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Ayurveda and your Immune System

Stay healthy and vibrant with these Ayurvedic tips to boost your natural immunity. To me having a healthy immune system is really just that abundance of vibrancy, vitality and health. It is important to me because I have a busy life with work and family and following my passion and being with the people I love, and I don’t want to miss any of it.

Knowledge is power. The more we know about how to prevent and manage flu like symptoms, the better we can help ourselves and others. Any time is a good time to think about strengthening your immunity. The key is to start now with immunity-enhancing meals. Turmeric is the ideal herb to use in this situation since it will help both fight the virus and calm the immune response. Tulsi tea is also valuable for the same reasons.

So what are immunity-enhancing foods? Any food that transforms quickly into ojas (end product of complete digestion that creates radiant good health, stable emotions, and immunity) is good for immunity. If food creates ama (undigested by-products/toxins), it's bad for immunity.

Here are a few ways to strengthen your immunity:

  • Choose intelligent, easy-to-digest foods such as fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and legumes which have not been altered by processing. This allows for intelligence of nature to come alive in your meals. Foods that are processed, canned, frozen or packaged are harder to digest and thus creates ama/undigested byproducts.

  • Fat is a type of nutrient, and just like protein and carbohydrates, your body needs some fat for energy, to absorb vitamins, and to protect your heart and brain health. To get the most health benefits, choose extra-virgin olive oil, as it is extracted using natural methods and doesn’t go through as much processing before it reaches your plate. Veggies sautéed in olive oil are also richer in antioxidants than boiled ones—and they taste better too! Did you know that Olive Oil is one of the world’s first and most prized natural medicines? Now more than ever, you need to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Olive oil is loaded with powerful antioxidants. These work within the body to fight damage from harmful free radicals which attack healthy cells. When antioxidant levels are low, the body is unable to fight off free radical damage and disease can occur.

  • Cook your food in a way that does not disturb the natural intelligence. Add immune boosting spices such as turmeric, ginger, cumin seeds, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon just to name a few, that supports digestion and absorption of nutrients. Food is so much more than fuel and nutrients. Many of the aromatic herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-fungal properties. As we spice up our recipes and savor the incredible flavors, our meals become medicine that support the immune system, keeping seasonal colds and the flu at bay.

  • Eat immune boosting foods full of antioxidants, flavonoids and other immune boosting nutrients such as apples, pomegranates, leafy dark greens such as kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli. Add whole grains such as amaranth, barley,

  • Eat the right amount. Eat to 2/3 capacity and sip on warm or room temperature water half hour before or after your meal.

  • Allow three hours between meals to allow digestion to be complete before adding new food to the system to avoid toxic buildup in your tissues.

Be sure to stay hydrated — dry mucous membranes in your nose and throat are more vulnerable to viruses. Ayurveda recommends sipping warm liquids throughout the day, an ayurvedic practice that many of us have already adopted to support healthy digestion.

Here are some general measures to boost your immunity - A few herbs/spices can increase the cleansing influence of the water. In your hot water flask:

  • Add a few slices of ginger root with a pinch of turmeric (or a few slices of turmeric root)
  • Drink tulsi/holy basil, cardamom, long pepper, cinnamon, cloves tea
  • Add a few coriander, cumin and fennel seeds with lemongrass, ginger and tulsi
  • Add a little lemon or lime juice can also be added
  • Drink Golden Milk/Turmeric Latte once or twice a day in hot milk of your choice.