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How to Naturally Boost Your Immune System

How to Naturally Boost Your Immune System: Tips from Health Experts

A strong immune system is one of the most important contributors to good health. This is especially true today when the world is going to a pandemic.

The immune system is responsible for defending the body against harmful pathogens and diseases, and a compromised immune system can make you vulnerable to various illnesses.

This is why maintaining a robust immune system is crucial to promoting good health.

While the Western medicine tends to focus on treating symptoms, Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to health and views immunity as a balance between physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. 

In this article, we will explore tips from health experts on how to naturally boost your immune system, with a particular emphasis on Ayurvedic principles and practices.

Understanding The Ayurvedic Concept of “Ojas”

Ojas - Immune System
Source: Canva

The Ayurvedic system of medicine and science from India is composed of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that, when woven together, create a powerful framework / fabric for self-care, healing, and health optimisation.

One important Ayurvedic concept is Ojas, which refers to the vital essence that improves immunity in a weakened immune system.

1. What Exactly Is Ojas?

Ojas is an incredibly complex term in Ayurveda that has many meanings and implications. Generally speaking, it can be thought of as the vital essence in the body — the protective shield or armour that reinforces strength and vitality.

Considered to be the most subtle form of energy produced in your body, ojas is integral to the reduction of stress, promotion of physical health, and strengthening your immune system.

2. What Are The Sources Of Ojas?

In Ayurvedic tradition, it’s believed that ojas can be both inherited and produced within your body through healthy habits such as proper sleep, nourishment with healthy food, regular exercise, and right living practices, including meditation.

All those activities cultivate a sense of balance within the body while maintaining harmony between the mind and body, creating a field of positive energy around you that spreads to the rest of your surroundings.

3. How Does Ojas Help Us?

Ojas helps keep us strong, alert, stable, and resistant to disease by supporting our immune system. It allows us to stay healthy even during periods of diminished resistance caused by overwork, fatigue, or environmental stressors like pollution.

Although we can’t physically observe ojas, its benefit to our overall well being cannot be underestimated, either spiritually or physiologically.

The importance of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management for boosting immunity

boosting immunity
Source: Canva

Ayurveda is a traditional Indian system of medicine that emphasises the importance of a holistic approach to health and well-being. 

According to Ayurveda, the following are the importance of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management for boosting the immune system:

1. Balanced diet

A balanced diet is essential for maintaining optimal health and boosting immunity. According to Ayurveda, a balanced diet should include all six tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent) in the right proportions. 

A diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can provide the body with the necessary nutrients and antioxidants to boost the immune system.

2. Regular exercise

Regular exercise can help boost the immune system by improving blood circulation, reducing inflammation, and promoting the elimination of toxins from the body. According to Ayurveda, exercise should be gentle and should not cause strain or stress to the body. 

Walking, yoga, and swimming are some examples of exercises that can be beneficial for boosting immunity.

3. Stress management

Stress can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illness. Ayurveda recommends stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga to help reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being. Managing stress can help improve immune function and reduce the risk of illness.

Important Ayurvedic Tips for Boosting Immunity

Ayurvedic Tips for Boosting Immunity
Source: Canva

Ayurveda tries to keep the body in a state of balance and good health by using diet, lifestyle, and natural remedies.

The goal is to develop a strong immune system in order to fight infections more effectively. As such, Ayurveda offers several specific tips for boosting immunity.

1. Drink herbal teas

Herbal teas like ginger, turmeric, and licorice can help boost the immune system and improve digestion. These teas are full of antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and support the body’s natural healing process. 

Ginger tea has antibacterial properties that help strengthen the immune system, while turmeric tea with antiviral activity, can help reduce inflammation and speed up recovery from illnesses. Licorice tea helps improve respiratory health by relaxing bronchial spasms and reducing inflammation of the upper respiratory tract.

2. Practise daily oil massage

A daily oil massage, or abhyanga, is essential in Ayurvedic medicine as it helps promote healthy circulation, reduce stress levels, and boost the immune system. 

Massaging the body with warm sesame or coconut oil helps activate the lymphatic system, which transports white blood cells (immune cells) throughout the body to fight infection.

3. Use Herbs Like Ashwagandha and Turmeric

Herbs like ashwagandha and turmeric have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for a long time because of how well they boost the immune system.

Ashwagandha is known for its adaptogenic properties, which can help the body adapt better to stressors and build resilience against infection by supporting immune function. Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory properties that can inhibit bacterial growth, helping to protect us from infections.

4. Eat A Nutrient-Dense Diet

Eating a nutrient-dense diet filled with whole grains, fruits rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits or strawberries, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, fish, and lean meat provides our bodies with all the essential nutrients and antioxidants required for strengthening our immune systems. 

Also, adding clarified butter (ghee) to your diet goes a long way in boosting your immunity!

5. Take Shatavari Tablets or syrups like Veditone™

Shatavari is a herb that is known for its immune-boosting properties. It is also rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects. Shatavari tablets or syrups, like Veditone™, can be taken as a daily supplement to improve immunity.

6. Practice Yoga and Pranayama

Yoga and pranayama (breathing exercises) not only help reduce stress levels but also improve circulation, thereby boosting immunity in your body. 

Doing yoga postures increases the flexibility of your muscles and lymphatic drainage, calming down any blockages in your throat chakra region and clearing out any sluggishness caused by hormonal imbalances, etc., further aiding bodily processes like the menstrual cycle, etc. 

Practising these techniques daily, especially before sleeping at night, helps support overall well-being, thus promoting better sleep quality and giving your body enough time to rest, making it less susceptible to fatigue and infection!

The Western Perspectives on The Immune System

Immunity System
Source: Canva

Immunity is an important component of our body’s defence mechanism against disease.

The Western medical understanding states that the body relies on its white blood cells, or leukocytes, to combat invading pathogens and protect against infection.

Vaccines are made by putting a weaker version of the virus in our bodies so that our immune systems can build up a defence against potentially dangerous germs.

1. White Blood Cells

White blood cells are the key to good health because they find harmful invaders like bacteria or viruses and kill them.Different types of white blood cells have different roles.

For instance, neutrophils seek out and destroy bacteria, while T cells identify and attack infected or cancerous cells. The body naturally produces billions of these cells a day to help it fight off potential diseases.

2. Vaccines

Vaccines are a way for doctors to introduce a weakened version of a disease-causing agent into the body to boost immunity without making the person sick.It effectively teaches the immune system what to look for when it encounters the real thing in its full strength, creating immunity through exposure rather than risk of illness.

They are very important in modern medicine because they protect against a wide range of serious diseases like measles and polio.

3. Adaptive Immunity

Adaptive immunity is how our bodies become more efficient at fending off pathogens over time by building up memory stores through vaccination or exposure to antigens (i.e., foreign invaders).

These memory stores help mobilise existing antibody defences quickly upon subsequent exposures and enable B-cells to manufacture large amounts of antibodies quickly, defining it as an effective way for our bodies to create long-term protection from specific diseases, disease agents, and infectious organisms.

4. Innate Immunity

Innate immunity serves as our first line of defence against potential infections by recognizing generic patterns associated with certain classes of microorganisms, regardless of their individual characteristics or molecular composition.

Although this response is much slower compared to adaptive immunity, innate mechanisms can work even when adaptive defences have yet to be developed after exposure or vaccinations no longer confer protection due to malaria, flu strains, etc.

Limitations of Western medicine in Addressing Chronic Immune Issues

Chronic Immune Issues
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When dealing with chronic immune issues, understanding the strengths and limitations of both Western medicine and Ayurveda is essential.

While all forms of treatment ultimately aim to address underlying health problems, the approaches taken by each type of medical system can vary significantly.

But when it comes to managing chronic immunity issues, understanding and appreciating the limitations of Western medicine is key such as:

1. Focus on Symptom Management

Western medicine often focuses more on relieving symptoms than addressing the underlying causes or roots of these long-term ailments.

So, doctors tend to prescribe medicines and treatments that ease the symptoms but don’t always fix the underlying systemic imbalances that may have caused the problem in the first place.

2. Over Reliance on antibiotics

Patients who suffer from chronic immune disorders may find themselves relying heavily on antibiotics to treat recurring infections.

Not only can this increase their risk for developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria over time but it can also weaken their immunity further, as frequent doses often do more harm than good in such cases.

3. Limited Understanding of Mind-Body Connection

Unlike Ayurveda, which recognizes the importance of connecting mind-body vitality for holistic balance and health, Western medical systems tend to focus narrowly on individual organs or tissues without consideration for physical harmony or wellbeing as a whole.

4. Emphasis on Individual Symptoms

Oftentimes, when treating individuals with chronic illnesses like cancer or autoimmune conditions, Western doctors focus primarily on specific signs and symptoms at a given point in time instead of considering how those symptoms might be related to not just general physical health but emotional wellbeing too.

Meanwhile, Ayurvedic practitioners make an effort to incorporate elements like lifestyle modifications into their treatments designed to alleviate pain while promoting wellness through balance restoration efforts over time.

5. Potential Side Effects

One major drawback modern medicine faces, including both surgical interventions and other medications, is its potentially dangerous side effects that further weaken an already compromised immune system, complicating efforts to restore its strength over the long term and overall patient stability.

A Quick Comparison and contrast for Ayurvedic and Western approaches to boosting immunity

AspectAyurvedic approachWestern approach
View of ImmunityEmphasises overall health and balance of the body as the foundation of immunity. Immunity is seen as a natural function of the body and is strengthened by a balanced lifestyle and diet.Emphasises the role of the immune system in fighting infections and diseases. Immunity is seen as a specialised function of the body that can be enhanced through specific interventions like vaccines, medications, and supplements.
Diet and NutritionEmphasises a balanced diet that is tailored to one’s individual constitution (dosha). Certain foods are believed to enhance immunity, such as ginger, turmeric, and holy basil.Emphasises a balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals. Certain nutrients, such as vitamin C and zinc, are believed to support the immune system.
Lifestyle and ExerciseEmphasises the importance of a balanced lifestyle that includes adequate sleep, stress management, and regular exercise. Yoga and meditation are also recommended to reduce stress and promote overall health.Emphasises the importance of regular exercise and physical activity to support overall health and boost immunity.
Herbal SupplementsA wide range of herbal supplements are used to support immunity, including ashwagandha, guduchi, and amalaki.Supplements like echinacea, elderberry, and garlic are believed to boost immunity.
Medical InterventionsAyurvedic practitioners may use a range of treatments to support immunity, such as shatavari tablets, panchakarma (a detoxification procedure), herbal remedies, and lifestyle modifications.Western medicine focuses on vaccines, antibiotics, and antivirals to prevent and treat infections.
Overall FocusAyurvedic approach emphasises a holistic approach to health and wellbeing, with a focus on prevention and maintaining balance in the body.Western approach emphasises targeted interventions to treat specific illnesses and conditions, with a focus on the immune system as a key defence mechanism.

Well Known Ayurvedic Immune-Boosting Recipes

Ayurvedic Immune-Boosting Recipes
Source: Canva

Here are three Ayurvedic immune-boosting recipes along with their Ayurvedic principles and how they support immunity:

1. Immune-Boosting Golden Milk

Ingredients required to Prepare:

  • 1 cup milk (cow’s or plant-based)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp honey

Instructions to Prepare:

  • In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat.
  • Add the turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon powder and whisk well.
  • Continue to heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until it begins to simmer.
  • Remove from heat and add honey, stirring until dissolved.
  • Enjoy the warmth.

The Ayurvedic principles Behind It

Turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon are warming spices that stimulate the digestive fire (agni) and help to eliminate toxins from the body. 

They also have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation in the body and support immune function. Honey is considered a natural immunomodulator that helps to strengthen the immune system.

2. Ayurvedic Immunity Soup

Ingredients required to Prepare:

  • 1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup chopped vegetables of your choice (e.g. carrots, sweet potato, zucchini)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions to Prepare:

  • In a large pot, heat the ghee or coconut oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add the turmeric, cumin, coriander, and black pepper and stir well.
  • Add the vegetable broth and chopped vegetables and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Serve hot.

The Ayurvedic principles Behind It

Ghee and coconut oil are considered to be nourishing and provide energy to the body. Onion, garlic, and ginger are pungent and heating, which helps to stimulate the digestive fire (agni) and improve digestion. 

Turmeric, cumin, coriander, and black pepper have anti-inflammatory properties and support immune function. Vegetables provide fibre, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for overall health.

3. Ayurvedic Immune-Boosting Tea

Ingredients required to Prepare:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp honey

Instructions to Prepare:

  • In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  • Add the ginger, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the mixture and stir in honey.
  • Enjoy the warmth.

The Ayurvedic principles Behind It

Ginger is a warming spice that stimulates the digestive fire (agni) and helps to eliminate toxins from the body. Fennel seeds are considered to be cooling and soothing to the digestive system. Coriander seeds have anti-inflammatory properties and support immune function. 

Cumin seeds are also considered to be warming and help to improve digestion. And honey is considered a natural immunomodulator that helps to strengthen the immune system.

Lifestyle Practices for Boosting Immunity

Practices for Boosting Immunity
Source: Canva

There are several lifestyle practices that can help to support a strong immune system. Here are three practices along with their Ayurvedic principles and how they support immunity:

1. Meditation

Meditation is a practice in which you focus your mind on a single object, thought, or action in order to feel calm and clear-headed.Meditation is seen as a powerful way to improve health and well-being as a whole in Ayurveda.

It is believed to balance the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) and calm the mind, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are known to weaken the immune system, so reducing these factors can help support immunity.

2. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing involves taking slow, deep breaths in through the nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth. This practice can help calm the mind and promote relaxation.

It is believed to balance the prana vayu (life force energy) in the body and improve the flow of oxygen to the tissues. This can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can support immune function.

3. Spending time in nature

Spending time in nature, such as through hiking, gardening, or simply taking a walk outside, can help reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being.

The doshas are thought to be balanced when you spend time in nature and feel grounded and connected to the natural world.This can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can support immune function. In fact, exposure to sunlight can help boost vitamin D levels in the body, which is important for immune function.

By promoting balance among the doshas and supporting the flow of prana, vayu, and oxygen to the tissues, these practices can help to support overall health and well-being.

Key Takeaways

The most important thing to take away from this article is that you need to take a smart step to boosting your immune system if you want to stay in good health. This means eating a balanced diet, working out regularly, dealing with stress, and getting enough sleep. And also, incorporating immune-boosting herbs and supplements, such as shatavari tablets, ashwagandha, turmeric, and vitamin C, can be beneficial.

It is important to note that while these practices can be helpful, it is always best to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your health routine. They can give you advice on how to boost your immune system based on your specific needs and health history.

Overall, taking a holistic approach to boosting your immunity can help strengthen your body’s natural defences and improve your health as a whole. By making healthy lifestyle choices and using remedies that boost your immune system, you can help keep yourself healthy and avoid getting sick.

What are some Ayurvedic herbs that can help boost my immune system?

Ayurveda suggests using herbs such as ashwagandha, tulsi, turmeric, and guduchi to strengthen the immune system. These herbs contain natural compounds that help regulate the immune system’s response to infections and diseases.

Can Ayurveda help prevent viral infections such as the flu or COVID-19?

Ayurvedic practices such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, following a balanced diet, and using herbal remedies can strengthen the body’s natural defence against viral infections. However, Ayurveda should not be used as a substitute for medical treatments recommended by a qualified healthcare provider.

Are there any Ayurvedic lifestyle changes that can improve my immunity?

Ayurveda emphasises the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to boost immunity. This includes eating a balanced diet, practicing stress-reducing techniques such as yoga and meditation, getting adequate sleep, and engaging in regular physical exercise. These lifestyle changes can help improve overall health and strengthen the immune system.