Outsmarting Colds and Flu
There are distinct and reliable pathways for improving immunity using the science of Ayurveda. When your immunity is strong, your body simply does not allow colds and flu. But your immunity can become vulnerable when daily habits run counter to natural rhythm. The tissues and organs become weak and susceptible to flu, colds and disease.
It is important to recognize that bacteria and viruses are everywhere; many are living in your body right now. You cannot avoid exposure to them, although you can take some precautions to limit the amount of exposure.
Healthy balance with nature and strong digestive fire (agni) create intelligent tissues and organs. In a strong body, viruses cannot grow. Your body simply digests them away.
What is the difference between a cold and the flu? A cold is an attack of the cold temperature of the season. The channels in the body become narrow and blocked, causing a compromise in the circulation of heat in your body. Your body goes into “create heat mode”, also known as a “fever” to fix the problem.
The purpose of a fever is to open the channels and move the heat. To prevent a “cold” keep the channels open and your body circulating heat. If you get a cold, bundle up in warm clothes and blankets and “sweat” the cold away. Drink warm tea with warming spices/herbs such as cloves, basil and cinnamon.
The flu is a cold condition (lack of heat circulation), a compromised immune system invaded by a virus. When you eat lifeless foods (especially too much sugar) and avoid rest (too much work- too many late nights), your immune system becomes weak and your body vulnerable to viral attack.
Ayurveda defines 3 types of immunity.
1. Natural immunity– immunity that a person is born with. If a person has strong immunity, he or she may not get sick even when others do. Natural immunity can increase or decrease depending diet and lifestyle choices.
2. Seasonal Immunity– immunity that changes with time of life, balance and seasons. Ayurveda offers many ways to strengthen immunity seasonally. Seasonal immunity can increase or decrease depending on a person’s ability to balance with the natural environment.
3. Therapeutic Immunity– immunity improved with therapies. These particular practices are especially important if you are under stress or have weakened your immunity through exposure to toxins, poor lifestyle and poor dietary choices.
Much of your immunity lies within your control. Strong immunity is supported by intelligent choices.
Eat pure intelligent whole foods. Give your body maximum nutrition. Preserved, boxed and fast foods lower vibration and decrease the body’s natural intelligence. They are devoid of the life energy your body needs for maximum performance. Choose fresh organic lentils, grains, fruits and vegetables…. and don’t forget the healing spices such as turmeric, coriander, clove, cinnamon, curry leaves, cumin and fennel.
Eat high quality protein. Your immune system needs intelligent protein to thrive. Paneer (homemade cheese made from raw organic milk) and cream top from yogurt is a great source for vegetarians. Carnivores can eat fresh fish and free range chicken. Organic Raw milk boiled with turmeric, green cardamom and cinnamon is a great source of Vitamin D.
Avoid dry foods. Dry foods mimic the nature of the fall/winter environment, and can tip the scale to imbalance. Your body will thrive with unctuous foods. Skip the pretzels and popcorn.
Create meals that include all six tastes. The 6 tastes are: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent. Using all six tastes help keep the flow in your body. The purpose of the spices is to keep the channels open and digestion strong. Otherwise, cold weather shrinks the channels causing clogging and susceptibility to colds
Eat on time. Never skip or delay meals. Skipping and delaying meals leads to narrowing of the channels and weakened immunity.
Never fast during this season. Cold weather does not allow toxins to completely move out of the body, so you may do more harm than good by fasting in the winter.
Eat smaller quantities of food. By eating less, the digestive fire becomes stronger.
This allows extra energy to digest impurities (strengthen immunity). Even doing this for a few days can help give your body an intelligent edge.
Eat greener greens. Only cook fresh greens until they turn brighter green in color. This is when the most important nutrients are available for assimilation.
Eat your main meal in the middle of the day and lighter foods in the evening. Your body will conserve more energy for its late night personal detox cycle if you eat lighter. If you eat heavy in the evening, your energy defers to digestion rather than to its evening clean-up/rejuvenate job.
Eat Soup. Eat warm soups fall and winter season to coax channels open.
Stay hydrated. Winter can be windy and dry and excessive dryness can create susceptibility. Drink plenty of fresh, clean room temperature spring water. Iced beverages weaken digestion; weak digestion creates susceptibility.
Drink tea. Make a thermos of warm tea each morning and carry it with you to sip throughout the day.
Stay Warm. Dress in layers; keep your body protected from wind & cold. Wear a hat on cold days.
Practice YOGA /Meditation. Stress creates stubborn toxins that lower immunity. Take extra time to breath, relax and release tension in your body so you have maximum energy flow in all areas.
Rest. Flu season is not the time to take on extra work! Implement a reasonable schedule that allows you to rest by 8 or 9pm and be asleep by 10pm. More sleep means a stronger immune system; tiredness creates susceptibility.
Go to bed ‘light’ in the belly. Do not eat after 8pm, and especially avoid heavy foods in the evening. Late night eating leaves a residue of undigested food (ama) in the body that creates susceptibility. Late night snacks create digestive roadblocks to immunity.
Go to bed on time for the best detox! Your body is working diligently between 10pm-2am to clear all toxins from your body and create customized immunity cells just for you. Don’t miss out!
Daily Bowel Movement: Constipation creates the perfect environment for bad bacteria to flourish in the gut, which creates susceptibility. Stay clear and open.
Minimize the use of computer and cell phone after 7pm; using the computer late in the evening disrupts the body’s energy system and sleep patterns.
Massage & lubricate your body. Schedule a massage 1X per week or month. Ask your massage therapist to use warm oil on your body, including your head. Oil massage improves your ability to absorb Vitamin D from the sun.
Oil the inside of the nostrils daily to lubricate the breathing channels and filter irritants that weaken body. Massage the arms, legs and abdomen to strengthen and support overall immunity. Swipe the spinal column with oil to keep the body’s overall vibration flowing freely throughout the day.
More love and affection. This is the perfect time for lovemaking and nurturing touch. Snuggling opens channels. Hug your children. This includes extra hugs for adult children!
Walk in Nature. Stroll outside near trees and water in the morning sunlight to absorb Vitamin D from the sun and fresh prana from nature’s elements.
The teachings of Ayurveda strengthen the whole individual. This ancient wisdom can protect you and your family from the discomforts of imbalance.