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Stand Up to Viruses: 7 Ayurvedic Tips to Help Boost Immunity
Our immunity is the body’s defense system that protects us from external invaders that can harm us. We are all born with an immune system that helps us fight infections. Our immunity continues to develop and get stronger throughout our lives as we are exposed to more viruses and bacteria.
As long as the body and mind are healthy, your immune system is likely to be healthy too. As COVID-19 continues to spike around the world, it is good to revisit and remind ourselves about the basic fundamentals of what really keeps our immunity strong.
How to Improve Immunity with 7 Simple Ayurvedic Practices
1. Get Enough Sleep
Many functions of our immune system happen when we are asleep. Without enough sleep, their work remains incomplete, and we don’t build a strong defense system. In fact, a study showed that people who slept less than seven hours per night were almost three times more likely to catch a common cold (rhinovirus) than those who slept more than eight hours. (1)
2. Stress Can Reduce Immunity
Stress weakens the immune system. Stress has been known to make us more susceptible to flu or common cold, and other viral infections. It also increases the amount of time it takes to recover from an illness. Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic Herb that has been found very useful in stress management as it reduces cortisol levels. (2)
3. Maintain Healthy Gut Bacteria
The relationship between gut bacteria and health is a relatively new and fascinating subject in the world of nutrition science. Science is learning that the millions of good bacteria that live in our gut can influence the immune system. Triphala, a combination of three herbs, is a great cleansing supplement that can help ease constipation. Triphala is tridoshic by nature, so it has a balancing effect overall. Don’t take it too often though, as too much Triphala can cause gastrointestinal side effects. Lower your dosage or discontinue altogether if you experience gas or stomach upset.
4. Clean Up Your Diet
Your diet provides the building blocks of all tissues in our body, including the raw material for making white blood cells and other immune system warriors. What we consume is our construction material; choose wisely.
5. Get Some Sunlight
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is indispensable for a good immune system. Make time to get some sun and to step outdoors.
However, remember that it is the otherwise harsh UV light that interacts with our skin to produce vitamin D. That’s why when you use sunscreen you don’t make as much vitamin D, as it blocks the UV light. So judicious exposure to UV is needed. You need to strike a balance: too much sun and you are at risk of skin cancer; too little and you’re at risk of low vitamin D levels. When in doubt, check with your doctor.
6. Moderate Exercise Improves Immunity
Exercise is great for the immune system, as it improves circulation. Equally, excessive exercise can weaken the immune system. Practice moderation for good health.
7. Ayurvedic Boosters for Stronger Immunity
Ayurveda works on removing toxins (ama) from the system and uses herbs to help the process. Herbal therapy is most effective when used in conjunction with lifestyle changes.
Practice Good Hygiene—for Yourself and Others
A healthy immune system can protect us from many diseases by fighting and defeating the invading viruses. But it is also extremely important to maintain good personal and respiratory hygiene to keep ourselves and our communities safe. Remember that most viruses and bacteria spread through contact. We can make ourselves sick if we don’t wash our hands. We can make others sick if we don’t cover our faces when we sneeze or cough. Therefore, never underestimate the importance of developing good habits and manners.
source: World Health Organization
In summary, seven things will help you develop a good immune system: enough sleep, less stress, a happy gut, a healthy diet, lots of sun exposure, exercise, and some ayurvedic boosters. Additionally, maintaining good personal hygiene will keep you and everyone else also protected from unwanted illnesses.
Stay safe. Stay healthy.
Reprinted with permission from yoganama.com
Namita Piparaiya is a Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist and the founder of Yoganama. A former corporate executive, she spent over a decade, from management trainee to business head, with leading MNCs including Citibank, Aviva, and Generali before finding her true calling in Yoga.
As part of her wellness journey, she has completed over 700 hours of Yoga Alliance certified training in Hatha Yoga. She has also studied Pranayama, Ayurveda, Yoga Philosophy, and Indian scriptures from some of the most reputed institutions and teachers in India and abroad. These include courses and workshops across Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Cambridge Summer School, eCornell, The Himalayan Institute (USA), David Frawley’s American Institute of Vedic Studies, Chinmaya Mission, India Yoga, Paulie Zink (founder of Yin Yoga), and BNS Iyengar (Mysore). Her approach is, therefore, holistic and unique, bringing together all her experiences to build a strong connection between the body, breath, mind, and one’s inherent constitution and nature.
Namita is acclaimed as one of the leading Yoga influencers in India, with a very engaged and dedicated following across social media platforms. She has been featured and published by India Today, Statesman, The Week, Business World, Elephant Journal, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, and other leading publications in India and abroad.
Namita is an Honours graduate in Mathematics from Delhi University and has an MBA from Symbiosis (SCMHRD), Pune. An avid traveler, she visited 53 cities across 15 countries in 2019, exploring the philosophies, cuisines, and customs of different cultures. She lives in Mumbai, India.