Post Covid Recovery: The Ayurveda Way
Post Covid Rejuvenation and Recovery: The Ayurveda Way
Dealing with a less known type of disease and that too a pandemic is indeed difficult. It is a truth that Covid -19 has affected human lives in a clumsy, uncomfortable way. But the good news is, the majority can recover pretty quickly without any complications if proper care and attention are given right from the beginning. Testing negative for Covid-19 is not the end of the recovery phase. It marks the beginning of a post-covid rejuvenation period when the body and the mind heal gradually and get back to normalcy.
Epidemics and pandemics are explained in Ayurveda as “Janapadodwamsa”. A large population, irrespective of their Bala (strength), diet, behavior, and psychological state, is affected by the same disease, at the same time, which may destroy the community, is called ‘Janapadodhwamsa’. Covid-19 pandemic fits this category and has already affected a huge part of the population worldwide.
The Covid-19 virus affects people differently. It could be asymptomatic or more often present with varied symptoms ranging from mild to moderate and severe. Often people complain of persistent fatigue, respiratory distress, body pain, loss of taste, smell, and poor appetite for weeks after the infection. The occurrence of allied medical conditions like skin diseases is also not uncommon these days. Irrespective of the strength with which the virus affected your body, a holistic natural, and systematic approach is essential to regain the lost strength and immunity.
Covid-19 due to the peculiarity of the symptoms often involves all the three doshas with specific Kapha dosha aggravation. Most common symptoms such as fever, loss of taste, loss of appetite, extreme lethargy, and upper respiratory discomfort point to the diminution of the first formed dhatu after digestion – Rasa dhatu. Rasa dhatu kshaya (diminution) along with the aggravation of Kapha can further affect the Agni (biological fire) and impact the entire metabolism of the body. The presence of Ama (toxic outcome of improper digestion) accumulated in the body due to the ongoing disease process can significantly influence the general body’s immunity and strength.
Ayurveda always approaches in a preventive, curative, and rehabilitative approach in any kind of illness*. In covid-19 as well, a systematic outlook to restore the lost strength and immunity by balancing the doshas and stabilizing the dhatu formation is what Ayurveda adopts. A diet involving Ayurveda herbs and spices and various lifestyle modalities that gradually improve the strength and stamina of the body is what Ayurveda advocates. This article throws light on different Ayurveda strategies that you can adopt during your post covid recovery period.
Post Covid Diet and Drinks
Whether the symptoms were mild, moderate, or severe, a carefully planned suitable diet pattern is inevitable during the post-covid phase to regain the lost body strength and immunity. A diet prepared according to the Ayurveda principles can help nourish the body tissues and aids in fast recovery.
- Post covid, the Agni (digestive fire) is expected to be considerably low. Start with a light yet nourishing diet which is fresh, warm, and unctuous.
- Easy-to-digest nutritious food like soups, Khichdi, porridges, etc. is ideal to be consumed.
- Encourage the use of spices to boost up digestive activity. They may be used in appropriate quantities according to the Prakrithi.
- Vegetables and fruits may be included in every meal. This helps in normalizing bowel movements and supports natural immunity.
- Drink an adequate quantity of warm water to keep the body hydrated.
- Avoid the intake of refrigerated, frozen, and leftover food completely. Stick to a healthy freshly prepared meal plan.
- Spicy, too much oily, and heavy food can further worsen digestion. Avoid any kind of outside food as well.
- Avoid fermented foods, raw diets, and alcoholic beverages.
- Vegetables: all seasonal vegetables including green leafy vegetables.
- Fruits: sour fruits like Amla (Indian gooseberry), lemon, lime, oranges, etc. should be preferred more. Other seasonal fruits can also be included.
- Spices: Black pepper, long pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, caraway seeds, cumin, garlic, ginger, turmeric, etc.
- Grains: whole wheat, barley, quinoa, ragi (finger millet), etc.
- Drinks: warm water, medicated water with dry ginger/coriander/ cumin seeds/ holy basil (Tulsi leaves); vegetable juices, fruit juices, medicated buttermilk, etc.
- Herbal teas: Lemongrass, cinnamon, CCF- Coriander, cumin, fennel tea, ginger-lemon, mint, etc.
- Soups: lentil soups, vegetable soups, etc.
Nutritious Recipes To Rebuild Your Body
Basmati rice or wild rice – 1 cup
Yellow split moong dal – 1.5 cups (mentioned in Ayurveda as a wholesome food)
Chopped vegetables – 1.5 cups
Ginger – 1 inch, grated or chopped very finely
Coriander powder – ½ to 1 tsp
Cumin powder – ½ to 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Asafoetida – a pinch
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Water – to cook rice
Salt – to taste
Cilantro – a handful
Ghee – 2 tbsp
Method of preparation
- Wash and strain the rice and split moong dal. Keep it aside.
- Take a pressure cooker or a heavy bottom rice pot and add in the ghee.
- Splutter the mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
- Add finely chopped or grated ginger and saute well.
- Lower the flame and add the spice powders till the raw smell goes away.
- Add the chopped vegetables and mix them well so that the spices coat well. Add a pinch of asafoetida at this stage.
- Once the vegetables are half done, add in the rice and split moong dal, and give a quick mix.
- Pour insufficient water (you will need about 2 cups of water if cooking in a pressure cooker).
- Stir well and add salt as needed. Pressure cook it for 2 whistles and switch off the flame.
- After opening, fluff the rice together and garnish it with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.
- You can select your choice of veggies. Asparagus, potatoes, carrots, fresh peas, and cauliflower florets go well with this hearty one-pot meal.
- You can cook the rice till it is perfectly done or allow it to cook some more so that it turns mushy. The choice is yours.
(To make one cup of tea)
Turmeric – a small piece
Ginger – a small piece
Pepper pods – 2
Lemon peel – 2- 4 strands
Jaggery – to taste
- Fresh raw organic turmeric is the best. But you can also use powder form.
- Avoid the bitter part of lemon peel.
- Slice ginger and turmeric into very thin layers. You may also grate it finely so that it gets infused better.
- Take one cup of water (and a little more if you need it) with very thin slices of turmeric and ginger and switch on the burner.
- When it starts to boil, add strands of lemon peel and slightly crushed pepper pods.
- Reduce the fire to the bare minimum and let it cook for 7 minutes.
- Switch off the burner and allow it to cool slightly.
- Add a teaspoon of jaggery and lime juice to this and stir slowly.
- Enjoy this refreshing tea once or twice a day.
Tridosha Balance Soup
Ingredients (serves 2)
Carrots – 3 chopped
Asparagus – half cup chopped
Fresh ginger – 1 small piece chopped finely
Garlic – 4 cloves chopped finely
Vegetable stock – 2 cups
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Pepper – 2 to 3 pods crushed
Fennel seeds – ¼ tsp
Cilantro – 1 tbsp finely chopped
Salt – to taste
- Cook the carrots till they are done. Blend it into a puree. Set it aside.
- In a pot, add ghee and saute fennel seeds.
- Add finely chopped ginger and garlic and saute for a minute.
- Add in the chopped asparagus and roast it till they are done.
- To this, add the carrot puree and mix well.
- Pour 2 cups of vegetable stock and bring it to a boil.
- Add salt to taste.
- Switch off the flame and add crushed pepper pods.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
You could be a person who is generally very active and likes to work out every day. But the covid attack could have left you a bit tired and weak. People often complain of less stamina and get fatigued easily even after doing mild to moderate activities for a few more weeks after testing negative. This is because the body is yet to regain its normal strength through appropriate diet and activities. Hence it is important not to rush to your old lifestyle right away. The following activities in the appropriate manner can go a long way in your recovery.
Sleep is an important prerequisite for the proper healthy functioning of the brain and other important organs. Ensure you sleep atleast 6 to 8 hours every night and avoid day sleep. This helps you to start your day feeling fresh and energized. It is better to have an early dinner so that the food gets digested by bedtime and aids comfortable sound sleep. Avoid screen time about 2 hours before sleep and maintain a specific bedtime every day. Those who still experience breathing difficulties while lying down can try elevating the head of the bed to maintain a smooth breathing pattern. Sound sleep also speeds up the recovery process as it is a complete rest to the body and mind.
Regular exercising may not sound appealing, especially when you still feel tired. But a proper mild exercise routine is essential for the body to recover completely. Do not try your usual weights or jogging for long periods all of a sudden. Do only as much as you can without getting exhausted. Early morning walking is a good way to start the day. Simple breathing exercises can help regain normal lung capacity and are an ideal way to beat stress and anxiety. Stretches are easy to perform, help improve body flexibility, and are one of the simplest ways to get back to a normal exercise routine gradually. Exercise also helps in improving circulation, oxygenates the cells, and opens up the various channels of circulation, thus detoxifying the body.
Yoga is an excellent practice for both the body and mind to rebuild and freshen up. Simple asanas with rhythmic breathing can rejuvenate the various systems of the body. It helps calm down the mind and ease the stress, anxiety, and tension. Following are some of the simple asanas that you can try during your recovery phase.
|STANDING ASANAS||SITTING ASANAS||SUPINE LYING ASANAS||PRONE LYING ASANAS|
|1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
2. Uttanasana (standing forward bend)
3. Ardha chakrasana (Standing backward bend)
4. Trikonasana (Triangle pose)
|1. Simhasana (lion pose)
2. Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose)
3. Ardha matsyendrasana (Half fish pose)
4. Marjariasana (cat pose)
|1. Shavasana (the corpse pose)
2. Setubandhasana (bridge pose)
3. Pavanamuktasana (wind relieving pose)
4. Uttana padasana (raised leg pose)
|1. Makarasana (crocodile pose)
2. Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
You should be able to breathe comfortably throughout the asanas. Each asana can be done for a duration of a maximum of 1 to 2 minutes. Start with some simple asanas and gradually increase their duration and complexity as you feel better with each day.
Meditation and Pranayama
Covid could have taken a toll on your physical and mental strength. The unexpected attack of the disease on you and your loved ones and physical inabilities that accompanied can even affect the normal thought processes. Meditation and pranayama are time-tested practices that help you cope up with these challenging situations.
Meditating in a pleasant quiet atmosphere for around 15 minutes daily can help you gain better control over your thoughts and emotions. The pristine conscious awareness of positive thoughts, emotions, and actions can create a sense of the serene blissful state of mind. It also helps awaken the Chakras in your body through which the subtle flow of energy happens.
Pranayama is also an effective method to release the negative thoughts and emotions accumulated over time. Doing it within your capacity can also help improve your pulmonary functions and support normal breathing patterns. Nadi Shodhana, Ujjayee, Bhastrika and Bhramari pranayama can be done if comfortable. Apart from these, specific breathing exercises as prescribed by your healthcare provider may also be done appropriately.
Getting back to normal routine
Covid affects each person differently. The recovery period depends on how severe the symptoms were and also your age and other physical attributes. People with a history of lifestyle disorders like Diabetes, Hypertension, Cardiac disorders, etc. must consult their healthcare practitioner and take advice and medicines accordingly. They could be more prone to a compromised immune system even after testing negative for covid. Therefore, special attention should be paid to the diet and lifestyle during the recovery phase.
A well-rested body can heal faster and better. So do not rush to your normal routine activities, rather take it slowly. You may resume professional work gradually and it greatly depends on the kind of job you are doing. If it requires more stressful, strenuous physical or mental activities, it is better to wait until you feel comfortable. Other activities like lifting heavy weights, walking long distances, and similar activities that can cause Vata dosha predominance and dhatu kshaya (diminution of body tissues) must be avoided.
Many people experience lethargy and body pain for considerable days after covid. Regular hot water baths with essential oils can certainly help in reducing body aches and freshen up the mind. Essential oils of therapeutic herbs help ease anxiety. Abhyanga (Ayurveda body massage) with suitable oil before bath can reduce muscle tension and body pain to a great extent.
If persistent dry cough, sore throat, etc. are disturbing, saline gargle three times a day can help. Triphala can also be added in warm water and used for gargling in cases of sore throat. Steam inhalation with Tulsi (holy basil) leaves and a piece of raw turmeric helps expel accumulated phlegm and clears the respiratory pathway.
This recovery phase can also be taken as an ideal period to quit some unhealthy habits. Refrain from using alcohol and quit smoking habits. Divert your mind by doing something productive. Indulge in your favorite hobbies every day and spend time with your family and friends. Reduce screen exposure and consider it as a digital detoxification period.
Maintaining a positive attitude throughout and understanding how your body is reacting to the changes can remarkably influence the recovery rate. Unique Rasayana preparations are mentioned in Ayurveda to rejuvenate your body after a troublesome affliction. Appropriate use of herbs and preparations like Rasayana with proper advice from an experienced Ayurveda practitioner can aid faster recovery.
There could be several hurdles on the path of recovery. But with the correct Ayurveda approach, your recovery journey becomes an incredibly remarkable experience where you learn to understand your body better and its amazing healing powers.