The Indian consulate in San Francisco November 12 organized a webinar, titled “Ayurveda for Building Immunity”, in which Ayurveda specialists stressed on the need to build immunity and stay healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
They emphasized that immunity was the most important factor to fight the novel coronavirus, pointing out that the ancient Indian knowledge of Ayurveda has dealt with viral and bacterial diseases before.
India’s Consul General in San Francisco, TV Nagendra Prasad, inaugurated the webinar saying it was an appropriate event in this time of crises. Ayurveda has been part of Indian life for centuries and it was a time-tested cure for many ailments, he added.
Dr Narayananam Srikanth, deputy director general of the Indian government’s Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences, said that Ayurveda could be the most suitable for immunity, supplemented with a balanced diet and lifestyle.
“Give your immune system a boost with healthful, plant-based foods, stay active. Eat right, sleep right, and live useful and happy,” he added
Dr R Nagarathna, chief medical director of Arogyadhama. a holistic research health home in India, called breath an important factor in healthy living, since all the bodily functions depend upon healthy breathing.
She said a happy, peaceful life was most important, along with quality of food. The digestive system, she said, is best during the day when the sun is up and one could digest food better. After sunset light food should be taken, she added.
Ranjith Kumar, joint secretary at India’s ministry of Ayush (alternative health), said strengthening the body’s resistance to diseases has become more important in the current Covid-19 scenario and Ayurveda with other Eastern holistic medicines can play a vital role.
He said there were three natural healing and medicinal systems prevalent in India, including Ayurveda, Sidhdha (Tamil) and Unani, which was traditionally Greek, but it was adopted by Persian .
Isaac Mathai, chairman, SOUKYA international holistic center, said Ayruveda with remedies from the West brought forth a best of East and West. The immune system relied on white blood cells that produced antibodies to combat bacteria, viruses, and other invaders.
Vegetarians have been shown to have more effective white blood cells when compared to non-vegetarians, due to a high intake of vitamins and low intake of fat, he claimed.
Maintaining a healthy weight can also benefit the immune system. Obesity has been linked to increased risk for influenza and other infections such as pneumonia. He said many vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress.
Beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body along with vitamin C found in red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other fruits and vegetables along with vitamin E found in nuts, seeds, spinach, and broccoli.
Jayarajan Kodikannath, an Ayurvedic consultant, stressed the benefits of cleansing therapies and Ayurvedic medicines that help enhance immunity. He elaborated on the role of Panchakarma procedures and how they help “detoxify” the body.
He said vitamin D supplementation have been effective in reducing the risk for viral infections, including respiratory tract infections.
Zinc, a mineral in nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils, can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders. And also inadequate sleep has also been linked to suppressed immune function.
Mamta Landerman, founding president of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine (CAAM), who moderated the webinar., said development of a healthy and balanced lifestyle was the key to building immunity.