Ayurveda’s secrets for Immunity Building
“Ayurveda is the science of life and it has a very basic, simple kind of approach, which is that we are part of the universe and the universe is intelligent and the human body is part of the cosmic body.”―Deepak Chopra
In chess, they say the best offense is defense. What is the best defense system the world has witnessed? It is the Human Immune System.
My grandmother passed away a year ago at the age of 85 and until about 3 months before her demise, I remember her diet including pumpkin leaves boiled in ‘kanji’ (rice porridge) water, garlic milk, Moringa (drumstick) leaves and fried lady’s finger in kanji water etc. I always wondered if the pumpkin leaf thing ever made peace with her taste buds, nevertheless, it did make peace with her immunity. Even with a terminal illness like Cancer, she was sharp as a tack until her almost end. That’s the influence of natural goodness that our grandparents consumed and have forever encouraged us to follow. Our generation mostly preferred what suited our taste buds more than what fitted our health. I guess it’s time for a change, for the fitter!
As the world struggles to find a cure for COVID 19, Ayurveda experts suggests that boosting body’s natural ability to fight diseases can help minimize the effects and help in faster recovery. One must take advantage of this pandemic lockdown to switch our habits to healthier ones and build immunity which is what will help us in the long run.
Ayurveda explains that if the body is piled up with Ama (toxins) and lacks Ojas (vigour) then the body serves as a fertile place for infections to spread, similar to the land that is fertile to sprout seeds. This is why we often fall sick during the seasonal change.
True vitality from an Ayurvedic perspective says that the health of the seven tissue layers or dhatus which make up the human body are responsible for the state of our immunity. Each layer respectively feeds the next eventually determining our immunity. The final essence of building these seven tissues is called ojas which as we read earlier is the vigour of the body.
Few natural ways to have a strong immunity is:
- Strong digestion = strong immune system
Our focus must be on foods that are easy to digest and foods that support the body.
Indian simple food like Khichdi – rice lentils and spices, or idlis which are easy to digest are often given to the elderly, ill and babies. Body can then use the energy to build immunity rather than spend it to digest food. Food that support the body are turmeric, ginger, fruits and vegetables with fibre.
Cosuming Ayurvedic jams such as Chyavanprash made with a base of amalaki fruits (gooseberry) and a number of other herbs, ghee, sesame oil, sugar, and/or honey. Their benefits are many including overall strength and energy, rejuvenating all tissues, building ojas for a healthy immune response, kindling agni - the digestive fire, encouraging elimination etc.
Avoid foods that are cold, oily and heavy- like ice creams, chips, cheese and fried foods.
What did you eat the last 10 days? Think about it!
- Quality sleep- 8 hours. Importance of good sleep has been drilled into us time after time. Good sleep is the bedrock of everything that good health is made up of! Some of the benefits include lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, helping the body to fight back, keeping the heart healthy and its also a wonderful painkiller. Not to forget to go to sleep at the same time every day and wake up too at the same time every day so that we are in alignment with the circadian rhythm. So, dating a good mattress and flying to dreamland will not be a bad idea.
- A predictable self- care behavior routine is key to good health especially in times of transition. We all have many priorities and leave our own needs to the bottom of our to -do list. Becoming the best version of yourself involves taking care of your mind, body, and soul. The key in sticking to your self-care routine is finding activities that you love and that you look forward to being engaged in them everyday. Don’t forget to keep it simple!
- Practice Oil Pulling and scrape your tongue regularly. Often associated with Ayurveda, Oil pulling, also known as "kavala" is an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique that involves swishing a tablespoon of oilin your mouth for around 20 minutes. This action supposedly draws out toxins in your body, primarily to improve oral health but also to improve your overall health. Several studies have shown that oil pulling could reduce the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth, reduce inflammation and prevent bad breath and cavities. For best results, most recommend doing this first thing in the morning for about 20 minutes.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU TAKE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AS THIS TECHNIQUE MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL.
- Self-massage (Abhyanga) with immunity-boosting oils like sesame oil calms the nervous system and reduces stress, which can help support your immunity and also prevent and ease anxiety, insomnia and other aches and pains you may be experiencing. Although it might sound time consuming and tedious, the benefits are well worth the time and effort and is also a great tonic for the mind, body and spirit.
These are some of the easy Ayurvedic techniques you may adapt into your life for an enhanced immune system and an elated mind body and spirit. The idea is that we don’t have an impressive weapon to destroy the enemy, a robust shield is the best bet to protect oneself. In this fast running world, everybody is looking for instant results. Give yourself permission to slow down and nourish yourself. Building an immune system is not hard but challenging because it is a daily work. So, spare no effort in attempting routinely and systematically to be fit as a fiddle!
Disclaimer: The information and other content provided in this blog, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. The opinions and views expressed are individual based. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.
- Pallavi Gupta