Robust immune system – The key to fighting Corona

Well-known acupuncturist and Yoga-Naturopathy physician, Dr Debashish Bakshi, writes about some necessary healthy habits that can help build immunity and fight the Covid-19 or any other virus attacks in future

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Dr Debashish Bakshi, Director, Indian Research Institute for Integrated Medicine (IRIIM)

The sky is clear blue, the air is not heavy with the smell of smoke and pollution. From the terrace of my fourth floor apartment, earlier, I would see the neighbourhood buildings covered in a light film of smoke.  If I wanted to sunbathe for a while in the mild sunlight of a summer morning in March-April,  the sun would not be strong enough. This has changed in the past month since Lockdown was announced. At 6am, there is bright sun and by 6.30, the place is drenched in sunlight. The light is strong and the neighbourhood houses are clearly visible, with no smog hanging in the air. These were some of Sutopa’s observations, who lives in Kolkata. You must be wondering what is the connection between this and staying healthy, boosting the immune system and surviving through this critical phase? Yes, there is a relationship.

‘Immunity’ and ‘Lockdown’ are English words that are being used so frequently that they do not need any further explanation. The Coronavirus attack has forced the country and the world to go on a Lockdown. Hopefully this war dance will stop and people will be able to return to their normal lives. However, if human civilisation does not mend its ways, there is no certainty that in future there will be no further virus attacks.

Just like, when the human immune system becomes weak and people fall ill, similarly, the Earth’s immune system is being destroyed for ages. This battle for survival is not just for a few days but it is everyone’s fight to live healthy and for that we have to develop some regular healthy habits.  

Some Simple ways of Staying Healthy:

Taking a walk in the morning sunlight helps to produce Vitamins A and D in the body that makes bones strong and enhances immunity. In modern lifestyles, this habit is almost missing. Walking, exercise, yogasana, playing in the field, skipping, swimming and so on must be included in regular routine. Most parents do not focus on this part of their children’s growth. That is why their immune systems are not well developed and even the slightest change in weather causes cough, cold and fever. The first assault is on the respiratory system because the exchange of gases between the body and the environment takes place through the respiratory system. So, regular exercise and pranayama makes the respiratory system and lungs strong. In fact, the Covid-19 virus actually primarily attacks the respiratory system. In future, new types of viruses with different characteristics might attack us and we must be prepared to face them. That will only be possible through maintaining healthy habits and exercising. This awareness needs to first come among adults from whom the youngsters will learn. Hopefully by now, you must have understood the relation between Sutapa’s words and the subject of my article.

Turmeric

Coming to regular food habits, in this Corona phase, we hear a lot about eating healthy, eating foods that increase immunity. Yes that is true, but that will not happen overnight. Immunity does not grow in one day or a few days. This is a process and must be maintained throughout life. Naturally, we should go back So, we go back to the old belief that immunity building foods should be included in the regular diet. Some examples are – a piece of turmeric, a handful of sprouts of green moong or Bengal gram, sattoo sarbat, seasonal fruits and leafy vegetables, regional grains like puffed rice, chira, dalia, millet, etc. These are called Functional Foods. Rice, atta roti, dal, vegetable and non-vegetarian proteins, are also essential in the diet as usual. The more natural, possibly organic produce should be consumed for better health.  Eating animal protein in large quantities (specially half cooked or half roasted) is a way of life today- but these are more harmful than harmless.

I have already said that for our wellbeing, we need to care for the environment as well. The more we pollute the environment, the more we bring our own troubles. That is why, its best to make use of minimum resources, just taking what we need for survival.

Some more ways to keep healthy:

Moxibustion

Medicine-less treatment of diseases including applying pressure or heat on pressure points of the body using special medicinal herb (called Moxa). These are simple treatment techniques without any side effects. Learning these techniques and applying them at the right points will help to build immunity and resists diseases. Acupuncture treatment has various remedies that can help to prevent diseases and this has been proved scientifically.

The Coronavirus pandemic is just a warning to us from Nature that if we continue to destroy its balance, greater danger is awaiting us. So, by maintaining healthy competition and showing our love for Nature, The human race will live in harmony, peace and survive in the long run.

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