Fighting off the Flu with Ayurveda

Along with the colorful changing of leaves and the crisp smell of autumn days comes also the need to make sure we’re keeping our bodies charged and ready to prevent illness.  Following are some tips from Ayurveda on how to build up the strength of your body:

photo credit: High Definition Wallpapers

photo credit: High Definition Wallpapers

1)  Eat an Autumn-friendly diet.  According to Ayurveda your body changes with the seasons.  Additionally, nature becomes abundant with what your body will most readily receive and make use of.  Focus on eating local food that can nourish the positive strength and stability aspects of Kapha (the bio-energy of water and earth) like sweet potato, pumpkin, and squash.  Beets are also a great choice to build up the strength of your liver and keep your blood clean, important in making sure that toxins are filtered out of your body and your body is as clean as possible, ready to fight off infection.

2)  Incorporate natural immune-boosting spices into your meals.  Turmeric is an Ayurvedic spice often touted for its antimicrobial abilities.  From an Ayurvedic perspective it has the energetic properties of being bitter and cooling, both of which are beneficial for maintaining liver health and, in general, reducing excess Pitta (the bio-energy of fire) which can accumulate with consistent stress and an environment or diet which increases acidity in the body.  Cinnamon is another spice which has antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.  With sweet and pungent properties, it helps to build strength of Kapha while increasing Pitta’s ability to fight cold entering into the body.

3)  Develop an active practice to relieve stress.  Stress wears the body and mind down, decreasing your ability to remain resistant against disease.  From an Ayurvedic perspective, stress is a combination of excess Vata (the bio-energy of space and air), creating erratic movements in internal body functions, and Pitta, eating away at your body tissues.  Practice deep breathing for at least five minutes a day, engage in a yoga routine for 20 minutes a day, or journal to help clear your mind.  Remembering to have fun and let yourself laugh is also one of the easiest ways to counter stress and boost your immune system.  Consistency versus quantity is key as your mind will begin to adapt to the routine that you’ve set for yourself and naturally begin to gravitate towards a stress-free mode in which it is significantly easier and more enjoyable to carry out daily tasks.

Take care of yourself and enjoy the beautiful Autumn weather!