How to beat the damp with Ayurveda

Damp is a persistent problem at this time of year, with mould and window condensation being the most recognisable signs of its presence. But what if I told you that the damp could also be making you ill, both due to wet weather and a dampened immune system?

Asthma and respiratory conditions can be made worse by damp

Many people find symptoms of asthma and respiratory problems are heightened around this time of year, and much of this can be linked to the increase of mould spores in the air. A 2001 study of over 10,000 students in Finland confirmed the link and found that people living in damp homes had an increased risk of asthma, repeated colds and skin allergies.

The study also found that just under 40% of the students who lived in damp homes had suffered with pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis or tonsillitis over the past year (published in Thorax journal, 2001).

While many of the health problems are linked to the respiratory system, systemic conditions like Candida Albicans can also be linked to the body being ‘damp’.

Fortunately there are things to do to fire up your immune system and beat the damp, using the principles of Ayurveda.

According to Ayurvedic principles we all have a specific body type and personality type called our Dosha. We are a combination of all three – Vata, Pitta and Kacha – however we are usually dominant in one or two.

Ayurveda is an ancient healing system

 Kapha is the dosha that is linked with damp, mucous and allergies, so any imbalance in the lung or chest area would be linked to a Kapha imbalance. Eating foods that are heating, drying and stimulating are thought to help rectify it, while moist and rich foods are thought to stimulate it.

Here are a few signs of a Kapha imbalance…

  • you’re gaining weight easily without an obvious reason
  • you’re constantly feeling tired and have difficulties waking up, even after a good night’s sleep
  • you feel quite lethargic after meals
  • you have difficulties dealing with change tend to dwell in the past

Think you’re affected, or just looking to boost your health throughout winter? Here are some of the foods to enjoy and to avoid to regain the balance…

 ENJOY:

Ayurveda believes spices can help balance your doshas

 Spice It Up – Ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom are all great warming spices that can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Alternatively try spicy teas like Chai or ginger tea.

Go to the root – seasonal root vegetables are great in warming dishes like stews and soups. Make from scratch for a filling and nutritious meal.

Hello Aloe – Aloe Vera is great for the immune system and for healing the digestive system. Drink it in pure aloe vera juice or try it in supplement form.

Stay in the warm – try to eat warm foods as much as possible to keep your digestive system fired up in the cold weather.

 Keep it moving – A varied exercise routine is good for the body and soul, so keep as active as possible throughout the winter.

AVOID:

Avoid ice cold drinks if you have a kapha imbalance

Ice, Ice baby – Ice cold drinks may be refreshing but they could help contribute to a dampened immune system. Try to sip on warm or at least room temperature drinks as much as possible.

 Be wary of dairy – Foods like milk, cheese and ice cream are all quite congestive and can contribute to mucous formation. Avoid as much as possible and look to substitutes like Rice Dream or Coconut Milk instead.

Wheatever next – Wheat is also thought to be quite congestive and difficult to digest so cut down as much as possible, looking to easier to digest grains such as quinoa and rye as alternatives.

Sweet Enough – Foods rich in sugar and yeast can contribute to ‘damp’ conditions including Candida Albicans so skip the sugar and try cinnamon instead – it’s naturally sweet and warming – result.

 Do you agree with the Ayurvedic principles? Do you find you struggle with damp and mould sensitivities?

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