Fight the flu and have a healthy winter with Ayurveda
The days are getting shorter and the nights chillier. The cooler months are almost upon us and having a healthy winter is a priority for many of us who don’t have time to get sick!
In Ayurvedic medicine, winter is considered to be a kapha season due to the cold weather, sense of heaviness in the atmosphere, increased moisture and the slower, less frenetic pace that comes with the shorter days and more time spent inside. It makes sense then that colds and flu are also thought to result from an imbalance to the kapha dosha.
The build up of kapha specific characteristics like moisture and dampness end up manifesting within the body as symptoms like mucous and ‘stuffiness’. If you think about the last time you had a cold or flu, ‘wet’, ‘cold’ and ‘congested’ are probably the perfect adjectives to describe how your body felt. The cold and dryness of the air can also cause our lungs, sinuses and bronchioles to ‘dry out’ making us much more susceptible to colds and flu.
Fighting the flu and having a healthy winter is all about keeping the kapha dosha balanced and building the immune system naturally. Ayurveda recommends three primary ways to do this. They include:
1. Diet – ‘Food as medicine’ is one of the pillars of Ayurvedic medicine. Incorporating immune-boosting, nutrient dense ingredients into your diet is one of the easiest ways to have a healthy winter. Try adding the following to your diet on a daily basis:
- Brightly coloured fruits and veggies – chock full of vitamins A, C, E, brightly coloured fruits and veggies like oranges, blueberries, sweet potato, carrot,spinach and broccoli are fantastic for supporting the immune system.
- Garlic – Most of us have been told that garlic fights the flu but recent research has confirmed what Ayurveda has known all along; garlic is a nutrition powerhouse. The antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties of this little clove are thanks to a naturally occurring compound called ‘allicin’. Add to your cooking through soups and nourishing stews.
- Ginger – There’s a reason that ginger is known as the universal medicine in Ayurveda. Its healing and nurturing benefits are legendary. Spicy and warming, ginger can help break down mucous to clear your respiratory track while its potent phytochemicals help fight viruses. One of the best ways to use ginger is in your cooking or brewed up into fresh ginger tea.
- Mushrooms – An unlikely addition to the list, the humble mushroom is actually a flu fighting ninja due to its high levels of Vitamin D which helps support immune function. While your garden variety button mushroom is a highly nutritious choice, the more exotic varieties like shitake, reishi and enoki have more concentrated levels of phytonutrients and make a great addition to soups, salads and stir-frys
2. Herbs – Kitchen herbs are an important part of the Ayurvedic ‘pharmacy’ and are used to great effect with treating colds, coughs and to fight the flu. While our highly experienced Ayurvedic Doctor can prescribe a more potent herbal prescription to get you back on your feet, your spice rack and/or the supermarket can also offer some relief. Turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, clove and cinnamon all have potent anti-inflammatory benefits and can be added to your cooking.
Our specially formulated Ayurvedic detox tea is also great for keeping your immune system happy and healthy. Add some freshly grated ginger to boost the health benefits.
3. Nasya – Nasya therapy is an Ayurvedic speciality that allows you to manually flush out your sinuses with a saline or specially prepared solution. Research has suggested that Nasya can help ease cold and flu symptoms like congestion, facial pain and pressure and infected or irritated sinuses. The therapy involves specially formulated herbal oil being applied to the nasal passages by an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner to remove congestion and debris and promote a clear head and balanced constitution. You can read more about Nasya here.
Having a healthy winter and avoiding the flu isn’t difficult. It just requires consistent steps to ensure your immunity and wellness levels are working optimally. Listen to your body and what it needs. Embrace a slower pace and prioritise warming, nourishing activities and foods. By taking a leaf from nature’s book and adjusting our lives and routines to suit the season we give ourselves the best chance of staying fit and healthy all winter long.
To find out how we can help you fight the flu and have your healthiest winter ever, please visit our website or call the centre on (02) 9389 2581