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Inputs by Mr. Coutinho, Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine

1) How does one enhance immunity and resistance to disease in these testing times of the Coronavirus outbreak?

Immunity – is an inbuilt intelligence of our body to protect us from not only virus, but anything that our body identifies as a pathogen or foreign particle. It is our body’s effort to protect us. However, when compromised, it opens doorways to a plethora of infections and diseases. Stronger the immunity, lesser are the chances of contracting a disease and faster are the chances of recovering. 

Immunity is a function of the kind of food we eat, thoughts we think, way we move and way we sleep and rest. Through our lifestyle, we can feed exactly what our immunity system needs to be up and running. 

  • Nutrition: Focus on a well-rounded diet and no fads, Spices and herbs have a plenty of immune boosting properties. Nuts, seeds and good fats along with adequate amount of good quality protein helps build immunity. Through nutrition, also focus on gut health via probiotics (good gut bacteria) and prebiotics (that probiotics feed on)
  • Sleep – Lack of quality sleep can supress immunity in almost every way.
  • Stress- Stress releases cortisol and cortisol is an immune system suppressor. 
  • Movement and adequate activity- Movement enables circulation of blood and lymph, both crucial for immunity. It also helps in proper distribution of nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Movement aids detoxification too. 

2) Can you suggest an immune-boosting diet?

An immune-boosting diet is one the that is basic, freshly cooked and well rounded. A diet comprising of nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, cereals, pulses, lentils, legumes, spices, herbs, prebiotics, prebiotics, good quality cold pressed oils help build immunity.

Here are some basic foods that can amp up your immunity – 

  • Spices such as black pepper, bishops weed, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, clove, fennel, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, garlic, ginger, turmeric, etc. 
  • Herbs such as lemongrass, oregano, thyme, tulsi
  • Honey – ray and unpasteurised
  • Protein rich sources such as beans, lentils, legumes, pulses
  • Nuts like walnuts, almonds, brazil nuts; seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables like amla, lemons, oranges, pomegranate, pumpkin, moringa, sweet potato
  • Probiotics like beet kvass, good quality yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, rice kanji, sauerkraut. 
  • Prebiotics like apple, apple cider vinegar, banana, garlic, leek.  
  • Vital minerals and vitamins – Selenium and Zinc 
  • Loose black tea and white tea leaves – good quality 

Also, whats important is – what in our diet destroys immunity. Sugar can cripple our immunity almost immediately, create inflammation, acidity – and an even more favourable environment for sickness. 

3) Is jaggery really a good alternative for sugar?

Sugar is an empty calorie and stripped of nearly every single nutrient because of the extent its processed. In comparison to that, jaggery is definitely a healthier option because even though it has nearly the same impact on blood sugar, its rich in minerals – like iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus that help to improve your body’s immunity.

Also, jaggery is not just useful as a sweetener, it’s got multiple health benefits. A research suggests that jaggery can be used as a protective agent for workers in dusty and smoky environments, as it helps clear out their lungs and loosens mucous. It’s a great digestion booster and treat as a post meal digestive in certain parts of North India. Jaggery aids in stimulating digestive enzymes and also improves your digestion. Consumption of jaggery post meals can also help in reducing acidity and gas. And, it can also be used in certain cases to reduce hepatic and renal damage. 

To know more about Luke Coutinho visit

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