When a pathogen enters the body our defense mechanism gets activated and starts fighting against the foreign element, trying to neutralize the toxicity caused and trigger the healing response to repair the damage. If the immune system is strong the foreign element creates less havoc, but for immunocompromised individuals, it can prove to be fatal.
Here are Ayurveda protocols to follow in pandemic situations like we are experiencing right now with the Coronavirus or COVID-19.
If you are in self-isolation or social distancing
- Include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains in your diet.
- Start cooking simple meals, soups, steamed and cooked vegetables.
- Stay away from canned and preserved food, raw vegetables, meat, eggs and fish and heavy-to-digest creamy and cheesy food. Fruits can be eaten raw after proper washing.
- Spices are the powerhouse of phytochemicals that help heal and boost health. Include spices like turmeric, basil, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, ginger, garlic, oregano, cumin, parsley, coriander, rosemary, thyme, etc into your cooking.
- Prefer freshly cooked food to pre-cooked, fermented and canned products.
- If it’s not possible to cook all the meals make sure at least once a day you cook from scratch and eat fresh.
- Avoid frozen, cold food, and yogurt. Stay away from fermented food, aerated (fizzy) drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
- It’s always advisable to boil water and drink hot or lukewarm water as it kindles digestion and detoxes the body.
- Eat when hungry, not because you are bored. The tendency to snack will be higher but overindulgence can make you sick. Keep your metabolism efficient by eating right. Since we are not moving around much, stay away from high calories
- Eat balanced meals, every day your food should have an adequate amount of grains, vegetables, fruits, lentils, and nuts.
- Stay active by practising yoga, do joint movements and stretches, skip rope, do breathing exercises like the alternate nostril breathing, and meditate. This will help keep your mind stress-free and your body active.
- Try to keep a regular sleeping and waking rhythm. Avoid staying awake late and sleeping during the day as this can disrupt your biological clock.
If you are feeling sick/flu-ish:
- Eat light. Thin porridge—grains cooked with 1 part of grains (rice/red rice/quinoa/ wheat, etc.) in 8 parts of water. You can add a handful of vegetables or mung bean lentils into your porridge or vegetable soup.
- Avoid oil massages, shower, exposure to air-conditioning or exposure to breeze/draft. Cover your neck, ears, and head and keep yourself warm. Staying warm and inducing sweating helps in fighting cold and fever.
- Avoid strenuous exercises or yoga postures.
- Avoid pastries, biscuits, chocolates, etc.
- Avoid self-medication and follow health professionals’ advice.
Aparna K. BAMS, MD, PhD
Consultant advisor for development of Oneworld Ayurveda and visiting physician
Aparna is one of the few specialists in the world with a PhD in Ayurveda. Born into an Ayurvedic family which operates a traditional Ayurvedic Panchakarma hospital in Kerala, India, she grew up observing her father, the renowned Dr. Padmanabhan Read more »