Effect of Cold on the Immune SystemContact with the cold reduces immunity. Your respiratory tract is especially vulnerable when the temperature drops. Throughout the fall, your body walks a delicate tightrope - too much blood in the surface (skin, respiratory membranes) and your body temperature will drop. Too little blood in the surface and your skin's immunity will decrease. When you breathe cold air, it makes your mucus membranes cold, which retards your body's ability to fight disease. Your nose gets stuffy when it's cold because your nasal passages get swollen, an adaption which prevents you from breathing cold air through your nose. Unfortunately, this swelling traps bacteria in your sinuses, and your body has to fight off these trapped bugs.
If your throat feels cold, or your sinuses are swollen due to cold (a stuffy nose), you may be under-dressed. In that case, find a warm place to recover. If you catch a chill, for any reason, wrap yourself in blankets or warm clothing until you feel very warm (but avoid heavy sweating). Before you venture back outdoors, don a scarf, a hat, a warm sweater and a cozy jacket. Keep your neck, head, chest, and feet warm. These activities will boost your immune confidence, dispel immune crushing coldness, and restore your strength to fight off a fall cold.
In the past, a common cold used to mean a fall cold - characterized by a surprise cold snap on a day when you are under-dressed. It takes your body all autumn long to develop adequate defenses and insulation for wintry weather. A cold snap can overwhelm these defenses and cause sickness.
Diet to Boost ImmunityEat mindfully and prioritize foods that are appropriate for your constitution and the season. Chew your food well and avoid distractions while eating to support healthy digestion. Avoid eating at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Sleep to Boost ImmunityIncorporate a supportive night routine that will prepare you for a restful sleep. Massage the scalp and feet, diffuse calming essential oils such as lavender and jasmine. Turn off electronics early and dim the lights. Journal or meditate and take a few slow, deep breaths to relax the mind.
Exercise to Boost ImmunityIncorporate a simple daily exercise routine to help support lymphatic circulation. In Ayurveda, consistency is usually better than intensity. If you overdo it, you'll hurt your body and find it harder to keep up the pace. A five minute stretch can be a great start. Take a walk in the morning, do some yoga or any exercise at all to get your circulation up.
Clear the Sinuses with NetiAyurveda recommends washing your sinuses daily in the morning and before bed with a neti pot. Cleansing the sinuses can help to remove excess mucus due to congestion and rid the nostrils of pollen and other allergens.
Herbs to Boost ImmunityEchinacea, tulsi (holy basil) and osha tinctures are immune boosting favorites to keep on hand. Begin taking them at the first sign of an illness, such as a tightness in your neck, swelling in your throat, or a warm forehead. Taken early enough, these herbs will prevent illness from settling into your body. If you miss that window, take them anyway - they will shorten the length of time you are sick and help you recover faster.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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