With the winter approaching, the number of the sick people with viral, flue and respiratory diseases increases. Every year, for only a few weeks, almost everybody in your environment (and often you as well) gets tired and is uncapable to get out of bed.
Do you know why all these flu strains affect us so severely and bring us down so easily? Because we are not able to look after our body and do not know how to boost our immunity.
And we can easily protect ourselves from the diseases and especially from the horrible flu, if we maintain a strong and healthy immune system by following several simple and easy-to-follow advices, that the ancient holistic system of Ayurveda has given us.
The immune system and Ayurveda – understanding and holistic approach
According to Ayurveda, the body energy, by which it prevents diseases or resists an already-developed disease is called immunity. If the immune system is strong enough, it has the ability to suppress the virus, which quickly becomes latent and incapable to form foci, which can bring to serious consequences like the familiar-to-us viral and flu conditions.
The strong immunity or the strong resistance to diseases in Ayurveda is called ‘ojas’ (defense). When the body has a strong defense, it possesses ‘ties’ (intelligence), thankfully to which the cells in the body communicate among themselves and can easily find the infectious bacterium and microbodies and destroy them.
When this natural intelligence of the cells weakens due to blockages in the channels because of damage or accumulation of ‘ama’, ‘ojas’ starts to weaken and together with it the immune system weakens as well.
10 + 1 ways of maintaining a strong immune system according to Ayurveda
Maintain a strong digestive fire (Аgni)
The digestive fire (Аgni) is of an extremely high importance for your health, as the immunity is strongly influenced by the power of Agni, i.e. by the body ability to digest and process the food substances. If Agni is disrupted, it affects the metabolism and the immune reaction against diseases weakens. Even more clearly said…the immunity weakens severely.
When you eat food, which disrupts your digestive fire, it leads to formation of ama (toxins), which, as we already mentioned, interfere with the intelligence of the cells to communicate among themselves and to cope with the disease themselves.
How to enhance the digestive fire Agni with Ayurveda?
Eat ‘intelligent’ and easily-digestible food
“Intelligent” foods are the fresh fruits, vegetables, wholemeal food, bean plants and light dairy products. Ayurveda calls them ‘intelligent’, as they have the capacity of instigating the intelligence of the body cells and to enhance ojas.
The consumption of organically grown food is the best solution to enhancing Agni, as this food do not contain anything unhealthy and are full of vitamins and minerals. ‘Intelligent’ food, Ayurveda also considers the vegetarian proteins, like for example paneer (home-made cheese), milk, lentil, peas and other food in whole small grains.
Use spices, which boost the immune system
Cook the food in a way, which does not violate its natural intellect. For example, if during the preparation of boiled vegetables, cereals or beans, you obtain the proper spices, the food will turn more quickly into ojas.
The spices not only improve the taste of the food, but they also are ‘yogavay’. This means, that they support the digestion and help the nutrients to reach the body cells more quickly.
The different spices have different benefits for the immune system, but Ayurveda recommends the use of turmeric, which has an immune-boosting effect, as it detoxifies and improves the intelligence of the cells; cumin – as it burns the ama, and black pepper – as it has the property of cleansing the channels in such a way that ‘ojas’ can reach to all body cells and tissues.
Eat ‘immune’ food
All sweet and juicy fruits like apples, pears, peaches, mango, pine-apple, plums boost the immunity, as they quickly transform into ojas.
Apples are strongly recommended by Ayurveda to enhance the immunity, as they contain antioxidants and fibers, which purify the intestines. Pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds are very effective in increasing the immunity, as they improve the digestion.
The green vegetables like cabbage, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, are also an ‘immune’ food, as they contain iron, calcium and other healthy substances and, at the same time, are powerful antioxidants.
The consumption of cultures like barley and quinoa increase the immunity, as they contain lots of fibers, which purify the intestines.
And last, but not the least, we put the butter Ghee and the milk, which in the Ayurveda tradition are considered one of the most powerful ‘immune’ foods.
Ghee is the most easily digestible fat, which contains good fats and is a great immune booster. Both the milk and the Ghee should be absolutely organic and without any supplements, and during consumption of milk, Ayurveda recommends to add a pinch of cardamom, in order to facilitate its breaking down in the body.
Detoxify your body
According to Ayurveda, the accumulation of ama in the body is among the main reasons for weakening of the immune system and for the development of the diseases. There are many ways and techniques for body purification from the accumulated toxins, so you can easily stop at a certain detox program, which will help you to cope with the toxins and to prepare your body for the approaching winter.
Do yoga and meditation
According to the number of researches carried out, practising yoga and meditation affect the immune system positively. The main benefit both from yoga and meditation are that they reduce the stress, which turns out to be among the main reasons for weakening of the immune system.
Add the use of herbs
The Ayurvedic medicine uses a great number of medicinal herbs, which boost the immunity. Among the most effective herbs, we can point out Gin Seng, echinacea, ginger, gingko biloba, amla, astragalus, olive leaves, etc.
The regular use of medicinal herbs (including garlic) will increase the status of your immunity and will protect you from diseases. Many of the herbs have the property of maintaining a high number of the white blood cells, others work as adaptogens, which give support to the body organs.
We, the western people, often underestimate the power of breathing, as we think that this is a natural process and we do it since the first moment of our delivery. There is, however a huge difference whether we will simply inhale and exhale, or will practise a deep yoga breathing (Pranayama).
Why is Pranayama so beneficial for boosting the immunity?
Pranayama is an ancient yoga and Ayurvedic resource, through which the Prana energy is directed through to the breath. Otherwise said, the deep yoga breathing purifies and strengthens the physical body, and calms and clears the mind, and all that leads to raising the immunity status.
Eat at the same time
The regular meals at the same time give the body the necessary time to digest and absorb the food and to throw out what is unnecessary. In addition, the body ‘learns’ when the next Ayurveda meal will be and does not store deposits, but digest everything properly.
Eat the proper quantity
Very important for the immune system and Ayurveda is to eat without overeating. So, try not to eat until you can barely breathe. As soon as you feel that you are satiated, stop eating, so the digestive organs can do their job normally and without efforts.
If you eat until everything, that you have put on the plate or on the table finishes, that will encumber the digestive organs, and ama will start to accumulate in your body.
Choose to eat food, that is healthy for your Dosha
It is not true that you can eat any kind of food as long as it is fresh and good. If you want to be healthy and have a good immunity, find out what is your Dosha and eat food and products, which are suitable for you.
If you cannot manage on your own, you can easily find out which your leading Dosha is, if you attend an Ayurveda center, where a precise diagnostic of your body will be carried out and your Dosha will be determined.
Make sure you have enough sleep
Most probably you feel often, that the good sleep is healthy… and that is absolutely true. And when it comes to the immune system, Ayurveda also recommends 8 hours sleep.
So, try not only to get enough sleep, but also, to go to bed and wake up at the same time, in order to give the immune cells enough time to regenerate properly.
Reduce the alcohol, the refined and processed foods.
The alcohol can damage the mobility of the white blood cells or to combine with the red blood cells by forming the so called ‘precipitation’ of the blood, which makes the red blood cells conglutinate, which narrows the blood vessels, and, in its turn, reduces the oxygen supply to vital organs.
The refined and processed foods are also very unhealthy not only to the immune system, but also for the health of every organ in the body. They are among the main culprits for the obesity, for the accumulation of toxins in the body and for arising of various diseases.
10 + 1. Move more
Whether you will do more exercises, you will walk more often, run, or cycle, or you are simply not going to use the lift, there is no difference. It is important to ensure the necessary moving, which will ensure you not only a better physical shape and restore your self-esteem, but also, will boost the immunity status.