According to Ayurveda, the theory of Immunity is called ‘beej-bhumi’ which literally translates to ‘seed-land’. Our body is the ‘land’ in which the ‘bugs’/infection are like seeds. When our body has infections, ‘Ama’ which is the toxic by-product is formed. As the ‘ama’ in the body increases and ‘Ojas’ (which is the fine vital energy formed in the body as a result of proper digestion) decreases, the ‘seeds’ or the infection also finds its fertile soil to grow on.
Ayurveda believes that negative emotions can also be a reason for the decrease in ‘Ojas’ like feelings of anger, hatred, guilt, jealousy, hunger, excessive fatigue and so on… The weakening of immunity can also occur due to negative emotions, excessive antibiotics, lack of physical activity, also genetic factors. Good health is a sign of a good immune system.
Another aspect of Ayurveda is called ‘Tejas’- the intelligence of our body. Our body has ‘Tejas’ that is it is able to differentiate between the foreign organisms and their own cells. ‘Tejas’ helps the cells communicate with each other through hormones and other ‘chemical messages’. When the intelligence of the body is disturbed due to toxins or trauma, ‘Tejas’ is blocked and so it cannot distinguish the cells properly. This condition commonly leads to autoimmune disease.
We must consume food that will help to increase ‘Tejas’ and avoid consuming food that will increase ‘ama’ in the body.
Here are some tips to boost your immunity:
- Consume natural and easily digestible food and increase the intake of raw fruits and vegetables.
- Consume cereals, legumes, low-fat organic dairy products and food which are neither raw nor overcooked.
- Consume food kept at room temperature; avoid too much consumption of refrigerated food.
- Dairy products such as milk, paneer (cottage cheese) and ghee are good for boosting the Ojas energy as ghee and milk have the property to stimulate Ojas. Adding a bit of cardamom to warm milk will increase the digestion power.
- The whole-grain foods such as quinoa, amaranth, flax seeds also have a positive effect on the immune system, because they contain fiber and valuable nutrients, which clean up the toxic substances from the body.
- The green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, leafy cabbage, are recommended for a weak immune system. They also contain calcium, iron and other valuable nutrients that have a cleansing effect on bowels. Few other vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower contain a lot of antioxidants and flavonoids that also stimulate immunity.
- The legumes contain a high amount of proteins, are light and healthy and so they are highly recommended in Ayurveda.
- Avoid consumption of processed food as they increase the ‘ama’ content in the body. They don’t allow ‘Tejas’ to reach the body cells which in turn causes toxins to accumulate in the body. As the non-digested foods increase in the body, the food starts to rot and a process of fermentation begins and thus toxic substances are released in the body.
- Add some immune-stimulating spices to your diet.
- turmeric has immunity stimulating effects due to its ability to remove toxins from the body which helps reduce ‘ama’.
- pepper: cleanses the body entirely so that it facilitates ‘Ojas’ energy to reach the tissues in depth.
- cardamom, cinnamon, healing herbs can be consumed in the form of tea or tonics.
Ayurveda not only recommends being physically active but also to give enough rest to the body. Give yourself some good body massage in order to restore the strength. Most important of all is practicing meditation, breathing techniques like pranayama and practicing Yoga.
Some of the asanas which help in building immunity are Sukhasana, Matsyasana, Ardhamatsyendrasana, Trikonasana, Tadasana. For more details on how to do the asanas and how it helps in building immunity, refer 7 Yogasanas that help in building the immune system.
As said above, all these tips are aimed to restore balance in the body and help repair underlying imbalance and strengthen the immune system, rather than treating the problem. Eat healthily and stay healthy.