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Self-Care Guide: Immunity
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Ways to Boost Natural Immunity
Everyone is more susceptible to respiratory problems when the seasons are changing, such as in the fall and early spring. This is because the body functions differently in each season, and in the transition between the hot and cold seasons the agni, or digestive fire, can start to fluctuate dramatically. If you do not adjust your diet and routine and follow the ayurvedic guidelines for the seasonal transitions, you can build up ama. Once the body is fertile for disease, it is easy for a cold or flu to sprout, as in the seed and land theory mentioned earlier.
That is why respiratory illnesses and allergies abound in the fall and early spring. In the early spring, there is an added factor, because ama accumulated during the winter starts to melt, flooding the micro-channels and overloading the immune system. The body's immune system is weakened, and becomes a fertile ground for bacteria and allergens.
Ways to Burn Ama
Panchakarma treatments should be performed under the supervision of an ayurvedic physician. But if you can't go to a Maharishi Ayurveda Health Center for internal cleansing, you can still follow an ayurvedic regimen at home to cleanse the body of ama during the transition between the seasons. For instance, you can eat warm, light, nourishing foods such as soups, or light meals of mildly spiced vegetables with grains such as quinoa, cous cous and millet. Eating a lighter diet for a few weeks while the weather is changing will help burn away ama rather than accumulate it. Also be careful to get proper rest, drink plenty of warm fluids, and take daily walks or do other exercise that is suitable for your body type.
If you feel less hungry at mealtimes than usual, or if you feel heavy and dull in the two hours immediately after a meal, these are indications that your digestive fire is burning low. To help enhance your agni, add Pomegranate Chutney as a condiment for your meal. Visit the recipes for our recipe for pomegranate chutney.
Cooking your food with immune-enhancing spices such as cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric, ginger and black pepper is also an important way to enhance agni and reduce ama. You can also take one tablet of the Maharishi Ayurveda herbal supplement Herbal Digest with each meal to enhance digestion, or take two to three tablets of Herbal Cleanse at night if you are feeling constipated.
Another very effective way to purify the body of ama at the change of seasons is to take Elim-Tox-O, one tablet morning and evening, for 45 days in the spring and the fall.
Finally, it's important to always avoid the factors that cause ama to accumulate, in any season. Stay away from leftovers, processed foods, ice-cold foods and drinks, and heavy foods such as fried foods. Vegetables from the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and sweet peppers) should also be avoided, as these create ama.
Diet for Boosting Natural Immunity
For specific food recommendations, follow a Vata pacifying diet in fall and early winter (from October 15 to February 15). Eat all six tastes, but eat more of the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, as these enhance Vata. Vata-pacifying foods include nourishing grains such as rice and couscous; sweet, juicy fruits such as cooked apples or pears; squashes, zucchini, and asparagus; and light, easily digestible proteins such as panir (a freshly made cheese), lassi (a yogurt drink that aids digestion) and vegetable proteins such as mung dhal. Asparagus is especially good for enhancing the immune system.
Lifestyle Tips for Boosting Immunity
Don't forget to do your daily ayurvedic massage before your bath. Daily massage is very important for opening the channels, stimulating the digestion, removing toxins from the body, and pacifying the doshas. It is especially soothing to Vata dosha, which is seated in the skin. All of these factors make massage a vital therapy in strengthening immunity and preventing respiratory problems. (It's important to note that massage is NOT recommended if you already have a cough or other respiratory imbalance, because it can push the ama deeper into the system. Also refrain from a full-body massage during menstrual flow.)
The new Youthful Skin Massage Oil for Men or Women is ideal for any season, because it brings needed moisture to alleviate dryness of the skin. Designed to penetrate the deepest layers of the skin, the oil is absorbed by the skin much quicker than any other massage oils. This remarkable, newly developed massage oil also has a trans-dermal effect on overall health, and thus helps enhance immunity as well.
Adequate sleep is especially important in Vata season, as it counteracts the lively, moving Vata. It is also essential for anyone in any season who wants to enhance immunity and resist disease. Take Blissful Sleep if you have trouble falling asleep (a Vata disorder), Deep Rest if you wake frequently, especially between 2: 00 and 4: 00 a.m. with energy (a Pitta disorder) and take Blissful Sleep III if you sleep eight hours through the night but still feel exhausted when you wake up (a Kapha disorder).
Exercise is another important aspect of the ayurvedic routine, because it helps enhance agni and burns away toxins. It's important to choose the right exercise for your body type and for the season, though. Daily walks and yoga postures are good for balancing all the doshas and especially suit Vata types, while more vigorous daily exercise is required by Kapha types to stay healthy. Exercise is especially important during Kapha season, because it helps to boost agni and your immunity when toxins are flooding the body.
Herbs for Health
You can also drink a warm, immune-enhancing tea such as Sniffle Free Tea, twice a day with your meal or after it. The herbs in this thermogenic tea will help balance Kapha immediately. If your head is feeling heavy or congested, you can also use Sniffle Free Aroma oil to help create balance and clear the sinuses.
Bio-Immune is a powerful supplement that strengthens neuro-immunal responses, purifies the liver and blood, and dissolves ama and amavisha. Take one tablet of Bio-Immune each morning and evening to enhance overall immunity.
Flu Season Defense offers nutritional support to strengthen the body's natural immunity. It regulates fluid balance and mucus in the lungs and sinuses; removes toxins and shleshma from the lungs, and cleanses the micro-circulatory channels that have been blocked by ama. It boosts immunity and removes toxins that weaken resistance.
Sniffle Free is aimed more at the upper respiratory system, and bolsters the body's natural resistance to the cold. Sniffle Free helps clear the channels, and when that happens, shleshma can be drained from the body. It strengthens the digestive fire, balances the production of moisture and mucus, improves resistance to cold temperatures, and enhances the b ioavailability and circulation of vital nutrients.
You can see that all of these formulas are aimed at restoring balance, and they help repair the underlying imbalance, and strengthen the immune system, rather than treat the superficial level of the symptoms. The problem with the symptomatic approach is that it doesn't solve the problem, which will likely come back again and again.
DISCLAIMER: These results may not be typical. Results with products may vary from individual to individual. Information in this newsletter is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on ayurveda and neither the information nor the product is intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional. Before making changes to your diet or routine, it is recommended that you speak with your physician.
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