1. Avoid (or reduce) mucous forming & bacteria inviting foods
Sorry to tell you, but some of these may be your fave things to eat. This is especially important if you start to feel symptoms or someone else in your family is sick
So this basically means, you better not look at any cookie dough ice cream you have lying around in the fridge. I'm serious! Because if you take one collective tip from the above it is to avoid ice-cream for the ENTIRE WINTER because it is sugar + dairy + cold temperature.
2. Increase Foods that Support Your Digestive Fire & Lymph
Okay, now the things you can do! These proactive food-based habits keep excess mucous and the naughty bacteria at bay. Your immune system and digestive system are directly linked, and colds and flus are more likely to invade (and win) when your digestive fire is low, slow or weak or your lymphatic system is boggy. These tips keep your fire kindled and burning, healthy bacteria thriving and your natural mucosa lining balanced and healthy. And although ice cream is NOT on the list, these foods are delish and appropriate for the season.
A simple way to work with these principles is to eat a bowl of warm, spiced soup as your main meal every day - here's a creamy dal soup recipe to try, and vary as you like, or a similar (but more european take) recipe for a blended seasonal soup. These are great with a side of flash-pickle beets or sauteed ginger kale.
Keep it simple... and make it a family affair - your whole family can do this all season long. You don't have to be perfect and do it all... I offered lots of ideas with each tip to give you options that you can choose from based on your schedule and inclinations. Do the ones that seem the easiest and most appealing! If, in spite of your best efforts, you do get sick (let's face it, nobody is perfect, and you've got karma, circumstance and maybe some sick co-workers or preschoolers in your life), you should get even more serious about omitting sugar, cold foods, and increasing spices and teas and above all Take a Break! When you get sick, you need to rest... I can't tell you how many clients and students I saw last winter who got sick, thought they were better, went back to full-force working-shopping-socializing and then got WORSE with a horrible mucous in the lungs that they could not get over for WEEKS! Yuck. Take longer than you think you should to recover and darn it, act like you are sick. Plus, here are some measures to take if you, or someone you love does get a cold or flu, from my friend, Mary Jo Cravata.
3. Stay Nourished & Don't Dry Out!
Many of the warming, spicy, mucous reducing measures are warm, light and dry, however, to maintain immunity, you need an optimal amount of nourishing bodily-juiciness (called Ojas in Sanskrit). The mucosa membrane of the digestive tract and respiratory tract are there for a reason... and it is a delicate balance to keep just the right amount of mucous lining. If you get too dried out, you can produce "reactive mucous", in your body's attempt to balance, and then, there you are again, at risk for getting sick! In fact, getting overly hot and dried out in the summer months is what leads many people to have autumn allergies and colds.
Note that when you are healthy, you can stay healthy with these food-based measures that support healthy ojas.
You can accomplish getting these into your system with one yummy treat (when you are healthy!) - like a warm almond or raw cows milk blended with cinnamon, cardamom, saffron and a date. Or try these ojas ladoos.
Want to work with me one-on-one get personalized ayurvedic insight and support to transform your life and self-awareness to make every day healthier? GO HERE!
Wishing you a warm and healthy holiday season!
Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Practitioner & Mama - these articles are to support your yoga practice with knowledge and inspiration.