I admit, I don’t spend much time reading through the news, mostly because it’s just not helpful lately. There’s a really strong focus on the number of people with COVID-19 or arguments for or against opening states back up. There are articles on how to wash your hands, your fruits and veggies, your face and your masks to reduce the chance of getting COVID-19. There are plenty of simplistic statements debunking “natural” immune boosting remedies as being “cures” or keeping you from catching COVID-19, but they all seem to be missing a big opportunity. The big opportunity is talking about how to improve your overall health so that if you do catch this virus, you’ll be in a much better position to fight it.
It’s time to slay the news media fear monsters and start to look more closely at what you can control, starting with foundational health.
The CDC has reported that over 70% of the people that are hospitalized due to COVID-19 have preexisting health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The wonderful thing about this and these conditions are managed and even reversed through diet and lifestyle changes.
Think about it, you have the power to create optimum health starting today! You can fortify your immune system giving your body the best chance to survive and even thrive starting right now.
You know what? I, personally, would much rather live from a place of empowerment than fear of catching something. I’m not saying that I’ll throw caution out the window of my moving car. But I’m also not going to let fear lead my way, or worse, trap me at home. I’m also not suggesting you throw out caution if you’re immunocompromised for goodness sake.
What I am saying is that if you aren’t already doing some of these very foundational things for your health then you’re in luck! These are so easy to do and they’ll give you a great immune boost.
I don’t mean hydrating with wine or beer or coffee. I’m referring to water my friends. Good ol’ filtered water!
Did you know that your body operates optimally if you drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water? So if you’re 120 pounds, 60 ounces of water is what you should be aiming for. You might add a bit more if you are drinking caffeine or alcohol or exercising/sweating a lot. Pay attention to your body on this one. Don’t wait til you feel thirsty to start sipping or chugging water.
Eat Lots of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
Eating the rainbow isn’t just a fun way to think about food, it’s also key to getting plenty of antioxidants to help fight free radicals. Fruits and Veggies also have fiber that feeds good gut bacteria to keep your gut microbiome balanced. Since 70% of your immune system is in the gut, this is a big step.
When you pick fruit though, be sure to select low glycemic fruits like berries so you keep your blood sugar from spiking.
As always, I am a huge proponent of eating organic and whole foods as much as possible to limit the amount of toxins I ingest. If you can’t go entirely organic and whole food, try to only eat conventionally grown foods that are on the Environmental Working Group Clean 15 list and foods that have ingredients that you would use yourself if you were making it from scratch.
Getting Sound Sleep
This is such a challenge for some of my clients who are prone to reading the news or work emails in bed right before turning off the light. This is not the way to lull your over-tired brain and body to sleep!
Instead, create a bedtime routine that supports your sleep. Quit screen time 1 to 2 hours before bed. If you like to read in bed like I do, either read a paper book or an unlit kindle and consider using bluelight blocking glasses. This will help your body’s natural melatonin levels to increase normally so you’re ready to sleep when you turn out the light. When you pick something to read, make sure it’s nothing too exciting!
Other sleep hacks include using a sleep mask if you have any light pollution in your bedroom from glowing clocks or lights outside. I also use ear plugs at night so my sweet husband’s snoring doesn’t wake me up as easily. Total darkness and quiet are key to staying asleep.
You might also take Magnesium before bed. There’s a tendency to be low in this because mineral depletion in soils is prevalent now even with organic farms. You can get tested to see if your levels are low or listen to your body for signs like leg and feet cramping which tend to be from magnesium deficiency.
Movement will help improve blood flow and get your lymphatic system moving. Both of these are needed for optimum detoxing. Simple movement like walking, yoga, gardening or even cleaning can help. Laying around on the couch for hours binge watching netflix – not so much.
If you sweat, then that’s even better! Sweating is one of the best ways to detox your body. Just be sure to wipe the sweat off as soon as you can so it’s not reabsorbed.
If you get outdoors and into nature this can be a bonus. Research shows that even just viewing nature can help turn on your parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system. Another plus is more oxygen – indoor air is higher in CO2 than outside air which can lead to fatigue and headaches.
Eliminate Food That Makes You Feel Bad
Eating foods that you’re sensitive or allergic to increases your overall inflammation and reduces your immune system function. Many of the common allergens like Gluten and Dairy can also impair your gut health.
If you experience any obvious symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue and skin reactions then consider doing a basic elimination diet to hone in on the culprits. Basic elimination diet includes eliminating gluten, dairy, eggs, nightshades, nuts and sugar for three weeks then introducing these one at a time in three day increments. Find any reactions? Then consider ditching that food for now. You’ll feel so much better!
By following these basic foundational principles of health, you start to improve your immune system so that you can be in a better position to fight any virus. That’s what we all want ultimately right?
Not ready to try all of these at once? Pick the one thing that speaks to you the most. Is drinking water really popping out at you? Maybe it’s getting more movement into your day? Whatever you decide, start there and then try adding one more each day or each week. Let me know how it goes!
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