Monday, May 18, 2020


With the Covid crisis, "keeping your immunity strong" has become a trending topic. The doctors only talk about it, but they have no clue as to what immunity even means. They don't study such things in medical school. The newspapers publish many articles and suggestions, because it is the trending thing. The journalists who write or, a better term would be compile, have no clue themselves what immunity means.


The answers we are seeking is not new. It is all out there, and has been, for ages. Traditional wisdom across cultures, has the answers. However, traditional wisdom never anticipated the onslaught of modern methods of processing food, the allopathic school of clueless doctors, and the pharma and food industry trying their utmost to peddle misinformation.


Let us try to go from the ground up, and understand some of these things.


Germs are not bad. Germs are everywhere. Our body, as is the body of every living being, is a colony of co-existing "germs". In fact, there are trillions of different varieties of "germs" within us, helping us to survive.


The human body has evolved over the years to stay healthy in the environment of the earth. Throw any germ at it, and the body will fight it, develop anti-bodies against it, and remember the precise formulations for ever, so if that germ invades again, the body uses the experience it already has gathered in dealing with it.


Part of the human body's defence mechanism is also the skin. The skin is a living organ which is the first defence and shield against the environment.


The body has evolved to survive and thrive in nature, that is, when it is exposed to the elements, when it is exposed to sun, wind and water.


Emotions play a critical role in maintaining the entire body, including the immune system. Anyone who is anxious, fearful, or angry, or sad, will immediately be susceptible to even a passing cold, since their immunity will be compromised.


The body has evolved to eat whole foods grown by nature. All foods have co-evolved with man, and are a synergistic package of nutrients that the body can assimilate and thrive on. It is not possible, or at best sub-optimal, to try to extract "nutrients" in isolation and take them either as foods or supplements.


Man is a social animal. A large part of his happiness is linked to meeting other people and bonding with them.


A lot of this might seem like simple common sense, but is it? A lot of the advice that is being thrown at us due to Covid, goes against this.


The governments, in announcing their lockdowns, and their social distancing measures, are perhaps doing the right thing, or perhaps not. That is a debatable point, not the subject of this article.


What should you do, personally,  to keep our immunity high?


1.     Keep a positive mental state. Do not read all the bad stuff out there on covid and worry yourself to death. It is just another virus, like a flu, and our body is capable of handling flus. It is out there in the air. How long will you escape it? Where will you run? How will you shut yourself up for ever?


You are doing yourself a lot of harm by cowering in fear; when I see people walking around these days, it is difficult to understand whether they are on the Earth or on the Moon!


To the extent government regulations or social norms require, by all means wear masks. Otherwise, a mask is not necessary at all, in fact it is a damn nuisance.


2.     How often will you wash your hands? Be reasonable about it, and don't overdo it. Washing with soap is still fine, but I don't understand how people can even be using hand sanitizers. Remember, anything that is supposed to kill the bad germs, will also kill the good germs along with it. Every time we wash our hands with alcohol, we are reducing our immunity.



3.     Don't shut yourself up, away from fresh air and light. Go for that walk, soak in that sun, be out there! By hiding inside your house, afraid of the very air you breathe, you are further destroying your immunity.



4.     Sleep well. Lack of sleep is an immunity destroyer.


5.     Eat right. What constitutes "eating right" is the subject of a whole series of articles, but a few key rules would be as follows. Avoid eating processed foods. Buy stuff from the grocery store and cook at home. Eat only fresh food, within hours of cooking. Eat mainly vegetarian, and eat mainly whole foods. Replace the "processed salt" in your house with Himalayan rock salt or Raw Sea Salt (unprocessed). Replace the "refined oil " you buy with cold pressed oils. Avoid sugar to the extent possible. Avoid milk and milk products to the extent possible, unless you procure organic milk.  


Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat sprouts as part of your diet.


Some superfoods that you can include in your diet, in any form, are Amla, Honey (raw and unprocessed only), turmeric (anyway part of our cooking), ginger, black pepper, and lemon (have a limbu sherbet everyday). Seeds, soaked, dried, and lightly roasted, are a great snack, in small quantities every day.


If possible, and if the budget permits, buy only organic foodstuff.


6.     Exercise.  Your favorite form of exercise is fine, so long as you keep your body moving. Do not sit for too long, get up and stretch and walk around, once every hour at least. If possible, sit on the ground – why are you at the table all the time? You are working from home now, so you are more free to move around. When the body does not move, "prana", the vital force, stagnates. When prana stagnates all kinds of health problems ensue.



The above suggestions are all broad, I have not gone into details in any of them. If a lot of it seems like common sense, it is. If it seems like a lot of the advice being bandied about nowadays ignores many of these things, it does. If it seems like the world is going collectively insane, then I agree with you fully.


Stay home, Stay safe, is the usual way to end any article or conversation nowadays, but I shall eschew that.


Go out there, be happy, and keep your immunity strong!


Raghu Ramachandran said...

Lovely, simple, sensible and useful... Keep referring. Thanks!


Just curious that how come Rishi munis used to sit in sadhna for several years and gheir Prana did not stagnate

Dinesh Gopalan said...

Patanjali's eight fold path has asana first, then pranayama, and only after that, sitting still to Meditate. The Rishi Munis you are referring to were at a different level, they had conquered the body.

Tanuja said...

Nice and easy to follow article.

Unknown said...

Common sense. .haha.. Yes it is. But need to be reminded to people as it is more easy to get the fear in the air! !
Very good one Dinesh. SIMPLE n PERFECT!