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  5. Immunity Boosting Foods Based On Your Unique Ayurvedic Doshas

Your respiratory tract, starting at the nose and ending in the lung alveoli, is an important part of your organic being. Its health is maintained through normal breathing. So, your breath is the first thing that should make you wonder at the beauty of life, the subtle natural balance and interdependence mother nature has provided us with.

This interdependence applies to the three forces of your body as well - Prana (vitality), Tejas (digestive fire) and Oja (immunity). A balanced Vata, Pitta and Kapha give rise to excellent vitality, digestive fire and immunity.

Ayurveda believes that the foods which have the energy to let the air move freely aids the respiratory tract, while the foods that are too hard and dense affect the lungs. So let’s understand what foods you should or should not consume based on your unique Prakriti (body constitution), in order to boost your respiratory immunity.

What Is Your Prakriti?

Here’s a quick simple guide to ascertain your Prakriti, which remains the same throughout major parts of your life, except during major transitions from teenage to adulthood and adult life to old age.

1. Vata Prakriti

Their bodies are dominant in Vayu/Air and Akash/Ether elements. The person is. usually small or very tall, gawky built, with a lean body and more bony in appearance. They have dry/curly hair and skin with a reddish/dark undertone. They are enthusiastic, energetic, creative, but also get tired soon. Vata people find it hard to put on weight. Mentally, they tend to be nervous, quick witted and can get anxious quickly. They are quick to emotions but also quick to forgive. Think athletes, artists, doctors, etc.

2. Pitta Prakriti

This Prakriti has a dominance of Agni/Fire and Jala/Water elements. They are medium built, muscular in appearance, have thin/balding hair and delicate skin. Their skin tends to be oily. They have a radiant complexion with yellow/tawny undertones. They have a slightly higher body temperature and a good appetite. Pitta Prakriti can put on weight easily and also lose fast. Because of a good appetite, they may put on weight. Valor is their virtue, but they may also get angered easily. Basically fiery temperament for mind and body. Think army man, leaders, organizers, etc.

3. Kapha Prakriti

This Prakriti is dominant in Jala/Water and Prithvi/Earth elements. They have large, rounded bodies, and find it very hard to lose weight. The metabolism is slow, but not necessarily bad. Their hair is deep rooted, thick and lustrous. Their skin has fair, bluish or dark undertones. They are not so quick to respond, but once convinced, are hard to sway. They have a good memory. They tend to be complacent and lethargic and can sometimes be dull and stagnant, but are naturally virtuous. Think Laughing Buddha, researchers, etc.

You can take a detailed analysis of your prakriti and dominant dosha profiles to understand it better.

How To Choose Immunity Boosting Foods According To Your Prakriti?

For Vata Dominants

Vata dominants can have frequent cold and cough infections, owing to the inherent dryness of their mucosal lining. It typically starts with an itchy throat, or pricking in the throat and then blows to an infection. Lack of proper hydration, exposure to extreme temperatures can all make Vata prone to infection.

DOs

  • Hot and spiced soups with a dollop of ghee is best to maintain respiratory health particularly in the rainy and spring season.
  • Ginger fried in ghee with added salt and a few drops of lemon is great before one starts their meal.
  • Warm milk with dry ginger and turmeric also helps comfort the Vata. Milk should be consumed alone, and never with any other food, especially those with even traces of salt like breakfast cereals or biscuits. Milk and salt combined is bad for the lungs.
  • Buttermilk should be consumed with Trikatu (dry ginger, pippali and pepper) powder and salt.
  • Vata people benefit a lot from warm liquids, even warm water.
  • Lack of routine always hurts a Vata’s health. Warm, fresh food should be consumed at the same time every day.

 

DON'Ts

  • Dry pulses and dry grains like millets should be avoided. If you have to eat them, they should be spiced well and taken with a healthy amount of fat.
  • Ginger fried in ghee with added salt and a few drops of lemon is great before one starts their meal.
  • Iced beverages, cold milk and yoghurt are best avoided.
  • Watermelons and grapes are also not great for a Vata, when it comes to their lungs.

For Pitta Dominants

Generally, pure Pittas rarely suffer from infectious diseases of the respiratory system. But on the contrary, they are extremely sensitive to allergens. Extreme temperatures, dust, smoke, pollen, foods known to be histamine rich and emotional upsurges can all trigger a cascade of respiratory health deterioration.

DOs

  • Neem and turmeric are exceptionally good to allay the pitta. They can eat a whole sprig of neem leaves crushed in a mortar with a pestle and mixed with ½ a spoon of turmeric. This can be taken first thing in the morning.
  • Pittas benefit from carbohydrates (but should vary of maida). Warm daliya, rice or pulao cooked with ghee and little sugar are extremely helpful in dealing with pitta imbalances in the lungs.
  • All foods should be spiced. But for Pittas, Ayurveda prescribes herbs that nurture the fire and does not increase undue heat, which they already have in plenty. Cardamom, Cinnamon and Bay leaf powdered together called Tri Sugandhi are just this. This powder can be used to spice curries, buttermilk, milk, etc.
  • Amla is an excellent solution for all respiratory troubles of a Pitta. Amla balances allergies, alleviates inflammation, and boosts immunity.
  • Pomegranates, boiled/baked apples are great for them.

DON'Ts

  • Nuts like groundnuts and sesame seeds should be excluded from the diet especially in autumn and spring. Similarly, pulses and high protein foods like meat should be avoided.
  • Citrus fruits are better not to eat. If consumed, they should be liberally sprinkled with black pepper and black salt.
  • Yoghurt can be skipped in Autumn and Spring. In other seasons, they should be spiced with Tri Sugandhi.
  • Cold milk, iced beverages, and milk with salt and fruits (eg. milkshakes or milk with salted breakfast cereal) are never good for anyone. These should be very rare treats for one who seeks health.

For Kapha dominants

These are the worst sufferers when it comes to the lungs. It's a simple analogy. Lungs are a space for air. So, too much water and earth might only end up blocking it. While Kapha plays the indispensable role of a mucus manager on the respiratory system’s epithelial lining, too much of it is not desired.

DOs

  • Lemon, honey and warm water is the gold standard combination for Kapha individuals to maintain good respiratory health.
  • The Kapha should always be free flowing - cooling stagnates it. Thus all things warm, and fluid devoid of excess fats are great for Kaphas.
  • Soups made from pulses, especially mung beans, benefit Kaphas.
  • Vegetable stews spiced with Tri-Katu (dry ginger, long pepper and pepper) also helps one sail through infections.
  • Pure kaphas benefit from citrus fruits.

DON'Ts

  • Sleeping during the day in the Spring season and in Monsoon is sure to trigger an infection. Kapha dominants should refrain from sleeping in the daytime generally.
  • Foods like urad dal, bananas, mangoes, curds, condensed milk, custard apples, cream, cheese and all kinds of fats are best avoided when a Kapha isn't healthy.
  • Like everyone else, a Kapha should also avoid food at extreme temperatures, cold foods especially, iced beverages, milkshakes, curds and food straight out of the fridge.

Dosha

Symptoms

Spice of choice

Nostril dominance

Season to be wary in

Vata

Dry cough, bloody dry mucus, pain in the throat etc.

Trikatu, Carom seeds

Left / right, varying.

Rainy season and Winters

Pitta

Sneezing, runny nose, eye burn, high temperature etc.

Tri Sugandhi, Cummins, Fennel

Right

Autumn and Late Spring

Kapha

Deep seated congestions, like in Sinuses, Bronchi etc.

Trikatu, Cloves, Ginger

Left

Monsoon and Early Spring

Immunity Tips For All Prakriti

  • Move your bowels regularly. If you are not regular, Triphala, warm honey and lemon water can be used.
  • Never take water with your meals. Meals are exclusive of hydration. No water for 30 minutes before or after your meal.
  • Rest well. Get adequate sleep.
  • Don’t snack. Eat exclusively at mealtimes.
  • Cut down on sugar. Sugar, especially refined, lowers your immunity.
  • Eat light for dinner. Make lunch the biggest meal of the day.

Comparison Of Common Foods

Cold Milk vs. Warm Milk

Milk in general is considered good for the lungs (especially goat’s milk). But when one has cold/chilled milk, it triggers Vata dryness, deranges the Kapha, thickens the mucus and extinguishes Pitta, which fails to warm and moisten the air as it enters.

The breach in the mucus can provide a breeding ground for infections. Warm milk on the other hand moistens the mucus and provides antibodies to nourish the immune system.

Butter vs Ghee

Butter is dense and may thicken the mucus. Hence, the air may not be properly moistened as it enters. The breach in the mucus shield can promote infections.

On the other hand, ghee taken warm is light and will lubricate your mucus membranes. It will promote good respiratory health. Similarly, well churned buttermilk should always be chosen over curds.

DIY Spice Mix

1. Trikatu

  • Mix equal parts powders of dry ginger, black pepper and long pepper.
  • Benefits: Helps cut through congestion, heals coughs and colds, also helps heavy food to digest better.

2. Tri Sugandhi

  • Mix equal parts powders of green cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon.
  • Benefits: It is excellent to relieve throat pains, relieve cough and helps lower the body temperature. When added to food items, it makes digestion easier.

The Last Word

Every time you eat, be conscious and feel your food. It isn't rocket science. But one has to be deeply involved in the process to understand which food is working for your body and which one is not. Stay healthy, and stay happy!

Know Your Dosha Now