Top 5 Ayurvedic Tips to Boost Your Immune System [video]
In this video, Ayurveda Counselor Seren Rubens discusses how Ayurveda can help keep your immune system strong so you can stay healthy.
To me, having a healthy immune system is all about having an abundance of vibrancy, vitality, and health, so that I can live my life fully. It’s about nourishing my wellness and taking exquisite care of myself so that I can do my work, follow my passions, and show up for the people I love.
Wondering how to boost your immune system? You might be interested in Ayurveda. It is a holistic approach to health and healing that originated in India about 5,000 years ago. It utilizes the laws of nature, in all its many forms, to create a unique path to your most ideal state of health.
The Ayurvedic perspective on achieving strong immune health might surprise you. Here are my top Ayurvedic tips to keep the immune system healthy and able to handle whatever comes!
1. Strengthen Your Digestion
According to Ayurveda, the first thing is to strengthen your digestion by eating meals at regular times and choosing foods that are easy to digest. In Ayurveda, a strong digestive fire is the key to year-round health.
How do you know you’re digesting well? For me, it’s pretty simple. I just feel really good. Rather than feeling uncomfortable in my body, with symptoms of gas, bloating, tiredness, or a heavy mind, I feel light, comfortable, and at ease—energized and excited to meet the day. Here are a couple pointers to help support your digestive fire:
Be sure to include immune-boosting foods in your diet. You can think of foods that boost the immune system in two ways—foods that are easy to digest and foods that offer support. The former are things like kitchari, a traditional Indian dish made of rice, mung dal, and spices. It is so easy to digest that it is often given to the elderly, to those who are ill, and even to babies.
The reason that easy-to-digest foods are so important is because they give your body a break. Rather than using energy to break down your food, your body can use that energy to build and strengthen healthy immune function. In general, basmati rice and mung dal can also be enjoyed individually. Soups, stews, and broths are other great easy-to-digest foods.
Foods that offer support include things that are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as turmeric, ginger, echinacea, vegetables, and fruits.
Be sure to avoid foods that are cold, oily, and heavy. This includes things like cheese, ice cream, yogurt, potato chips, and fried foods. According to Ayurveda, these foods have the qualities of cold, heavy, and wet, which bog down the immune system and keep it from properly functioning.
2. Get Good Quality Sleep
Next, get good quality sleep by going to bed and rising at the same time daily, aiming for eight hours of quality sleep per night.
For me, if I’m not getting enough sleep, I immediately notice a snowball effect of feeling more and more tired and run down.
On the other hand, if I am getting enough sleep I feel consistently energized, replenished, and refreshed. I feel like I can handle whatever stress may come my way and am ready to meet whatever the day may bring.
3. Have a Supportive Daily Routine
Practice a supportive daily routine—this is way more important than you would think.
You know how when you travel and you end up needing days to recover? Well, it’s not always just because the airplane was dirty. It’s because you’re totally stressed out, you’re staying up too late, waking up too early, eating weird foods, and your body is totally thrown off.
Creating stability with predictable self-care behaviors can make all the difference and keep your body from getting off balance. Ayurvedic habits to include in a daily routine are things like scraping your tongue, oil swishing, daily self-massage with oil (or abhyanga), and so on.
4. Minimize Stress
Give yourself permission to slow down, nourish, and take care of yourself. This is one of the most powerful ways to avoid depletion, replenish your reserves, and support both mental and physical health.
If you need help managing your stress levels, Ayurveda has a lot to say on minimizing and coping with stress, and Banyan has plenty of resources to help, including their Ayurvedic Guide to Stress Management.
5. Take Your Herbs
Last but certainly not least, herbs can be a huge ally when it comes to bringing strength and balance to the body, which in turn strengthens and bolsters the immune system.
- Take bitter herbs like Immune Strong liquid extract or tablets. Bitter herbs help to cleanse and detoxify the body, which is also beneficial for the immune system.
- Other herbs that are excellent for immunity are ginger and tulsi. You can keep it super simple and take the liquid extract form, or mix the powdered herbs together with hot water to make a delicious tea and sip throughout the day.
- Even if you have a sweet tooth, you can still get your herbs in. Chyavanprash is perfect for this. It is a traditional Ayurvedic jam that is made with immune-boosting herbs mixed with organic cane sugar, honey, and ghee, which carry the herbs deeper into the tissues of the body. It’s so delicious that I eat it by the spoonful!
- Another potentially sweet option is Immune Health NOW. This is a powerful blend of Ayurvedic herbs—including ginger and tulsi!—that was created in the spring of 2020 and has become one of my favorite formulas for supporting my lungs and respiratory tract. I love to mix it with honey and eat it right off the spoon.
- Lastly, use Nasya Oil to soothe and cleanse the nasal passages and sinuses. Proper use of Nasya Oil helps to relieve congested breathing and boost proper immune function.
If you can nail these basics, you're likely to experience a huge difference in how you feel. Go forth and be healthy!