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Ayurveda Tips to boost your Immune System

July 2, 2017

A good immune system is the ‘anti-virus’ defense against any disease. The Sanskrit word for immunity — ‘Vyadhikshamatva’ means forgiveness of disease. According to Ayurveda good health is not related to just not being sick. Wellness is state of experiencing good health. Apart from balancing the doshas — Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, as well as making sure our digestive fire, called Agni, is working to its utmost, we should start practicing some very good techniques that will help boost immunity.

Keep the immune system in proper balance by eating the right foods. A weak immune system causes all types of diseases. Also, an immune response becomes overactive or misdirected, targeting the body’s own tissues for foreign invaders. Our diet plays a vital role in balancing this ‘fighting response’ within the body. Consuming leafy greens, highly pigmented fruits, whole grains can give the body exactly what it needs to stay strong.

1 – Cook with immune-boosting spices : Cook your food in a way that doesn’t disturb the food’s natural goodness. For instance, if you add mild spices to cooked vegetables, grains, the food will convert more quickly to ojas. Spices add good flavor and they support digestion and make the nutrients easily available to the body. Different spices also have specific immune-boosting properties. For eg, Turmeric has an immune-modulating effect, because it has detoxifying properties and enhances the intelligence of the immune cells similarly Cumin burns Ama. Black pepper clears the channels so ojas can reach the deeper tissues.

Eat consistently, at regular times throughout the day: Regular meals enable the body to absorb nourishment and feel energized. This also increases digestive fire. Add Medicinal herbs to your diet like Basil, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Olive leaf, Amla and more which will help your body to defend itself against invaders. Many keep your white blood cell count high, and others support the vital organs.

Detox: In Ayurveda, ama (store toxins from undigested food) is one of the primary reasons for diseases to develop. Indigestion and ama formation prevent nutrients from reaching the tissues and weakens immune function. Be sure to detox regularly if you consume lots of unhealthy foods, are exposed to many environmental toxins, or don’t eat a Sattvic diet. While you don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian, strictly, those dietary practices are in alignment with Ayurvedic wisdom. Choose easy-to-digest organic and fresh foods. Foods that are processed, canned, frozen or packaged are harder to digest, they also include harmful ingredients such as chemical preservatives and thus create Ama.

Organically grown foods are best because not only are they free of harsh chemicals, but they also contain more minerals. Vegetarian proteins such homemade cheese, milk, and pulses (split-mung dhal, lentils, and other small, split beans) enhance ojas and immunity. Meat is not a recommended protein because it is difficult to digest and creates Ama

3 – Life style modifications

Get Good Sleep: Adequate sleep is especially important and essential for anyone who wants to enhance immunity and resist disease. The body is very busy while you are resting. Deep sleep helps the immune system to release proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. A balanced cycle of rest and activity help our immune cells to regenerate properly. Lack of sleep interrupts this cyclic process and can cause increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, depression, and other illnesses.

Do Yoga and Meditate: Yoga and meditation positively affect the immunity response in the body. They do so primarily by lowering stress.

Pranayama: If stress is the primary factor compromising your immune system, Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing) is the powerful support activity that you need to start right away. Prana, the vital breath, is the subtle essence of the life force that animates each of us. It energizes every cell and tissue throughout our body and is stimulated and carried on by the breath. Prana restores fluidity and vitality to the subtle energy channels of the body, releases accumulated tension, and supports the nervous system as a whole —  all while digesting and eliminating stagnation and Ama.

Ayurveda teaches us that ojas and strong immunity are the natural outcomes of good health, which depends on Agni, a healthy diet, a supportive lifestyle, and a balanced nervous system. it is all about you — your unique strengths and vulnerabilities, and your personal path toward healing.


An Ayurvedic approach to childhood obesity

June 17, 2017

Childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic health problem across the world. The increase in the number of obese patients indicates that we are getting away from nature. This condition can be treated effectively by balanced nutrient intake and rational use of Ayurvedic medicine and Yoga. In Ayurveda, obesity has been elaborately described by the term ‘Atisthaulya’. Childhood obesity without any organic cause is being dealt here.

Obesity causes

The main causes and reasons behind this may be as under:

  1. Digestive disorders
  2. Substituting outdoor games with video games & TV
  3. Lazy and sedentary lifestyles
  4. Lack of exercise
  5. Hormonal imbalance and unhealthy diet
  6. Consuming high-calorie food (excess intake of heavy and oily food items and sweets)
  7. Improper assimilation of food
  8. Heredity (children of obese person has high risk)
  9. Slow metabolism which leads to fat deposits and weight gain
  10. Diseases like hypothyroidism, insulin resistance are also contributors to the disorders

Childhood Obesity Effects

The most dangerous aspect of childhood obesity is that it leaves the child vulnerable to illnesses that once only the aged suffered from. This includes conditions like type 2 diabetes and several heart conditions. In addition, obese children are also susceptible to sleep apnea, depression, low self-esteem, rage, and anxiety disorders. If these are ignored, they tend to become a part of the growing personality, creating a dysfunctional adult. This includes social ineptitude and awkwardness, anxiety and depression.

Like adults, kids too need to burn the fats they are eating. Hence, it is extremely important that your kids indulge in physical activities. In adulthood, they could face health issues like asthma, snoring, knee pains, sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes and high levels of cholesterol.

Ayurvedic Management of Childhood Obesity:

Diet Regimen (Ahara):

Oily and deep fried foods such as noodles, pizza, hamburger, french fries, pasta should be avoided. Limit sweetened food articles such as chocolates, sweets, cold drinks (sodas). Include nutritious wholesome food in the child’s diet. Fast food consumption should be limited. Avoid beverages like tea, coffee, and soft drinks.

Skipping meals does not promote weight loss.

Children should be provided with a morning meal (breakfast) that includes whole grains, fruits, and protein. A little water (half glass) should be taken before the meal. Cold water and cold drinks should not be taken along with meal (especially just after meal). More of fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet.

Liquid  Intake (Anupana): Children should be given lukewarm water in winter season while room temperature water (not cold) in the summer season in the evening time. Other liquids that are beneficial in reducing childhood obesity are honey, warm water, buttermilk, Tila taila (sesame oil).

Physical activity (Vyayama):

Encourage your child to participate in physical activities. Childhood obesity and weight gain are too common due to lack of physical activity, exercise, and sedentary lifestyle. Lead by example, if your children see that you are physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active for the rest of the lives. For example, the average child spends approximately four hours each day watching television. Popularity of computer games and television programmes is directly proportional to the number of hours of inactivity. Children should be encouraged for physical activity, at least 60 minutes of fitness every day that may be in the form of sports, morning walk or cycling.

LimitScreen Time: With technology taking over today, almost every kid is addicted to their play stations, tablets or television. Switch off the television, computer, video games etc. when it exceeds a time Never allow more than two hours a day. This will provide time for more physical activity for your child.

Sleep (Nidra): Excessive sleeping or nap after lunch should be avoided.

Emotional support to the child:

Children need a lot of encouragement to be active. Children should be praised for making small changes and efforts for weight loss, not results. This, in turn, will encourage them to perform more. Be sensitive to your child’s needs. Overweight children may feel uncomfortable about participating in certain activities. Help them find physical activities that aren’t embarrassing or too difficult.

Medications &Yoga

Ayurvedic medicines are very effective in natural weight reduction along with the above regimen. But these medications must be taken in appropriate dose according to the body weight and under medical supervision. Self-medication should strictly be avoided. In Ayurveda, through proper shodhana (purification or detoxification), the dosa imbalance can be brought back to normal. The child can be given mild udwarthana (powder massage) which help in diminishing the fat content of the body(especially the subcutaneous fat). Kapha and medohara drugs and treatments are beneficial for obesity (even in children). The internal administration of certain kasayam (decoctions), vatis or gulikas (tablets) etc., can also help in reducing the extra fat content of the body.

Yoga involves a series of gentle postures, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques. Together these can treat obesity, correct imbalances in the body and create a healthy resolve to fight off the condition. Unlike other methods, yoga doesn’t have any unpleasant side effects, neither is it strenuous. Most child obesity exercises leave the child frustrated. Child Yoga leaves the child refreshed and positive. Yoga exercises involve a lot of stretching and bending, pushing all the muscles in the body into action. In addition, kids also learn to breathe properly, utilizing complete lung capacity, improve posture and build self-confidence. The meditative aspects of yoga help children cope with stress and anxiety. It also boosts willpower and concentration.

As far as prevention of the onset of obesity in children is concerned, parents play a major role. You can start with yourself first. Like we teach good manners to our kids to make them better human beings, similarly be a role model to promote good nutrition. You need to follow a diet thus letting your kids follow your footsteps. You also need to educate them about the harms of childhood obesity. Explain to them what it means, the causes,  effects, and prevention. Let them nurture the importance of nutrition, thus enabling them to make proper decisions about food. Parental instincts always state that the kids should be well fed to maintain their health and body. However, it could go wrong if you confuse your love with food.



Natural Relief from Everyday Tension

June 17, 2017

Tension, stress, and anxiety – these words are synonymous with today’s new age lifestyles, many of us lose our mental peace and physical well-being in the process. We lose our ability to enjoy simple pleasures of life and instead become overwhelmed by the pressures of daily living.

Some of the symptoms of tension are:-

  1. Digestive problems
  2. Sleeplessness
  3. Fatigue
  4. Headache
  5. Irritability
  6. Insomnia
  7. Loss of mental concentration
  8. Anxiety
  9. Extreme anger
  10. Depression
  11. Restlessness

Ayurveda, although ancient, has much to offer to help balance our modern, busy lives and bring us back to a natural state of calm. Creating inner calm is a time-honored focus of Ayurveda. Diet, lifestyle, spices, routine, stress reduction and herbs can all play a fruitful role in creating inner calm. According to Ayurveda, stress is a state where the mind is imbalanced.When the mind is in a stable state, the individual has the maximum potential to act or behave in ways that continue to keep the mind in a balanced state.

More specifically, the mind has three states or “gunas”. They are “Sattva” (knowledge, purity), “Rajas” (action, passion) and “Tamas” (inertia, ignorance). Mental disorders or imbalances are caused when “Sattva” decreases and “Rajas” and “Tamas” increase. As “Sattva” decreases, mental strength, determination, and the power to discriminate (to distinguish right from wrong) also decrease. When such a state is prolonged, the mind becomes stressed. This may then lead to other mental disorders like anxiety, depression, fear, and nervous debility.

  1. Food

In Ayurveda, food is considered to be an important medicine for both mind and body. In order to reduce stress, one should try to choose foods that increase “Sattva”.Fresh fruits, fruit juices, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, dry fruits, honey, dairy products and are the best to increase sattva.

Try to cut down, the use of black tea, coffee, white flour products, chocolates, white sugar products, deep fried foods and hot spices. These food increase “Rajas”. These include meat, fish, eggs, and foods that are spoiled or contain chemicals. Some of these foods may contain nutrition for the body but their effect on the mind is detrimental.

  1. Breathing

The mind has a very close relationship with breathing. Next time you become stressed, watch your breathing. Try to slow it down. Take a relaxed position and breathe deep using the abdomen muscles. Let the diaphragm expand while breathing in, and contract while breathing out. This will immediately relax you. It is always good to take short breaks at regular intervals from the busy schedule and relax (by abdominal breathing) for a few minutes.

  1. Exercise

Exercise is not only good for physical health but is also good for recreation and relaxation of mind. It changes the levels of hormones in the blood and may elevate the mood affecting brain chemicals. The exercise should initiate action in all parts of the body. Brisk walking is a good exercise to start with. Yoga is also a very good form of exercise Playing indoor games and swimming (not for competition) is also relaxing.

  1. Meditation

Meditation is a method of calming your thoughts by focusing on an object for a period of time. According to the research performed in recent years, it has been found that meditation slows down the breathing process, normalizes blood pressure, relaxes muscles and helps to reduce anxiety and stress.

  1. Relaxation

It is very important to take short breaks from work and relax the mind. A Yoga posture is known as “Shavasana” or “Dead body pose” is a simple way to relax. Let each and every muscle of the body relaxed.

Gentle massage on the head (with or without oil), using your favorite aroma or fragrance, listening to soft music, chanting of “Mantras” and prayers also help to relax the mind.

Keeping a record of what causes you stress and then eliminating that cause from your routine helps to manage stress. It is beneficial to focus the mind on the present actions. This helps one to become aware of the negative thoughts and other causes responsible for stress. We can then try to eliminate these by thinking positively. Another way of increasing the state of “Sattva” and stabilizing it is learning about self.

Although all these remedies provide some relief from the mental stress immediately, it is important that you make them a part of your life process. That will keep your mind in a state of high “Sattva”, and you will be healthy, happy and peaceful always.