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Certified N.I.C.E. practitioner Sanyukta Sanganeria gives diet advice to boost your immunity against influenza-like illnesses

by Aiden

Vitamin C the day with these foods!

With flu season coming up, and with the devastation that respiratory illnesses can wreak forefront on everyone’s minds right now, I was curious to know what advice Sanyukta Sanganeria could give me after her certification early this year as a practitioner in the Network of Influenza Care Experts (N.I.C.E.). Born in India but brought up in Thailand, Sanyukta relays how it was only after a trip to India last year that she came across a video by Dr. Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury on COVID-19, and it led her to finding his older videos on how to reverse any lifestyle-related diseases through diet. “I started his Disciplined Important Person (DIP) diet, and within a few months, I was able to taper down my thyroid medication that I’d been taking for 15 years,” she recalls. “By September, I’d completely given it up, and it’s been almost a year that I haven’t taken it, and I’m absolutely fine!”

It’s clear that Sanyukta is both enthused and passionate about the role that diet can play in boosting our immunity, and that passion has led her to pursuing Dr. Biswaroop’s online course on Influenza-Like-Illnesses (ILIs) so that she, too, could help others support their bodies’ natural defences against disease and infection. “It all comes down to a simple lifestyle change,” she tells me. Having cured, according to their records, over 60,000 people manifesting flu-like symptoms purely through diet and lifestyle changes, the N.I.C.E. centre continues to treat countless others without medication. Sanyukta tells Masala all about it.

What does being a certified N.I.C.E. practitioner involve?

In the middle of India’s biggest wave of COVID, Dr. Biswaroop was asking for volunteers to help him build a team to counsel people with flu-like symptoms, in which COVID-19 is part of the package. If you presented with these symptoms you could call the centre and they’ll put you in touch with a N.I.C.E. volunteer, who will walk you through the right diet to resolve your symptoms. We prescribe zero medication; no paracetamol, none of the medication being used to treat COVID. We’ve even treated people whose oxygen has gone below 50 at home, no oxygen or ventilation required.

After I passed my ILI course, I immediately joined Dr. Biswaroop’s N.I.C.E. team where I started getting patient referrals. It’s very professional – we get sent a history of the patient, I give the patient diet and lifestyle advice until all their symptoms are resolved, then I fill in a form that they’re well, and I send it back to the centre. Everything is documented, a testimony is taken from the patient, and everyone’s happy.

What has your experience been over the last year? Can you walk us through what you’ve learned about COVID-19 during this time, specifically from your point of view as a specialist in influenza- like-illnesses?

Pre-2019, when you had the sniffles, and you went to the doctor, did they prescribe you anything? Mostly they say, it’s just a cold virus, go home, and you’ll be fine in five days. As long as we keep our immunity up, then we can help our body fight all sorts of viral pathogens. Our body is the smartest machine in the planet. It has an army of cells wanting to do its bidding, provided that we give it the ammunition.

My very first patient was a patient who had just spent 10 days in the hospital and she was on oxygen, and because her husband was referred to Dr. Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury, she signed up, and I was assigned her case. Her oxygen level was at 90, and her report showed that she was COVID-19 positive with pneumonia, but within three days, her oxygen was back up to 96.

Partly it was our diet, as well as other advice we give, including prone positioning when you’re sleeping – that is, sleeping on your stomach. When you lie on your back, you’re actually compressing your lungs. The moment you flip over, you’re allowing your lungs to expand. We require them to lie on their stomach and even though it’s uncomfortable, it’s better than having to be put on the ventilator, where the odds of coming out of it are very low. To further boost your oxygen levels, I’d also recommend getting yourself a portable fan, placing it in front of your nose, leaning forward, and breathing deeply to help increase your daily oxygen intake.

By boosting your immunity and oxygen intake, your symptoms never have a chance to develop further, which is why we tell people to start with our diet the moment they get symptoms. Once the virus reaches your lungs, there may be the possibility of complications, but it can still be treatable if you boost your immunity in the ways that you need.

Flu season is coming up – what can you tell us about your diet-only cure to anyone with flu-like symptoms?

It’s a three-step, three-day flu diet for anyone that is manifesting flu- like symptoms – a sore throat, a cold, etc. It mostly consists of coconut and orange juice, in a certain quantity according to your body weight. Oranges, because it’s your source of Vitamin-C, and coconut water because that’s your source of nutrition and minerals, and it’ll keep you hydrated and your electrolytes balanced. 90 percent of people have seen their symptoms resolve themselves within three to five days.

It’s a massive dose of Vitamin C, around six grams, and the amount you take is all calculated according to a specific formula. So for example, if the person weighs 60 kilos, on their first day, they will have six glasses of freshly-squeezed orange juice, and six glasses of coconut water. Each glass should be around 400ml, and you need to drink all 12 glasses over the course of a 12-hour waking period. The next day, you halve that dose and add tomatoes and cucumbers only. The third day again, you further halve that dose, add tomatoes and cucumbers again according to this carefully-calculated formula, and then at night, you’re ready to have a home-cooked vegetarian meal.

I wish it was more complicated, because it’s so simple that people do not take it seriously! But I cannot tell you how effective it is. Even if you have a fever, keep at it. On this diet, your fever shouldn’t go over 101 degrees.

What are some common misconceptions about COVID-19 that you believe it’s important to address?

Contagious and deadly are not the same thing. Being contagious does not automatically mean death by COVID, so people should not immediately panic. If you all rush to the hospital at the same time, the system gets overwhelmed, and there will be gaps that can’t be addressed. It’s like if there are 50 people in the room, and there are only two toilets, not everyone can make it to the toilets in time! [Laughs] The fearmongering is a big issue, often leading to depression and even suicides that have ensued from the pandemic.

For those that aren’t manifesting symptoms, what should we incorporate into our daily diet and lifestyle to boost our immunity?

For those that aren’t sick, take 0.2g of Vitamin C every day in your diet, through food. Don’t take supplements – stay as pure to your source as possible. So for example, I’ll have a shot of gooseberry every morning. Vitamin D is also very important – you need to have 20-30 minutes of exposure to the sun every day to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. You have no idea how important the sun is for immunity building. If you’re unable to go out right now because of restrictions, go to your balcony, have your daily cup of chai there, do your yoga there; as long as you are exposed to the sun every day.

Follow a healthy lifestyle – do your pranayamas which strengthen your lungs, and follow a diet free of processed and packaged food and I’m sorry to say, free of animal protein. And make sure to add coconut water to your everyday diet – it’s the best thing! Another tip I’d recommend is ginger therapy, where you consume ginger through your nose and your mouth to alkalise your nasal and throat passages. For more information on this, visit

I would recommend against taking paracetamol for every little ailment – all it does is address the symptoms without curing you. When you have a fever, your body is raising its temperature to fight the invaders. Paracetamol will be tying its hand behind its back. Within an hour or two, your fever will break and you’ll sweat it out.

What is the most important advice you would like to give people regarding COVID-19 and other influenza-like illnesses?

Immunity starts from your mind. If you scare yourself, studies have shown that stress can affect your immunity greatly. The most important thing is don’t panic. You can sign up to be assigned a N.I.C.E. practitioner, and they will walk you through the right steps to take to give your immune system the ammunition it needs

Masala is not associated with Dr. Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury, so some of the information relayed here may not reflect Masala’s views. To find out more, visit

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