Importance Of Digestion For Boosting Immunity In Ayurveda

Boosting Immunity Through Ayurveda is a three part series that will talk about immunity, health, food and boosting ourselves to the best shape physically and mentally through the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda. Read PART 1 here.

Importance of Digestion for Immunity

The science of Ayurveda declares that optimum digestion is our best ally in building our immunity because Oja is the essence of our digested food. The ultimate, ultra refined, finale of a healthy digestion is Oja.


If we want to build a healthy immunity we should not merely blindly swallow pills and supplements but actually take stock of what we are eating in our daily diet, and then survey how we are digesting, adequately or not; and further, eliminating what we have eaten, or not.

[expert_opinion expertname=’ToddCaldecott’ opinion=”Most the body’s immune system lies aggregated along the intestinal wall where it interacts with all the microbes that live in our gut. In this way, a proper diet and good digestion supports immune health by promoting a healthy gut microbiome.”]


Digestion Vs Food

This is because Oja is not a direct reflection of what we eat, but rather of that which we manage to digest, and unfortunately also of that, which we fail to digest! When food is digested well, with maximum efficiency and minimum toxic side products then the quality of Oja produced is also of a higher standard.

If the food that we eat is laced with toxins, additives, colors, fillers, chemicals and pesticides and the food is overly processed and on top of that genetically altered, our Oja is also affected.


The Ayurvedic path of healing and reclaiming lost immunity begins with restoring normal digestion. This is accomplished by first establishing a digestion-friendly daily routine and eating protocol.

Ayurvedic Recommendations For A Healthy Digestion

• Discard one size fits all diet recommendation and adapt customized diet solutions that complement your unique Ayurveda mind-body type which can be assessed by taking self-help quiz’s in Ayurveda books or paying a visit to an Ayurvedic consultant.


• Incorporate in your meals six tastes – sweet, salty, sour, astringent, bitter and pungent that help keep the digestive process regulated. Of course, the proportion of intake of the different tastes depends on your unique body-mind type.

• As far as possible, eat cooked foods especially if your digestive activity is lethargic and lifestyle sedentary. Cooked foods are easier to digest and transform into Oja quicker than raw foods that are often hard to break down


• Meals should be eaten while still warm or even hot, as the heat in the food will ignite the digestive fire and indirectly promote digestion.

• Ayurveda recommends adding at least some fat to meals (such as ghee or clarified butter or natural oil). Fats promote secretion of digestive juices. Fats also invariably nourish all seven bodily tissues and increase the strength (Bala) and immunity (Ojas) of the body.


• Each meal should be consumed, only after the previous meal is completely digested. Give four to six hours between meals. Snacking confuses or over taxes the digestive process. Lunch should be the biggest meal of the day. Evening meals should preferably be taken before sunset or soon thereafter.

Skipping meals, erratic meal times and taking meals late at night and immediately going to bed produces indigestion, gaseous distention, hyperacidity and disturbed sleep. Give 2-3 hours after the evening meal before going to bed.


• Typically one-fourth of the stomach should be filled with solid food, one-fourth with semi-solids, one-fourth by water and one fourth should be kept completely empty for air so that digestion can take place appropriately.

• Food should be chewed slowly, each bite of food slowly and mindfully masticated. This slowing down will prevent overeating that occurs when we eat too fast. Ayurveda cautions against eating when we are emotionally unsettled and recommends approaching food with respectful attention and positive expectation.

[expert_opinion expertname=’ToddCaldecott’ opinion=”Healthy immunity is intimately connected to sleep and the function of the nervous system, which is why people are more susceptible to infectious diseases when they are tired and stressed.”]

Herbs For Digestion

Special herbs that first and foremost restore the digestive fire, and thereby, ensure their own digestion and transformation first within the body, may also be recommended.

Some of the popular and time-tested digestion restoring herbs are garlic, fresh ginger, Cyperus rotundus (Musta), Mesua ferrea (Nagkesaar), Zingiber officinale (Shunthi), Plumbago zeylanica (Chitrak), Tinospora cordifolia (Guduchi), and Swertia chirata (Kiratikta).

Oja Enhancing Beneficial Diet

Cereals Rice, Wheat, Barley, Pearl Millet, Red rice, Finger Millet or African Millet
Pulses Green gram (Mung dal), Bengal gram (Chana dal), Red lentil (Masoor dal) Red gram or Pigeon pea (Tuar dal)
Meat Deer, Goat, common Quail, Partridge, Pigeon, Carp family (Rohu), Cock, White Swan
Vegetables Chinese melons or Bottle gourd (Dudhi), Horse Radish, Snake-gourd, China spinach, Eggplant, Lemons, Fresh ginger
Fruit Indian Gooseberry (Amalaki), Black grapes, Mango, Papaya, Pomegranate, Dates, Figs
Dry Fruit Almond, Walnut, Coconut
Milk Buffalo’s, Cow’s and Goat’s milk, Ghee or clarified butter from cow’s milk, Buttermilk
Water Pure fresh water
Salt Rock salt
Oil Sesame oil, Coconut oil.
Sweeteners Honey, Sugarcane juice, Old Jaggery.
Spices Ginger, Asafetida, Garlic, Coriander, Cardamom, Cumin seeds.