We are all born with a certain level of immunity that helps our bodies fight bacteria and other germs so that illnesses are prevented. This is inherent immunity, but it can be strengthened. Here’s how:
1. Take care of the intestine. The intestinal lining hides a formidable system of immunity that helps balance healthy and unhealthy bacteria. When the healthy bacteria predominate, the body gets a steady flow of immune cells to fight disease-causing germs.
Boost it: Eat probiotic foods, and avoid junk foods, fried foods, overeating and acidic foods like coffee, fizzy drinks and tea boiled with milk.
2. Ashwagandha: Ayurveda describes ashwagandha as a tonic, which helps repair damaged immune cells, and in turn helps the immune cells circulate through the body via blood.
Boost it: Take ashwagandha with coconut water daily for eight weeks.
3. Amla: Amla, the Indian gooseberry, is a major component of the age-old immunity booster, chawanprash. It contains a very high level of vitamin C that strengthens immunity. So high is the vitamin C level, that it is found in both fresh and dried amla – a unique property, because vitamin C is a delicate and unstable vitamin.
Boost it: Eat amla as chawanprash, chutney, murrabba, or drink it as a juice (one teaspoon in a glass of water).
4. Guduchi: Guduchi is a herb prescribed by ayurveda for fevers, liver health and to boost immunity. It is considered a rasayan (tonic).
Boost it: For best results take half a teaspoon of Guduchi with water.
5. Vitamin and mineral supplements: Some vitamins and minerals are essential for good health and strong immunity. These include selenium, zinc and vitamin B complex.
Boost it: Take these as supplements during the flu season.
6. Neem oil: Neem oil prevents insect bites so you can avoid infection. Neem also has immunity-boosting properties.
Boost it: Add a leaf or two to a chutney or vegetable juice and consume every day.
7. Garlic: Worldwide research has proved that garlic is antibacterial and helps with the immune system.
Boost it: Add garlic to cooked dishes, pickles and chutneys.
8. Turmeric: There’s a reason that your grandparents stubbornly thrust haldi at you when you’re unwell. It’s anti-inflammatory and an immunity-booster.
Boost it: Add turmeric to soups and broths.
From HT Brunch, October 4
Follow us on twitter.com/HTBrunch
Connect with us on facebook.com/hindustantimesbrunch