Its been a month now and the word "immunity" has a new found meaning in our lives.
Each of us wants to have an immune system for ourselves and our family that is strong enough to fight off anything and everything that comes our way.
But a strong immune system is not something that gets built in a day. It is a combination of lifestyle and habits and can change with age or with altering lifestyles.While it is really difficult to know how much our bodies can deal with anti-bodies untill we are attacked,most of us do not want to trial that-especially in the middle of a pandemic!
Scientifically there are contrary views on what might help or not boosting your systems defense abilities but there is no secondary view of leading an overall healthy lifestyle while being particularly mindful of certain habits.
In a recent instagram post,I suggested that now seems to be the best time to re-think our routines,practices,habits. We may not be leading a perfect life today and I m not sure such a thing exists but we all know we can make small changes or improvements to several parts of our daily routines.Follow me on instagram@earthenlivinguk or on Facebook as I take you through a journey of one practice at a time,simplifying and giving you time to make small changes for much larger benefits.
For now, here are a few tips towards eating better and more healthy especially during the next few months.This list was put together after a online workshop recently conducted by prominent Ayurvedic practitioner in London.
A large part of having a good immune system is gut health. So here are a few pointers to keep that gut happy!
1. Reduce the intake of refined sugar
Sugar weakens the immune system .One teaspoon of sugar is said to lower your immune response for the next several hours. If you decide to binge on an ice cream tub or have cake everyday and carry that on for days together,you can well calculate how many hours that might be.
2.Re-think your morning drink
Are you a slave to caffeine every morning? Here are the better alternatives
Lemon and hot water
Honey,lemon and ginger with warm water
An ideal combination:Honey,lemon,ginger and a spoonful of raw apple cider vinegar in warm water.
Apple Cider vinegar is both a pre-biotic and a pro-biotic,both of which are needed and excellent to maintain good gut health.It is also an anti bacterial as is honey.The above combination draws out the benefits of ginger which is a solution to almost everything in ancient Indian and Chinese medicine,lemon and warm water helps you get the morning started on the right note.
So instead of a caffeine fix every morning, with the above drink you are setting yourself up for the day in terms of elimination as well a good digestion for the day.
If you have any underlying health conditions like diabetes or take other tablets for a condition,please consult your doctor first before using apple cider vinegar.
Here is a recipe to follow,
HONEY,LEMON,GINGER APPLE CIDER INFUSION
200ml of hot water (same temp as you would use for tea)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp freshly juiced ginger or a 2 inch piece of fresh ginger sliced thinly
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tsp raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Combine all the above ingredients and mix well untill combined.Always add the honey last or just before you actually begin sipping on it.Ideally honey should be added when it is a drinkable temperature for you.
Include lots of leafy greens in your diet.A great option is to use at least two greens in your meal everyday.One as a vegetable and another as a herb e.g spinach or kale in your mains and coriander or parsely as a herb.With a multitude of benefits,leafy greens are said to support gut health effectively.
Also consider including foods that are high in zinc to help boost overall immunity e.g. pumpkin seeds.
4.Eat a varied diet.
Most of us are creatures of habit.Its easy and convenient to wake up to cereal everyday or toast everyday or have similar foods every single day. For now, it works better to switch things up a little,eating a wide variety of foods everyday.This will make sure you are including all micronutrients in the form of essential vitamins and minerals and also helping boost broad spectrum immunity.
While shopping,instead of going through the aisles looking for your typical shop,shop by color.
Look for fresh fruit and veggies that are green,orange,purple,yellow,brown and red.
5.Eat Balanced meals
Now is not the time for any restrictive diets.Eat complete,full,balanced meals.
No detox plans as yet.Detoxing,cleansing the system etc now can cause a slight dip in immunity,especially as we end the diet and our body is trying to re-set again.We don t want that dip now.Now is the time to feed the body appropriately to help it fight against antibodies.
Apart from NHS guidelines, try incorporating the six tastes of sweet,salty,sour,pungent,astringent and bitter in every meal.
Have plenty of fresh fruits like oranges and apples
An increased dose of Vitamin C helps to build overall immunity. Have apples with the skin on,as the skin contains nutrients that are generally used in anti-viral drugs. In keeping with Ayurveda however,while having fruits,make fruits a meal. Avoid having it before or after a main meal.Instead have only fruits as a meal leaving a gap of 2-4 hrs before and after you have anything else.
7. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are great for the gut!
Foods made with fermented
batters,kombucha,kimchi,pickles,sauerkraut,miso,kefir,yogurt,homemade buttermilk are all great pro-biotics that help increase the good gut bacteria.Include these in each of your meals.
Use as many spices as you can. From ginger,mustard,cumin,coriander,garlic,asafoetida to oregano,cinnamon,cardamom, all of these spices have either anti-viral properties and help build either overall immunity or specific immunity for the lungs and respiratory system.
So use as many spices as you can in your everyday cooking
9.Avoid Processed Foods
In Ayurveda, processed foods lack "prana".To be able to absorb all the nutrients from the food and use food as medicine,fresh is best -as much as possible!
Like sugar,alcohol reduces the immune support we receive.It is a good idea to go on those challenges that help you avoid alcohol now!
Try sipping on warm water all through the day. Being a host body to antibodies,we want to keep our bodies warm.Too many cold drinks negates this effect.Either in the form of just plain water or herbal teas (we sell an excellent ImmuniTea) keep sipping on warm.
It is imperative to get a good nights sleep. Good sleep is a neccessity for a good strong immune system along with gut health.
If you keep your gut healthy and can sleep well,you will have done a brilliant job of supporting your immune system.
You can use herbal support to help you with this at night- Brahmi is a good herb to use for the night.
Herbal Support you can use over the next few months:
1. Guduchi: Best taken in powder form or as part of our ImmuniTea where this is the principal ingredient. Guduchi is said to be excellent for respiratory health and our tea combines this with Tulsi,again an ancient antidote to any respiratory issues.Another benefit is it ticks off that requirement of warm water through the day.
In a regular singular powder form,you can add it to warm water as a tea or in smoothies.
For the nest few months however,it is warm over cold smoothies!
2. Shatavari :Excellent to build overall and as well as specific immunity.
Shatavari is said have Quercitin - the same flavanoid present in the skin of apples mentioned above,contains high quantities of Zinc - again mentioned above, has anti bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties along with boosting overall health by being anti-oxidant,anti-depressant,anti-diabetic and having all the adaptogenic properties which help in giving you energy while keeping stress levels low.
Best ways to have it: As a tea by mixing the powder with warm water or milk or as a capsule.
3. Ashwagandha: The most popular adaptogenic and part of our Immune Support pack helps by keeping stress levels low and therefore facilitates better sleep which is a very important part to support your immune system.Apart from this Ashwagandha is known to encourage disease fighting immune cells to wad off illnesses.It also possesses potent antioxidant properties that help protect against cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Best ways to have it: Powdered form can be added to drinks or warm water or in a capsule form.
4. Triphala: A combination of three herbs, triphala serves as a prebiotic and supports the increase of good bacteria,a probiotic and is an excellent anti inflammatory. It also helps with digestion, is a mild laxative and thus helps the body get rid of the accumulated toxins on a regular basis.It also helps keep the body in balance which means you might be less susceptible to illnesses.
Best ways to have it: As a tablet/vati, powdered in a tea or drink or as a capsule.If you use a spice mix,you can add triphala to that.
The above herbs is only a short guidance and there are other herbs you can use in combination depending upon your specific body type.It is advisable to consult your practitioner before taking any herbs,especially if you have underlying conditions.Alternatively please get in touch with us and we can guide you to the right person.
At the end of this long post,if you think most of this advice is more generic in nature,it perhaps is and these are guidances to be followed generally even without a pandemic.
We build a healthy body by working at it in small bits everyday and while this is most certainly not all you need to do,all the above points help towards that.I hope you find this post helpful and can implement a few of these suggestions into your daily routines.
Follow us on instagram @earthelivinguk for small tips more regularly!