Having a strong and well functioning immune system is more essential than ever with the current world situation. Everywhere you turn, you find immune boosting tips.
Ayurveda has always advised how to keep your immune system strong from inside out and acknowledged the importance of this. The foundation for a strong immunity level is based upon having strong digestion and the concept of ojas.
Read: The 3 Doshas of Ayurveda
Ojas is the finest product of digestion and brings together the three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. It is the junction point between consciousness and matter. In terms of the human body, consciousness becomes lively through ojas.
It is yellowish-white in color, similar to ghee, tastes sweet like honey, and smells like roasted rice. Ojas sustains all the dhatus or tissues. When in a balanced state, it strengthens the immune system and produces a feeling of happiness. When ojas is lively, you will often feel as if you are in the best shape of your life.
Here are the signs of a healthy and lively ojas:
- Happy, cheerful, blissful.
- Loving and compassionate.
- Strong immunity.
- Good retention of knowledge.
- Eyes full of luster.
- Glowing skin.
- Healthy hair.
- Clarity in thoughts, speech, and feelings.
- Good strength.
- Excellent stamina.
Now the question is, how exactly is ojas formed and how to keep it strong and lively so that your immunity stays strong? Digestion is of the utmost importance in Ayurveda. Ojas, being the finest product of digestion, can only be produced when digestion is healthy and balanced. Keeping that digestive fire lively is essential.
How to Keep Your Digestive Fire Active
One of the best ways to keep the fire lively is by avoiding the causative factors and preventing disease. Even Hippocrates said that prevention is preferable to cure.
There are factors that directly diminish Ojas:
- Negative emotions of any kind.
- Excessive exercise.
- Imbalanced diet (includes avoiding major food groups).
- Disturbed sleep cycles.
- Injuries or trauma.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs.
- Excessive loss of bodily fluids (ie blood).
When possible it is best to avoid everything listed above. Having a balance of rest and activity while eating well and managing stress is, at the most basic level most important to keep the immune system strong.
Take the Quiz: What's My Dosha?
To keep the digestive system strong, it is best to eat foods that are in line with your dosha. Keep in mind that vata people should favor the sweet, sour, salty tastes; pitta people should have mostly sweet, bitter, and astringent, and kapha people should have pungent, bitter, and astringent tastes.
In order to keep digestion strong, it is important to understand the different types of digestion according to the doshas:
- Vata people tend to have a very irregular digestion which often results in an irregular appetite, indigestion, bloating, gas, gurgling of intestines, dry skin, dry mouth, and insomnia.
- Pitta people will likely have an overactive digestion and metabolism which will lead to a strong appetite, heartburn, loose stools/diarrhea, irritability, aggressiveness, colitis, and skin conditions such as acne or rashes.
- Kapha people have a tendency for a slow digestion which means that they will have a poor appetite, sluggish digestion, feeling of heaviness after eating, congestion, bloating, lethargy, excessive sleep, edema, weight gain, and lack of motivation.
These symptoms are not an exhaustive list but help to give an overview of how the doshas affect digestion.
In addition to utilizing the knowledge of the six tastes, food should be fresh and in season, tasty, pleasing, and satisfying. Ayurveda recommends keeping the consumption of raw or unripe foods to a minimum as it is best to have foods that are cooked, but not overcooked.
Here are other ways to improve digestion based upon your dosha:
- Vata - having a sufficient amount of food at regular intervals. Meals and drinks should be at room temperature or warmer, are unctuous and cooked.
- Pitta - meals should be consumed on time and without delay while ensuring that the meals and snacks are lukewarm in temperature or slightly cooler. Spicy flavors and extremely hot foods should be avoided.
- Kapha - food and drinks should be lighter, drier, and warmer. Eating at regular times is important, but avoiding snacks and picking on food should be avoided.
Ayurveda states that by keeping the digestion strong, immunity naturally stays strong. This is because ojas is a result of a balanced digestion.
By avoiding the causative factors and eating per your dosha, you are helping your body to stay strong and resilient. Other ways to boost digestion and immunity are staying hydrated, balancing rest and activity, especially ensuring you get a full night’s sleep, and keeping stress levels down.
During These Times of Stress and Uncertainty Your Doshas May Be Unbalanced.
To help you bring attention to your doshas and to identify what your predominant dosha is, we created the following quiz.
Try not to stress over every question, but simply answer based off your intuition. After all, you know yourself better than anyone else.