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How to increase your immunity

Now that winter is in full swing, prepare for coughs, colds, respiratory troubles, lung and sinus infections and weight gain. This is due to low immunity, an incorrect diet and lifestyle, a constitutional predisposition towards a kapha disorder, and environmental conditions.

brunch Updated: Dec 24, 2011 19:59 IST
Dr Shikha Sharma

Now that winter is in full swing, prepare for coughs, colds, respiratory troubles, lung and sinus infections and weight gain. This is due to low immunity, an incorrect diet and lifestyle, a constitutional predisposition towards a kapha disorder, and environmental conditions.

Here are some FAQs about kapha:

Is the kapha season unhealthy?
Actually, this the best season to build immunity and stamina and improve your skin and hair. But you need to balance the environment with the correct nutrition, lifestyle and exercise.

What is kapha?
Kapha is an energy found in the human body, in foods, in the environment, the time of the day and also your age. Kapha energy among humans provides strength, stamina, good skin and hair and a calm temperament.

Kapha gives food high binding and cohesive properties, increases body mass and strength, cools and increases moistness in the body. Kapha in the environment means it is cold, moist, heavy and slow. In the diurnal cycle, kapha energy manifests at night.

Why do we need to balance kapha?
People who already have high kapha in their system accumulate more this season. This may lead to disorders such as high cholesterol, increased weight, increase in blood sugar, increase in bile thickness, gall bladder stone tendency, cholesterol blockages, vulnerability to fibroids, arthritic pain, sinusitis and an accumulation of fluids in the respiratory system.

Corn on cobIs phlegm the same as kapha?

Phlegm is only a small aspect of kapha excess. For good health, we need the correct balance of kapha. Therefore, foods high in kapha should be eaten with caution this season. These include milk, curd (high kapha), cold drinks, red meat, bananas, processed cheese (high kapha), rice, cashew nuts, coconut, ghee, butter, fried foods, processed and refined foods, watery fruits like melons and cucumbers, oily foods, sugar and sweets.

To balance high kapha, eat dalia (with vegetables), bajra, jowar, corn, fenugreek, cumin, spices, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, mustard seeds and oil. Also try massages with sesame seed oil or dry herbs, inhale steam with eucalyptus oil and exercise heavily so you sweat.

From HT Brunch, December 25

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