Now that the coronavirus is in the United States and the cold season is still in full swing, having a strong immune system is more vital than ever. There’s a lot of fear quickly spreading around the world at present, and it can be hard not to get pulled into the hysteria right now. It’s important to not give in to the panic because stress lowers your immunity.
Be prepared and educate yourself.
The main thing we all need to focus on is boosting our immune system, especially if you are over the age of 50 and have underlying health conditions such as diabetes. Your health must be your primary focus as you prepare to make your immune system as strong as possible. You don’t go into the battle with a weak army of already diminished gut health. Restoring your gut health will give your immunity the strongest armor it needs to recover from any viruses or bacteria.
How to boost your immune system.
A diet high in refined carbs, added sugars or artificial substitutes make it harder for your immune system to do its job. "Processed foods attack the good bacteria in your gut, leaving room for bad bacteria to come in, and weakening your intestinal immune system," explains Dr. Ferro.
Hippocrates famously said, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” and we agree. By eating nourishing foods, rich in all the essential nutrients for boosting immunity, our bodies can develop the tools they need to ward off sickness. Turmeric-based recipes and aloe vera are great to use for warding off disease. We also love this Immunity-Boosting Soup as a healthy dose of superfoods and tonic herbs for the whole family to enjoy!
Tips you can do at home:
1. Eat a Diverse Variety of Foods
In 2019, 75% of the world's food supply came from only 12 types of plants and five animal species. The food you eat provides nutrients that help beneficial bacteria grow, and if you are only eating chicken and potatoes, you have very limited diversity within your gut flora. A diet rich in whole foods provides your gut with a variety of nutrients that help promote the growth of different types of bacteria, resulting in more diverse gut flora.
2. Add More Prebiotics Into Your Diet
Prebiotics are a variety of fiber that goes through the gut undigested and promotes the activity of friendly gut bacteria. Many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, naturally contain prebiotic fiber.
3. Move More
Just because we are participating in social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t leave the house for a nice long walk. If you are in an area where going on a walk isn’t an option you can try some at-home workout videos. Recent studies suggest that physical activity may also improve your gut bacteria. Higher activity levels have been associated with a greater abundance of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that's important for overall health, and other important gut bacteria. This will also help prevent you from feeling stressed from cabin fever and promote better sleep quality!
4. Get More Sleep
Our gut follows a daily circadian-like rhythm. Disrupting our body-clock with lack of sleep, shift work, or eating late at night can be harmful to our gut bacteria. Two days of sleep deprivation can cause small but impactful changes to gut flora while increasing the abundance of bacteria associated with weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and fat metabolism.
5. Consume More Probiotics
Probiotics can increase the abundance of healthy gut bacteria. When the gut becomes unbalanced with unhealthy levels of certain bacteria, probiotics can help restore the balance. They've been shown to secrete protective substances, which may turn on the immune system and prevent pathogens from taking hold, thus creating major diseases. We can get more probiotics through supplements or fermented foods such as live cultured yogurt or kombucha.
6. Eat Slowly
Eating fast, swallowing air, not chewing food well are all things that can cause acid reflux, gas, indigestion, IBS, heartburn, constipation, and bloating. If someone experiences these symptoms, they should try to slow down and focus on enjoying the taste and texture of the amazing whole foods that they're eating. Eating should be a relaxing and enjoyable moment in the day.
7. Eat More Raw
The naturally occurring enzymes in raw fruits and vegetables aid in the digestive process, helping breakdown cooked foods. We understand that not all fresh veggies may be available in your grocery stores, but do your best to choose from what’s available to you, such as adding frozen raw veggies to a smoothie. For a more in-depth game plan on how to make these choices, click here!
8. Practice mindful meditations.
Bringing calm to your inner environment in a time of panic and fear is a critical strategy. The easiest way to do this is to regularly practice deep diaphragmatic breathing and extend the exhalation of your breath. This is a scientifically verified practice that will help calm your nervous system and bring peace and calm to your mind and body. Keep reading for more advice on reducing overall anxiety around the outbreak. Pleasant aromas like diffusing essential oils can also ease stress and promote relaxation.
At the end of the day, it’s all about taking caution, planning carefully, acting responsibly, and looking after yourself to best protect from the virus!