will help you warm up for winter, avoid getting sick, improve digestion, and reconnect with the circadian cycles of nature.
1. "Underground" veggies
All the squashes, beets, carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes that grow underground all summer are heavy and more dense, which make them ideal for vata season, Douillard explains. Nutrient-dense root veggies are also rich in fiber, minerals, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and loaded with antioxidants, all of which help support winter nutrition.
2. More fat
During the winter months, a higher-fat diet provides insulation along with the nutrients you need to repair, rebuild, and rejuvenate before nature's new year come spring, Douillard says. Try cooking with more olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, nut butters, and increase intake of nuts during the fall and winter months.
3. More protein
As a vegan or vegetarian, you could also meet this requirement with whey protein powders, nuts, seeds, legumes, Spirulina, or coconut yogurt. Proteins are the building blocks for the body, and during the winter, these are essential nutrients for structural strength, skin health, immunity, and more.
4. Fermented foods
Fermentation, which was meant to preserve veggies for the winter, supports gut microbial immunity during the winter months, Douillard says. Fermented foods also warm the body, he adds—a welcome benefit in the wintertime. Try eating more fermented veggies, and sauerkraut.
5. More fiber
Fiber-rich foods are abundant in the fall and winter to support better intestinal health, Douillard explains. Fiber is purgative, which means it helps you go to the bathroom. Ayurveda sees better elimination, or looser stools, as the body's way of getting rid of the heat that accumulates at the end of summer. This excess heat turns into dryness (and constipation) if it doesn’t get dissipated. You can get your fiber from wheat, seeds, most grains, rye, and rice. There's an enzyme called amylase that increases in the body in fall and winter and helps you break down and utilize wheat. Apples also have a lot of fiber.