How are you holding up? It’s been a crazy few weeks. Very difficult for some. Confusing, frightening and downright strange for most of us. The fear, uncertainty and conflicting information being circulated have caused anxiety in just about everyone. My heart goes out to you if you or a loved one are suffering from coronavirus, sending you healing thoughts and love.
In light of these incredibly unprecedented times while we are staying home, trying to stay healthy, flatten the curve, keep coronavirus from attacking us and from spreading, it is more critical than ever that you strengthen your immune system as much as possible.
It’s surreal. Normal life is on hold which feels strange an uneasy. I think everyone is experiencing a myriad of feelings and emotions over this, I know I am. It’s completely normal and we need to give ourselves space and grace.
Social distancing and isolation is uncomfortable and inconvenient but important for public health. It’s devastating how many are fighting for their lives, how many have lost their lives and the number of people who may face financial ruin.
A weak immune system decreases the body’s ability to fight off foreign bacteria, viruses, and other illnesses. Panic and fear suppress the immune system too. Here are 5 powerful things you can do that bolster your immune system.
That being said, for those who are suffering from coronavirus, treating the immune system depends on the potential cytokine storm. This is the case with other illnesses as well. Dr. Marc Milstein offers helpful insights in his video: Why Some Get Very Sick with COVID-19 and Insights Into New Treatments. You’ll find more information on cytokine storms in this study: Consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression.
Gut health We know that proper nutrition boosts your immune system in a huge way. Food really is medicine but the wrong foods break down your immune system and threaten your health. The foods we eat have a huge impact on how well our immune system functions.
Our diet is a major component of hormone function, energy levels, of course, weight and digestive health, but also on our mental state, brain health and more.
I coach certain clients through a nutrition program that helps them achieve optimal health but some of the basic tenents to follow: eat whole non-GMO, low glycemic foods, avoid processed foods, get at least 5 servings of produce each day, pile your plate with foods, known to boost your immune system including:
⦿ Citrus fruits ⦿ Broccoli ⦿ Wild caught salmon ⦿ Garlic ⦿ Ginger
⦿ Almonds ⦿ Berries ⦿ Sweet potatoes ⦿ Tumeric ⦿ Green tea
⦿ Pomegranates ⦿ Papaya ⦿ Sunflower seeds ⦿ Miso ⦿ Green veggies
“All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates
Chew on this: The digestion process starts in our saliva. Amylase, an enzyme in saliva helps to begin breaking down starch into simple sugars. Aim to chew each bite 20 times. This will get the digestive juices flowing and make you a more mindful eater.
My latest favorite green tea, by the way, is Pique Tea. They offer a wide variety of delicious teas with powerful plant polyphenols to build up your body’s defense during this critical time including green tea. They’ll deliver right to your door, no need to brave the germ laden grocery store. I’m sipping Earl Grey as I write this!
Sleep This is absolutely essential for your immune system. Along with making us look like crap, sleep deprivation is linked to more health problems than just about anything, including a weakened immune system.
Sleep scientist Matt Walker calls sleep ‘the most powerful elixir of life’ that is critical in order for our immune system to protect us. After only one night of 4 hours of sleep, we experience a 70% reduction in immune cells known as Natural Killer Cells, a type of white blood cell that is a key player in combating viruses and infections, and crucial for disease protection and detection, including cancer.
Hydration What are the two things you every doctor says to do when you’re sick? Drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest. Listen to your grandmother and drink that water. You’ve got to flush those germs out.
70% of Americans are subclinically dehydrated. This is something I have clients track. Oftentimes they’ll tell me they drink a lot of water but then when they keep track they’re surprised at just how little water there actually taking in each day. Ahh the power of tracking and journaling.
Drinking enough water flushes out your G.I. tract and aids the function of your immune-fighting lymphatic cells. It also helps remove toxins from the body.
Water oxygenates your blood. When you are even mildly dehydrated, your body pulls water from the skin’s tissue to maintain concentration in your blood. When we’re fighting infection, our body’s fluid needs increase.
Start your day with a detoxifying drink of warm lemon water. A cup of warm water with the juice of 1 organic lemon helps flush the kidneys, aids digestion, boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation, balances pH levels and the acidity stimulates your liver to produce acids that help detox the body… how about all those benefits without much work?! Oh and you’ll also get a nice dose of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin B and C and other antioxidants.
Extra credit if you add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, It also creates an alkaline environment that helps kill viruses and bacteria. That’s what I drink every morning before my coffee. Drink about half your weight in water each day. A bit more if you are ill.
I’ve been teaching clients, students in my workshops and in my online programs to drink warm lemon water every morning for years now. According to Mr. Healthy, Professor Chen Horin, CEO, Beijing Military Hospital, warm lemon water aids against proliferation of coronavirus. He says the acid and carboxylic acid in lemon help protect narrowing arteries and regulate hypertension which is a risk factor for coronavirus, stroke and other problems. He advises putting three slices of lemon in a cup of warm water which turns it into alkaline water.
If you are one of those people who just do not like the taste of water and it’s a true hardship forcing it down, try Hint Water.
Detoxification Environmental toxins impair your immune system. Detoxing your home, beauty and personal care routine is not just about being an eco freako earth loving hippie chick. No, this is vital for your health. I’m not messing around when I talk about this. Toxins have a very negative impact that suppresses your immune system. Using clean beauty and non toxic household products is vital for your overall health.
Get your home detoxified. Make it easy on yourself by registering for my easy to follow Home Detox Masterclass. You’ll learn how to create a healthier, less toxic environment inside your home which will benefit your immune system big time. In light of what’s going on right now I am keeping my Home Detox Masterclass at the introductory price for the time being. I can also help you reduce your body’s toxic burden with an Eco Wellness Power Hour. Book yours here.
Manage Stress Our adrenal glands pump out excess cortisol when we’re under stress which weakens the immunity in the lining of the gut. To say this COVID-19 pandemic is causing stress and anxiety is an understatement. We must manage that stress and anxiety for our well-being.
Exercise It’s vital for your immune system and since we all are homebound with a lot of our responsibilities taken off our plate the number one excuse for not exercising: ‘not enough time’ is not going to fly anymore unless you are someone who is now working from home while also homeschooling young children. In that case, you need stress relief more than ever. Walk, jog, do yoga, lift free weights in your home, log onto one of the many online workouts that are now popping up.
Yoga Since your gym and yoga studios are closed, online workouts are our solution! Keeping up with your workouts will keep you sane and boost your immune system. Yoga is a stress reducer and a great workout. Try Yoga Download or even Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube.
Sleep, rest and relaxation
Getting out in nature Can’t go anywhere else now anyway. Take a walk and a few times a day, step out on your balcony, yard or front door and take a few deep cleansing breaths.
Meditation, Mindfulness & Gratitude There are wonderful meditation resources like Barbara Savin that can help you create a meditation practice. I had the extreme pleasure of speaking with her at Conejo Collective Day Of Wellness last year. She ended her talk with a short guided grounding meditation that was transformative, everyone was talking about how wonderful it was.
If you’re new to meditation, you don’t need to get fancy, just take a few minutes or even one minute several times a day to breathe while focusing on something you are grateful for. Gratitude is a potent stress reliever.
What you focus on expands. What you resist persists. Focus on thoughts of health and wellness. What do you think will happen generally does happen.
“Stress is a response to stimulation that makes you feel threatened and not always provoked by real circumstances, Rather a perception that you are being attacked.” ~Dr. Mark Hyman
There are many others things you can also do for your immune system that I help clients with but these are a few of my top recommendations that you can implement right now. They aren’t difficult, they are free or very low cost and they will make a difference. A strong immune system is your best defense during this crisis.
I don’t use that word lightly. I am not an alarmist and I truly believe that staying calm and levelheaded will get us through this but it is a crisis. It’s a serious situation, however, worrying about what we can’t control will only deteriorate our mental and physical well-being and exacerbate anxiety and stress.
As with every aspect of health and life in general, I always say control what you can, give yourself grace and release worry about what you cannot control. Can you 100% control your immune system? No, but you absolutely can implement these methods to give yourself a leg up.
With all that immune boosting goodness being said, please don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been eating too much comfort food, having a few to too many glasses of wine, not getting off the couch often enough, scrolling social media endlessly… These first few weeks were weird and scary. I think we all have to just give ourselves a little bit of grace, right? Your world has been turned upside down and your schedule is likely completely thrown off. Give yourself a break but that now we’re a few weeks in, good idea to get into a healthy routine – your new hopefully very temporary normal.
A word about personal Hygiene. I wrote about handwashing years ago in the first article that I wrote on tips for preventing cold and flu and easing symptoms. One of my tips was handwashing and as I stated in that article, I attribute diligent handwashing to rarely getting sick (thank you, Lord!). It’s amazing how handwashing is now at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It should always be a priority.
Certain germs threaten your immune system and others can lead to serious illness as we are now witnessing across the globe. I was a major hand wash it before all of this and even I am over the number of times I am at the sink sudsing up! However, we must wash the germs off your hands, especially before you eat, wash or touch your face and prepare food and always after you are out in common areas.
When it comes to supplements, check with your physician
There are impressive supplements that also boost the immune system like probiotics, vitamin D3 with K, astragalus, vitamin C, zinc, oregano oil, Echinacea, and more but you must check with your healthcare practitioner. Particularly with the coronavirus, scientists are finding that certain substances in medications exacerbate symptoms. And please keep in mind some supplements are not healthy on a long-term basis like echinacea and others so you must do your research and find a good physician. I like Western doctors that are integrative and homeopathic as well.
Spread Love Not germs
Know what else reduces stress? Love and gratitude. Spread loving kindness and treat with others and yourself with care.
Be gentle on yourself and as I told my kids, let’s just take it one day at a time and look for the silver linings. I shared some of mine here that will help ease your anxiety.
We are all in this together, we need to stick together, be there for one another and comply to save lives. It’s OK to be scared and to dislike the situation. This isn’t the norm for humans, it’s lonely. We are meant to be together and experience human touch. I still can’t believe it’s happening.
I’ll say it again because it’s an important concept to understand – – – – what we focus on expands. Focus on love, healing & positivity? Send those vibes out into the world to change the trajectory. It will make a difference in what’s going on in the world, within yourself. and your beloved immune system.
Health isn’t just what you’re eating. It’s what you’re thinking, what you’re doing and what you’re saying.
Want help implementing some of these habits and learn more self-care tips that will help alleviate your anxiety during these uncertain times?
Register for my FREE Savvy Girl’s Virtual Self-Care Retreat starting on World Health Day, April 7th. As soon as you sign up, you’ll also get my complimentary Home Detox checklist delivered right to your inbox.
Stay safe, stay well and let’s all do our part to stop the spread of COVID – 19.