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Improving Immunity with Ayurveda

According to Ayurveda, immunity and natural resistance to disease goes hand-in-hand with good general health. The Ayurvedic approach is that the body is kept in balance and the immune system is strong so that infections and various inflammations seldom manifest. Low immunity and poor health have common symptoms such as low disease resistance, allergies, fatigue and general feeling of low energy, weakness and lethargy without any diagnosis, recurrent respiratory disorders and other infections, digestive disorders, loss of appetite, becoming easily overstressed and chronic insomnia.

To stay healthy, the five basic elements (Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Ether) need to remain balanced and in harmony within the body. Ayurveda does not ‘kill’ an infection like antibiotics do but instead it strengthens the body’s immune system to fight disease or infection. It is important to remember that you are capable of achieving balance. Pay attention to the signs that the balance is shifting then do something about it.

Causes of low immunity include stress, poor diet (unwholesome foods, particularly white sugar, which reduces white cell’s ability to fight infection), poor mental health, negative emotions (guilt, anger, envy, jealousy), genetic factors, pollution, overuse of antibiotics, metabolic disorders (being obese or emaciated), viruses, and lack of exercise.

Here are some Ayurvedic tips for strengthening immunity:

• Consume the biggest meal of the day around noon, eat lighter in the morning and in the evening. • Do not overeat. • Eat immune-boosting foods such as apples, pomegranates, green leafy vegetables, asparagus and whole grains. • Sip hot water or fresh ginger tea throughout the day to boost the digestion. • Avoid simple sugars in any form, limit alcohol, avoid processed foods, microwaved foods, canned foods, foods that contain preservatives, leftovers and fried foods. • Never drink ice water. • Introduce immune-boosting spices into cooking, such as turmeric, black pepper, cumin, coriander. • Use clarified butter (ghee) for cooking. • Choose foods that are in accordance with your individual ayurvedic constitution. • Follow ayurvedic food combining rules. • Fast one day a week, if possible. • Limit or avoid nightshade vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes), dairy and gluten.

Along with the recommendations listed above it’s also important to remember to exercise daily, practice yoga, mediation and pranayama breathing, sleep adequately, avoid constipation, practice self-massage daily with ayurvedic oils, and to try and maintain a positive outlook on life. The good news is imbalance doesn’t usually happen overnight. So if you can recognize it, you can stop it or slow it down. Ayurveda recognizes your spirit as a driving force in the process of healing and keeping you in great shape. It acknowledges the connection between the mind, body and soul and uses each to balance the other.

We here at Santa Cruz Ayurveda hope these tips help support you during this holiday season. May you be peaceful, happy and healthy during this holiday season and beyond.

Many Blessings, Santa Cruz Ayurveda

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