Keeping Immunity up during the Cold Weather Season to Avoid Flu and other Illness

‘Tis the season for cold and flu symptoms. Stay healthy this year with these immunity-boosting tips from Ileana Gonzalez, ayurvedic practitioner. 

The Idea is not to treat illness; The Idea is to treat Wellness !!!

Boost Wellness || Boost Immune System

We know the way to rev up your immune system so you don’t get the flu this year. Learn what your body’s defenses do and how to strengthen them so you can boost your odds of staying well.

The Immune System put a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against disease. It stops threats like bacteria or viruses from getting into your body. Think of it as a powerful “search and destroy” task force that sends immune-cell forces out to hunt down the unwanted intruders and get rid of them.

Understand the Cause of Colds and Flu’s: In Ayurveda, flu is known as Vata Shleshmika Jwara. Ayurveda teaches that the common cold results from an imbalance of the all the three Doshas; i.e. Kapha dosha, Vata dosha, and Pitta dosha. You develop a cold when your body has an excess of kapha’s cool, moist characteristics, causing a stuffy or runny nose and lots of sneezing. And, excess vata energy reduces agni, or gastric fire, so you get the chills.

Vata dosha common colds have dry coughs, little mucus discharge, hoarse voice, headache and a runny nose. People with Pitta dosha who have common colds will have fever, sore throat, yellowish nasal discharge and continuous blockage of the nose. People with Kapha dosha common colds have thick mucus discharges with dull headaches and heaviness of the head.

Learn the Ayurvedic Ways to Naturally Boost Your Immune System to Avoid Flu and other Illness:

The human body is fully equipped with mechanisms to stave off viruses and germs, so the key to preventing flu viruses is to maintain those systems operating at their peak. The good news is that you can strengthen your immune system with natural supplements, beneficial immune-specific foods, and by paying attention to a few simple lifestyle habits.

Flush out toxins. You know the old adage: Drink plenty of fluids when you’re sick (to prevent dehydration and mobilize congestion). Ayurveda is more specific: Drink lots of hot water. Why? According to this ancient healing system, hot water

  • Is easier for the body to absorb than tepid or cold water
  • Flushes out immunity-compromising ama (toxins) from your system
  • Hydrates your mucus membranes, loosening mucus
  • Pacifies the dry, cold vata dosha with its hot, hydrating properties.

At the first sign of a cold, I suggest sipping hot water every 15 to 20 minutes for three days.

Fight the cold from your kitchen. Ayurveda suggests using food as medicine. I recommend eating light, simple, and warm foods, particularly “clear foods”—clear broths, clear liquids (water and teas), and seasonal veggies that have some translucence once they’re thoroughly cooked, such as leeks, bok choy, and kale. Avoid heavy, thick, dense, rich foods, which can be challenging to digest when you’re sick. Also avoid cold, frozen, dry, and raw foods, which are all hard to digest.

The top Ayurvedic remedies to cure the flu:

  • Drink ginger tea. It acts as a decongestant, helps stimulate slow digestion and improves the taste buds too.
  • Lemon juice with water and honey. It soothes sore throat, boosts vitamin C intake and releases excess cough.
  • Garlic contains antiseptic property; garlic in soups or supplements is the best remedy.
  • Tulsi and long pepper in equal quantity ground together and rolled into small pills, take 3-4 times daily. Tulsi has antiviral, antioxidant property. It is good immune-modulator. Long pepper relieves inflammation.
  • 5 gm ginger juice mixed with one amla’s (Indian gooseberry) juice and one teaspoon honey with a little water. It boosts body immunity and acts as a decongestant.

Gargle with salt water. Gargling with salt water loosens excess mucus and removes bacteria and fungi from the throat. It can provide temporary relief for sore, itchy throats. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1 cup of warm water, according to the clinic’s website. A study published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people who gargled for three times daily saw nearly a 40 percent reduction in upper respiratory infections during cold and flu season, when compared to a control group.

Take ginger. Ayurveda has found that ginger relieves the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. According to Ayurvedic theory, ginger is one of the best remedy for colds, too. “Its pungent nature reduces the kapha dosha,” which is active during colds and produces excess mucus when it’s out of balance.

But a word of caution from Ayurvedic physician: don’t combine ginger and anticoagulant medications such as aspirin, “because they’re both blood thinners.”

I also recommend inhaling ginger-infused steam to reduce sinus and lung congestion. First, boil 1 teaspoon of ginger in 1 pint of water. Once the water cools a bit, you can lean your face toward the pot (just to the point where it’s comfortable), drape a towel over your head, and inhale the steam through your nose for several minutes. Repeat as needed.

Try Pranayama and stretching to relieve chest constriction. To relieve breathing-related constriction due to coughing, sneezing, and physical inactivity, we suggest a simple practice called Dirgha Pranayama, or Three-Part Breath. And do “gentle, rolling-around-the-floor stretching” when you feel up to it to open up your chest, stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (often referred to as the relaxation response), and relieve stiffness.

To Conclude: Prevention is definitely better than cure; here are ways to prevent it altogether:

  • Cover the head and neck with clothes
  • Gargle with hot saline water
  • Take fresh fruits and vegetables to boost your immunity
  • Keep yourself warm at all times
  • Have a Sound Sleep
  • Do not share towels and glasses
  • Avoid deep fried and processed food

Ileana Gonzalez has been practicing Ayurveda since her first training opportunity in 2009. She spent 5 months at Arsha Vidya Peetam Trust, an ayurveda and yoga training center, ayurvedic hospital, and one of the biggest ayurvedic pharmacies in the world. In 2012 Ileana spent time with Dr. Vasant Lad at the gurukula he hosts every year at his clinic in Pune, India, getting a first-hand look at the traditional, clinical application of Ayurveda under the guidance of Dr. Lad. In 2011, Ileana founded Apurva Wellness, where she offers traditional ayurvedic treatments, including massages and lifestyle consulting, and specializes in the ancient cleansing techniques of panchakarma. Ileana believes in the long term rewards of a healthy lifestyle, and is very much committed to offering her clients the tools and the support needed to live a life of balance and wellness. Visit Ileana's Blog, and connect with her on Facebook at @novaayurveda.