According to Ayurveda, the Holiday Season is called “vata season.” Vata is the principle which governs the nervous system in the body. The coldness and dryness of winter can aggravate the nervous system and dry the body out.
The body craves what it needs to antidote the stress on the nervous system in the winter. In perfect harmony with nature’s harvest, we crave heavier and warmer foods rich in fat and protein, which are naturally occurring in the fall and winter.
The three tastes that epitomize the body’s demand for nervous system support are sweet, sour and salt. These tastes are commonly found in comfort foods, and herein lies the problem:
It is winter, it is the holidays, we are stressed, and we are craving comfort foods to antidote that stress.
Luckily, as I discussed in one of my recent newsletters, the winter harvest is also rich in soluble fiber like oats, grains, flax seeds, chia, and others. Soluble fibers have been found to suppress the appetite by satiating the gut and therefore the nervous system without racking up the calories.
In one study done at the University of Copenhagen, flax seeds were measured on their ability to curb the appetite. Subjects were asked to fast on either a controlled drink with flax seeds or a controlled drink without flax seeds. The controlled drink with flax seeds only contained 2.5 grams of flax, while most fiber recommendations suggest 5-10 grams of fiber. So these results were gleaned from a minimal dose.
The results showed that the group that drank the beverage with flax seeds ate 9% less calories once off the fast than the group that had no flax in their drink.
This study indicated that flax, which is high in soluble fiber, can curb or naturally suppress the appetite. In the winter when food was generally scarce, nature seems again to come to the rescue, offering appetite-suppressing foods harvested during a season when food was typically scarce.
During this Holiday Season, foods rich in soluble fiber like flax may offer a real solution to naturally suppress the appetite and keep us from over-indulging in the foods, snacks and drinks that abound during the holidays.