Many of us are extra aware of our health these days. Supporting our bodies to fight infection and remain healthy is a top priority. Luckily, there are countless ways to boost the immune system that will help ward off viruses and improve our quality of life.
After a cold winter and excessive time indoors, the body begins to awaken with the spring season. You may start to feel an increase in energy and a desire to become more active. It is also natural to crave different foods and flavors as the climate changes. Through the winter months, nasal passages are irritated by the cold, dry air. As a means of adapting, the body begins to produce excess mucus. There is a Sanskrit term used in Ayurvedic medicine to explain energy, called ‘Kapha.’ This word describes the concept of elemental body constitution. We typically adopt a heavier Kapha dosha during the winter months. Composed of earth and water, Kapha is also often used to describe the spring season and emergence from hibernation. Just as spring requires its rain, our need to drain the nasal passage follows suit.
Spring equinox is a time for natural cleanse and renewal. Though many of us are happy to welcome the sun and warmth, for some, the change of season is not always enjoyable. Allergies begin with the moistened soil, and countless plants begin emitting pollen. The allergens in the air aggravate the sinuses and can create discomfort within the body.
Here are a few golden tips for different ailments amidst the spring transition:
FEELING A TICKLE IN YOUR THROAT?
- Suck on a lemon wedge dipped in freshly cracked black pepper
This removes any tickle-like sensation or minor cough due to dryness and irritation. Follow with a teaspoon of raw honey to coat the throat and reap an array of other benefits. Raw honey is loaded with anti-viral properties as well as a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Select honey with propolis included for added antiseptic benefits.
- Gargle with salty warm water
Add enough Himalayan salt or natural sea salt so that the water tastes like a salty soup. Add in a teaspoon of turmeric for added health benefits.
WORRIED ABOUT AIRBORNE VIRUSES?
- Use a Neti Pot
There is an ancient practice called Jala Neti (meaning water cleansing) in Sanskrit. This is a ritual of rinsing the nasal passages with lukewarm salty water. Viruses tend to enter the body through the nasal cavity, so keeping this pathway clear and sanitized is essential. This is a very effective and pertinent habit to adopt during the pandemic.
Press the spout of the pot against the nostril with the head tilted to the opposite side. Gently pour the saline solution down the nasal cavity. The water is released out the other nostril. Bacteria, excess mucus, and allergens are safely removed. After completing both sides, you will breathe with ease.
FEELING EXCESS MUCUS?
- Make an herbal chai tea
Drinking a concoction of ginger, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, and cardamom keeps the body warm during the rainy season and supports a healthy digestive fire. This warming tea will also help to clear any excess mucus within the body.
- Sip on soup
Soups are easily digestible and help defend the body during the rainy season. Incorporating well-cooked vegetables and healthy grains into savory broth makes a tasty and highly nutritious meal. The warm liquid also helps to loosen and release any excess mucus trapped in the body.
Broths are excellent and widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Bone broths have countless health benefits. They boost the immune system and provide the body with the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to fight off illness. For vegetarians, there are comparable broth options available as well, such as Kombu Dashi. This Japanese vegan broth, made from kelp, is highly nutritious and beneficial in maintaining health. This vegan soup base is often found in premade pastes mixed with miso, which is made from fermented soybean and rice. Fermented foods also support a healthy digestive system.
ALLERGIES GOT YOU DOWN?
Drinking nettle tea over time has been proven to cure symptoms of hay fever and other allergies. Plants cultivated in early spring tend to have a bitter and astringent taste. With the concept of eating seasonally, it is no wonder that many recommend consuming bitter-tasting foods during this time.
- Apple cider vinegar
Mix a tablespoon with a glass of water to relieve allergy symptoms and help to drain excess mucus. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon, ginger, and a touch of honey for a tasty and healthy libation.
- Essential oils
Eucalyptus, peppermint, and tea tree oils are known to open up the sinuses, making it easier to breathe. They may help the body detoxify and ward off harmful bacteria as well. Add them to a bath or diffuser and practice deep breathing.
GENERAL IMMUNE BOOSTING TIPS:
- Eat plenty of citrus fruits
Lemon water is a great and easy way to get some much-needed Vitamin C and hydration. Vitamin C is responsible for so much within the body. It aids in collagen production and supports the formation of white blood cells which are vital for a strong immune system. If lemon water isn’t for you, try snacking on oranges or make a nice fruit salad.
- Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated with pure water maintains a steady flow of toxin elimination. Add some fruit for flavor if desired.
- Eat (or drink) your greens
Add leafy greens, such as spinach, loaded with Vitamin C and Zinc, to your daily menu. If eating greens isn’t for you, try adding a handful of organic spinach to a smoothie to enjoy health benefits without the spinach taste.
- Consume healthy fats
Getting enough healthy fats is a must. Fatty acids increase the number of T-cells (a type of white blood cell responsible for fighting off pathogens). Olive oil, avocado, and omega 3’s are all great sources. Incorporate nuts into your meals as well. Brazil nuts are super immune supporters because of their high selenium content. Selenium is known to lower oxidative stress and inflammation, which in turn enhances immunity.
- NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE BODY’S ABILITY TO HEAL AND REGENERATE. ALWAYS GET ENOUGH SLEEP!
Getting good quality sleep is a natural healer. Rest is essential for the body to reset and renew. Limit your screen time before bed to help make falling into a deep sleep much easier. Drinking a tea with a blend of ashwagandha and chamomile may help the body release and unwind. For even more benefits, add turmeric and warm milk.
ADAPTOGENS & HERBAL ELIXIRS for IMMUNITY:
- Reishi & Chaga
The medicinal properties of these mushrooms are used for their antioxidant and immunity benefits. They have the ability to ward off sickness and balance the immune system. They are composed of potent polysaccharides called beta-glucans which are known to activate immune function and response. Mushroom blends are available in many tinctures and powders. They are easy to add to hot cacao or smoothies.
This purple coneflower is used to combat upper respiratory infections and help fight off common colds and flu. Available in tea bags, capsules, and tinctures, this herb is easy to consume. Incorporate this flower into your diet with the first signs of symptoms to speed up recovery time.
- Elderberry syrup
Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, this syrup can be used for both preventative and curative care. It is known to boost the immune system, induce sweating to rid the body of fever, and protect the heart.
Our planet is abundant with many healing and restoring resources. By incorporating Earth’s natural remedies, we can support a healthy balance within. Illnesses and ailments are less likely to cause us harm if we are eating nutritious foods and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Preventative care is the best care. It is proactive and ahead of what is to come. It means being prepared for whatever life throws at you, whether it be virus exposure or stress from work. When we design a healthy lifestyle, we are training the body and mind to become more adaptable. Just as winter seamlessly transitions into spring, our bodies are capable of the same. The external environment will continuously change. As we find our internal balance, we will discover that our ability to adapt becomes effortless.
Information provided by Arootah is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should consult your physician or other licensed health care professional before starting any diet, exercise plan or regimen, or any other fitness or wellness program. This is particularly true if you or your family have a history of high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have ever experienced discomfort while exercising. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of any information made available through our Programs and Services.