There is no doubt that this COVID-19 is a pandemic that is having repercussions across the planet. But the worst pandemic right now is fear, spreading faster than the virus itself. Rather than freeze with fear, use this time as an opportunity for some extra self-care. I have written some simple recommendations on how to boost your immunity. While this doesn’t guarantee anything, it will greatly help you fight off infection.
First of all, take a deep breath.
Relax. Stress is not good for you because it increases the cortisol hormone in your brain, which can lower your immune system and cause all sorts of problems. Through controlling your breathing, you can control your mind. Practice Pranayamas (breathwork). The Svana Pranayama ('panting breath) is a powerful technique for boosting immunity. Watch the video below for a guided practice of this technique:
Here is a list of easy steps you can take right now to stay healthy:
Maintain excellent hygiene.
Get enough sleep.
Avoid smoking and drinking.
Opt for an Indian namaste, instead of a handshake or hug.
Avoid large crowds to minimise risk of infection, and if you can, isolate yourself (but only physically, not emotionally - keep those communication channels open).
Cancel all avoidable trips.
Spend more time with your family (also boosts immunity!).
If you are somewhere hot, enjoy some sunlight (as heat doesn't let the virus thrive and the sun gives you nutrition).
Move your body!
Even if you’re staying at home, don’t stop moving! I recommend at least 30 minutes every day! Yoga asanas are great for you and you can do them wherever you are - so no excuses :)
For example, the Half Spinal Twist (also known as Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) is a good posture to boost the functioning of your immune system. Watch the video below for a tutorial:
Let food be thy medicine:
What you eat directly affects your immunity. Take these steps for the next few weeks:
Eat nutritious vegetarian food. Stay away from non-vegetarian food, especially at this time.
Get some healthy fats into the diet (e.g. avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil).
Do what you can to reduce inflammation: avoid fizzy drinks, sugars, processed foods, excess stress, add in Omega-3 fats, reduce Omega-6 fats.
Eat plenty of vegetables. I personally would shoot for 10+ portions of vegetables a day.
Limit (or better still, eliminate) sugar.
Introduce lots of prebiotic and probiotic foods into your diet. Probiotics are the good bacteria (found in Kimchi, Sauerkraut and other fermented foods). Prebiotics feed the good bacteria (found in Garlic, Leeks, Onions, Artichokes, Asparagus, etc.).
Drink PLENTY of water (at least 2 litres if you weigh around 55kg, more if you weigh more) to hydrate, and also to keep the throat moist and swallowing.
Some extra Ayurvedic immunity boosts:
Put tulsi (Indian basil) leaves or tulsi extract drops in drinking water (basil extract drops are available in pharmacies).
Keep a piece of camphor in your pocket.
Chew a cardamom seed every now and then.
Apply ghee or oil in the inside of the nostrils before leaving home to keep them moist.
If you are close to an infected area, take a decoction of: turmeric (1tsp) + dry ginger powder (1tsp) + tulsi (1tsp) + black pepper (1-2 seeds) + Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) powder (1tsp) + 300ml water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a half. Consume 2-3 times a day.
Here’s another great recipe for immunity which I drink daily (sometimes I add tea leaves and milk to make a comforting cup of Chai):
1/2 spoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (ground)
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon Fennel seeds (ground)
2 pieces of clove
15 pieces of Tulsi leaves
2 cups of water
Method: Boil water with ginger for 2 minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients (ground). Let it cook gently with a lid for 2-3 minutes, filter, and drink 2-3 cups a day. You can also make it for the whole day and store it in a thermos.
Use positive affirmations:
Affirmations work because your body believes whatever your mind tells it, it knows no difference between reality or illusion. I have listed some health-specific ones below, and also linked a video where I guide