Traditionally, devout yogis will cut meat out of their diet. They may stop eating any diary also as the yogic tradition includes not harming any living thing. Immunity is what stops you from getting sick and while many people will turn to medications to prevent illness, there is another way. Taking antibiotics when you’ve caught a cold or virus kills healthy bacteria in the body. This means you lose your strength and energy while putting your digestive system at risk.
To avoid the illness in the first place, there are foods you can eat that will replace immune shots because they naturally strengthen your immunity. Immunity is your body’s defence mechanism against foreign invaders. When an infection enters the body, the body makes antibodies. If you have a strong immune system, you can more easily fight off infections and foreign invaders.
When your immunity is low, you are more susceptible to infections like a cold but you may also get more serious infections. This includes; jaundice, skin allergies, cancer, or digestive illnesses. Poor immunity comes from stress and poor nutrition mainly. Yoga experts believe that yoga can greatly help immunity due to the stress factor. When you can relax your body daily, you’re less likely to break down your immunity and catch colds.
Nutrition to boost your immune system as a yogi will be a full package of natural immune boosting methods that will keep you healthy even in cold season. When your nutrition is poor, you are not offering your body the nutrients that help fighter cells to gain strength so they can fight off germs.
Yogis practice discipline through many parts of their daily practice, challenging their abilities. If there are infections or colds due to a weak immune system, the path a yogi takes is longer. A yogi’s connection with nature and earth means to embrace plans and grains that grow from it. Therefore yogis prefer to eat local fruits and vegetables from the area they’re in. When you attend a yoga teacher training school anywhere in the world, they offer colourful food from the area that nurtures the body and supports the practice.
Oats and Barley
Oats and Barley contain beta-glucan which is the right kind of fiber you need to build up immunity. It has antimicrobial and antioxidant abilities. Animals that eat these grains have been shown to be less likely to catch a flu or herpes. For yogis, it boosts immunity and speeds up the healing process of cuts and scrapes. If you have to take antibiotics because you’re already caught a cold, oats and barley enhance the healing process. Oats and barley can be used in your morning oatmeal with cinnamon and dried fruits daily.
The great thing about garlic is you can use it in any savory meal to make it more delicious. Garlic contains allicin which fights off bacteria and infections. When you ingest garlic regularly, you are much less likely to catch a cold. Studies have also shown that if you ingest more than 6 cloves a week, you have 30% less chance of getting colorectal cancer and 50% less chance of stomach cancer.
Yams (Sweet Potatoes)
Can you guess what your largest organ is? It’s your skin and it’s the first line of defense for any bacteria. Skin needs vitamin A to stay healthy and stave off any unwanted bacteria that could cause illness. Vitamin A helps produce connective tissue which is a supporting element of skin. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene which converts into Vitamin A once it’s in the blood stream. Top maximize the benefits of any beta-carotene product, you should have a half-cup serving daily. This can include: squash, carrots, pumpkin, or cantaloupe.
Oranges, Grapefruits, and Lemons
Vitamin C helps to build up the immune system and increase production of white blood cells. Citrus fruits include; grapefruit, tangerines, lemon/lime, and oranges. In order to get your daily dose, you may choose to throw a half a lemon (sliced) into your water bottle. Your body can’t store vitamin C so you have to take it daily for it to work effectively to stave off illness. Good thing there are plenty of delicious citrus fruits to choose from so you can get the daily amount needed.
Broccoli has a lot going for it with so many vitamins and minerals, it’s a yogis one stop shop to get the energy needed for challenging yoga poses. Broccoli has vitamins, a, c, and e, and a variety of antioxidants. Did we mention fiber? Said to be one of the healthiest things you can eat, you can also try broccoli sprouts which offer 10-100 times the nutrients and benefits that normal broccoli has. Broccoli and the spouts can stave off many different types of cancer, give you energy, keeping the digestive system healthy, and off course fighting off flus.
Yogis that are vegetarian, or vegan will usually eat a salad daily and load it up with delicious ingredients like dried cranberries and nuts. To maximize the salad, go with spinach. It’s packed with antioxidants, beta carotene, and vitamin C. All of these elements can dramatically increase your immune systems ability to fight off infections. Spinach is a lot like broccoli in that it’s incredibly healthy and should be cooked minimally to get the most nutrients out of it. When you cook it lightly, you enhance the vitamin A and allow nutrients to release. You can also release nutrients and vitamins from spinach by adding it to your smoothie which breaks it down.
When a yogi regularly eats the above foods, they will gain benefits of feeling more energized. Yogis shouldn’t practice yoga with full bellies which is why many of the foods on the list are light foods. While they support a yogi with beneficial nutrients to stave off illness and maintain strength, they don’t fill you up excessively. These foods will help the immune system fight off nasty bacteria and viruses.
Author Bio: Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, Yoganonymous, OMtimes and others. She is among top 20 Yoag bloggers as reviewed by ThoroughlyReviewed. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga International, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali).