It’s that time of year again! It seems like people all around us are coughing, sniffling and sneezing -- a sure sign that cold and flu season is here. While the winter holiday is a time of joy and happiness, it can also be a stressful time for many. Buying gifts, preparing for family visits or travel and dealing with cold, damp weather can add to our stress levels. And, as many of us are aware, stress can weaken our immune systems. Washing hands often, avoiding direct contact with others who are sick, getting adequate rest and keeping warm, well-nourished and hydrated are all healthy practices. But even the most conscientious among us know that these aren’t always enough to ward off sickness.
In Ayurveda, the concept of immunity can be correlated to ojas, or our body’s vital essence. Ojas not only builds immunity, energy and vitality, it also creates positive emotions like love, joy and happiness. A person with healthy ojas is easy to spot -- they have a radiant glow and complexion. While there is no official modern scientific correlation to ojas, some say it is oxytocin, the bliss hormone that is released during times of intimacy and bonding, like when a mother breastfeeds her newborn baby or during lovemaking.
When we have strong ojas, all of our seven tissue layers, or dhatus, are functioning with full integrity. Having strong ojas begins with strong, toxin-free rasa, the first tissue layer, which is roughly correlated with blood plasma in modern physiology. The quality of our rasa is determined directly by the foods, substances and liquids we put into our bodies. So YES, what we consume matters! In fact, it may be the single most important factor in health, strength, immunity and disease prevention.
A quick and delicious way to build ojas is to make a morning drink with these ojas boosting foods. Blend the following ingredients in 8 - 12 ounces of milk (organic, non-homogenized or raw cow milk) or almond milk:
- 1 tsp ghee
- 5 tbsps. blanched almonds
- 2 to 3 dates
- 3 to 4 strands of saffron
- 1 tbsp shredded coconut
- 1 tsp raw honey
Along with the above recommendations, support a healthy immune system by prioritizing adequate sleep, maintaining a consistent daily routine by eating, exercising and sleeping at optimal times, and eating a diet of warm, nourishing, plant-based foods and grains. Drink warm water throughout the day and make sure that you have regular bowel movements with complete elimination. If necessary, support your bowels with Triphala or other digestive herbs. Taking these precautions can help you navigate through this winter’s cold and flu season in good health so that you can fully enjoy this special time with family and loved ones.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Kottakkal Ayurveda products and this information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have serious, acute or chronic health problems, please consult a trained health professional. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner or doctor, call (800) 215-9934 or email us at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide you with one of our affiliated Ayurvedic professionals. Check with your doctor before taking herbs when pregnant or nursing.
Vata is the force that drives and motivates all movement in the body. It is responsible for all input and output of sensory and motor functions. Vata controls the functions of the mind, sense organs, and the higher process of thought and emotion.
The other two dosas pitta and kapha are dependent on vata for normal or abnormal movement.