Having a strong immune system may be one of the best ways to fight the coronavirus.
According to Dr. Debra Chew, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, a weak immune system together with other chronic medical conditions will make us more susceptible to the coronavirus flu.
“We do know,” Dr. Chew said to Fox News recently, “that the young, elderly and those with immuno-compromised host immune system and chronic medical conditions can get more severe illness.”
The coronavirus generally attacks the lungs first. Aroused by the presence of a viral invader, our bodies then step up to fight the disease by flooding the lungs with immune cells to clear away the damage and repair the lung tissue. That’s why having a strong immune system is vitally important. We want the immune system to confine the disease in its early stages, much like having a protective fence around your berry and vegetable garden.
Medical scientists interviewed by National Geographic explain that when the immune system is working properly, this inflammatory process is tightly regulated and confined only to infected areas. If we are unhealthy or weakened by another chronic disease, the immune system may sometimes go haywire and kill anything in its path, including healthy tissue.
Therefore, it is paramount to be as healthy as possible with a strong immune system, in order to reduce the symptoms in their early stages.
So, what are the best ways to strengthen the immune system the natural way?
- The main part of the immune system is located in the gut. To make sure your digestion functions well, it is important to have regular bowel movements—at least 2-3 times per day.
The digestive system has two functions: to absorb nutrients and to eliminate what the body does not need or want—its toxic waste. So, making sure these two functions are working optimally is the key to good health and a strong immune system.
If you have a tendency to have constipation, then the Ayurvedic formula Triphala, which contains the highly antioxidant herbs amalaki, bibitaki and haritaki, is a great way to help aid the digestive system and thus the immune system in a balanced way.
2. According to Dr. Valter Longo, one of the world’s leading experts on the benefits of intermittent fasting, a 72-hour intermittent fast by consuming only about 600 calories per day will re-set your entire immune system.
You can perform this kind of fasting by drinking vegetable and fruit juices daily or by consuming small amounts of highly anti-oxidant fruits and vegetables once or twice per day. In between juices and meals, make sure you drink plenty of water and herbal teas. Doing an enema daily, will enhance the cleansing effect of the fast.
One may also fast for one full day (sunrise to sunrise) 2-4 times per month on lemon water or juices, as this will also greatly strengthen the immune system.
3. Eating a plant-based diet high in anti-oxidant foods such as fruits and berries, beans, bell peppers and green vegetables, on a daily basis, will also enhance the immune system.
4. According to natural healers and herbalists, taking immune-boosting herbal tinctures or capsules on a daily basis, including goldenseal (this herb should not be taken for more than 1 month at a time), echinacea, astragalus, rosemary, aloe vera, and ayurvedic supplements such as shilajit, chyavanprash, amla, mulethi, ashwagandha, turmeric, and ginger will also be highly beneficial.
5. Stress can adversely affect the gut and the digestive system. Medical researchers now call this system the floating brain, because the immune cells in the gut have the ability to participate in the chemical messages sent by the brain throughout the body. Your thoughts, moods, sensations, and expectations are literally transmitted to your immune cells. When you meditate, these messages change in important and positive ways. A study from UCLA has shown that HIV patients practicing mindfulness meditation increase the immune cell count that slows the virus from propagating.
6. Finally, a regular yoga practice will also strengthen the digestion as well as the endocrine and the lymphatic systems, both vital for a strong immune system. Especially beneficial are traditional yoga exercises practiced slowly and harmonized with your breathing.
For optimum effect, we suggest combining all the suggestions above, but we cannot underestimate the powerful effect of fasting. According to Dr. Valter Longo, “When you [fast] , the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged.” Hence, regular fasting may be one of the most effective ways to stay healthy into ripe old age.
For more information about these and other natural ways to enhance the immune system, contact us here at www.prama.org If you find it too challenging to fast on your own, please consider attending one of our wellness or juice cleansing yoga retreats. Prama has an online juice fasting system available here.
Note: All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ramesh is the Director of the Prama Wellness Center where lifestyle is considered our best medicine. Ramesh is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He studied yoga therapy in Nepal and India, Ayurveda at California College of Ayurveda and is a certified yoga detox theraphist from the AM Wellness Center in Cebu, Philippines. He has taught workshops in many countries and is the author of four books, including Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra:The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India).