You are afraid. You are overwhelmed. And most of all, you are not sure how to protect yourself and your family against this ferocious virus that is infecting millions of people worldwide.
Job insecurity, earning less or not at all while we were quarantined, and the fear we will be ordered to stay home again and again all raise the amount of stress to unbearable levels. What has happened to our life?
Everyone around the world has been affected directly or indirectly by the coronavirus. You are truly not alone. What we must do now is implement effective and practical solutions to remain healthy, sane, and calm.
One of the first thing we all need to do is tune much less to the news media. Let’s face it, the news media is for profit business. Fear drives millions of people right into their online news and journals. The more afraid we are, the more we need to know. As we spend more time trying to figure out what is going on and what we should do or not do, the more money they make from advertisements. To make sure that we come back over and over again, every news detail is hyped into a catastrophe. The constant noise adds more chaos to our already overwhelmed world. Fear also pushes us into dark places that become more difficult to climb out of. It is hard to know what to do.
Stress and fear weaken the immune system and deplete our energy tank. We certainly need to know what is going on around us which means we do need to dive quickly into the news and quickly out.
Human beings have marvelous bodies and minds that can overcome, adapt, and thrive given the right information and tools. We can learn how to develop better habits that strengthen our immune system and rise above the overwhelming chatter of the world around us. Let us start by taking a deep breath in and slowly releasing it out. Yes, it is the perfect time to take control over your life.
How do we boost your immune system and maintain a steady health? Let us begin with the basics. Hygiene, the clean state of our homes and bodies is important at all times, not only when we are afraid of getting a virus infection like the coronavirus, but as a normal state of being. Cleanliness in our homes is calming. Although it is difficult to maintain an organized and clean home when we are quarantined, getting every member of the family involved can be rewarding. Notice how much better you feel after a nice hot shower or the relaxed feeling that comes upon you when the house gets clean. A calm state of mind is generated by the state of cleanliness and organization of our home.
Wash your hands frequently with biodegradable soap or disinfect with alcohol. Hand Hygiene is not new, the World Health Organization created a 31 page guideline on the topic of hand hygiene back in 2005 to lessen infection rates in hospitals and clinics (WHO.org). Wash your hands as soon as you arrive home, your office, or a friend’s home. Teach your children to wash their hands as well, and as a family, wash your hands before every meal. Hand washing is a necessary habit to develop and use at all times.
If you are taking care of a family member who is ill, you can disinfect contaminated places like bathrooms or kitchen counters with a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach in a cup of water (NutritionFacts.org). Do not overdo with the bleach and keep windows open as you clean.
Americans are known for their need to disinfect kitchens, bathrooms, and underarms. Unfortunately, most cleaning products are loaded with chemicals and perfumes. Using these chemically laden products adds a great burden on your body. These toxins must be processed and eliminated which is taxing on every organ and system including the immune system. Use toxic-free and environmentally friendly products to reduce the toxic load in your home and your body.
It is important to safeguard a healthy immune system. You can request or download my approved list of products for beauty, body, and home at the library of BioImmersion. Learn more what ingredients are safe and healthy at the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Your home can become a calm oasis when it is cleaned with clean products.
Remove your shoes next to the entrance of your home and change into designated house shoes or slides. Air out your home frequently. Open all windows and allow a cross breeze to refresh your home. Remember, cleanliness with toxic-free products helps your immune system by not having to continually process and eliminate chemicals. Your body will be able to adapt much quicker and handle oncoming stressors, like widespread pandemics, or the small disasters your kids create so skillfully.
Everyone around the world is eating at home and mostly preparing their own meals. Such good news. But what exactly are we eating? We are all engaged with some form of stress binging from time to time. But due to the coronavirus required quarantine, eating sugar and starchy foods has gone up drastically and that is not good news. Already 65% of Americans suffer with one to three chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and others. Eating too much sugary foods adds unnecessary weight and exacerbate chronic conditions. Food can either calm or over stress your body. Eating too much of the wrong foods creates an inflammatory state which then evolves into a chronic ill health. Read again my articles on Preventing and Reversing Chronic Diseases (Longevity).
Chronic diseases worsen the severity of any infection including the coronavirus. Develop healthy eating principles. Commit to organic or eco-farmed foods, with 80% whole foods plant-based diet, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, seeds, and nuts. Have around 20% animal-based foods such as hard cheeses, eggs (limit to 4-5 a week or possibly no eggs if you have high cholesterol), and fish. For those of you who are low in iron, add a little organic beef. It is vitally important that all your animal products come from organic and grass-fed sources. Many scientists and health care practitioners would like to abolish factory farmed animals and encourage sustainable, ecologically raised animal farming practices. It is within our power as consumers to bring this healthy change in the food supply system worldwide by purchasing organic and sustainably grown foods.
Foods that are nurturing support our health so when we do get a cold or flu our immune system can handle the infectious organism with more ease. It may feel terrible for a few days, but our body knows how to get rid of infections and gain back its own equilibrium. On the other hand, if we eat too much sugar, starchy foods, fats that are not healthy – our body is overburdened. Make sure that as you bring in better and better whole foods into your diet, you also cut and eliminate harmful foods. It is one thing to indulge in ice cream (organic) on a hot summer day once in a while, but it is another matter to have it a few times a week.
Nutritional supplements can add a great boost to your immune system and are shown in research to perform important functions in the body. Choosing the right supplements can be confusing. Supplement companies are also for-profit businesses and in fact most of them are owned by huge corporations that pay great attention to their own profit margins.
Worse, the supplement industry is full of promises and marketing propaganda. Using high quality nutrients is expensive and formulating excellent supplements requires years of research and understanding of raw materials. Stay far from the hype. Finding a company that actually cares deeply about your health is daunting, but it is not impossible.
As result of many requests from doctors whom my company formulates and manufactures supplements for, we are writing a PDF on the Most Important Factors You Must Know Before Choosing a Supplement Line. Email me to request it and when it comes out, I will be glad to share the PDF (email@example.com).
Nutritional supplements alongside healthy dietary habits, exercise and stress management have shown in research to add much needed vitality to our health. Every one of our body’s cells regenerates itself every few months. This means that our whole body becomes new, but unfortunately, not necessarily for the better. We can eat bad foods and no matter how much we exercise or take supplements; our bodies will not get what it needs. On the other hand, good foods and the right supplements can feed our body with the nutrients it needs. That is truly good news.
Minerals, vitamins, herbs, probiotics and other nutrients can play an essential part in building a sound health. More than ever, many people are nutrient deficient. Scientists equate the onset of monoculture farming and the use of pesticides and herbicides with the lack of nutrients in the soil. We need to advocate for more eco-farming methods worldwide, and in the meanwhile, we also need to supplement our diet with some important nutrients.
Enhancing our diet with specific nutrients can rebuild our overall health and help our body handle stressors and infections. Certain minerals such as zinc, selenium, and boron have found to have a protective effect on the immune system. Zinc for example plays a great role in making sure our immune system continues to function as it should, while vitamin D regulates immunity and inflammatory responses, important functions that reduce the risk of infection and help us in case we have the cold or flu. Spend time outdoors to receive sunshine each day to replenish storage of vitamin D and when that is not possible, add the nutrient to your supplement regime.
Taking a good source of bio-available boron is like employing a commander or a general in the army. Boron directs many different functions in the body such as mineral and hormonal metabolism, cell membrane functions, and bone health. Boron helps other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D to be absorbed better, and is known to enhance collagen synthesis (great as anti-aging too). A deficiency in boron can lead to a weakened immune response along with brain and bone health deterioration.
Scientists are heavily researching how to remedy the “cytokine storm” – the intense inflammatory response that is generated when our immune system ramps up to fight the coronavirus. Often it is this intense response that damages healthy tissue in the lungs. Some steroids are showing helpful reduction of this intense inflammation. Reducing the general inflammation in the body before we get any viral or bacterial infection is a preventative strategy.
Boron used as a daily anti-inflammatory can support the immune response. Of course, many factors go into the cytokine storm and hence the general need for everyone to maintain good health and robust immune system.
Selenium is another micronutrient that is essential for the proper function of our bodies. Scientists believe that a lack of selenium is one reason we see more chronic degenerative diseases and increase in an inability to fight infectious diseases.
A healthy microbiome is vital for our good health. The GI Tract, from the mouth to the anus, contains a large community of organisms that perform many beneficial functions. Trillions of microorganisms live inside of us and on our skin. So how do we create a fantastically healthy microbiome? An 80% plant-based diet and 20% animal-based feeds these good organisms with the exact fiber and nutrients they need. And by feeding our microbiome the right foods, we also benefit from the exact nutrients that our own body needs. It is truly a win-win. Learn more about the fascinating world of the microbiome at the Microbiome Project and BioImmersion.
Probiotic supplements are excellent for the creation and maintenance of a healthy microbiome. A good probiotic can shift the gut microbiome’s eco-system to keep at bay harmful pathogens. Research has shown probiotics proffer many benefits from weight loss to strengthening the gut barrier function and supporting a good immune function. The term “immunobiotics” is used to describe the combination of microbes that are able to beneficially regulate the mucosal immune system to combat infections. The 4th International conference on microbes and beneficial microbes emphasized immunobiotics and their influence on other mucosal sites such as the respiratory system.
We continue to research and learn how to naturally care for our bodies with foods and supplements. Contact your integrative physician to create the right supplement combination for your health needs.
Stress reduction is key to our sanity. Spend some time outdoors, go to a nice park nearby or simply walk the streets around your neighborhood. Inhale the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine, light and air is crucial for our health. Yoga classes are offered online now and simply joining a friend for a good conversation about life helps reduce stress and make life a joyful experience.
We have received conflicting information about wearing a mask. At first we were told not to bother waring a face mask since it won’t protect us and now we must wear it when we are in public. The reality is that doctors have worn masks while they take care of very ill patients for many years, and there is no surgeon that performs any operation without a mask. Other nations have successfully utilized masks to lower infectious rate. Wear masks in public, especially enclosed places, and try to exercise in the fresh air where you do not need to wear a mask. Read the world health organization on wearing a mask to protect yourself: WHO.
Life during a pandemic is downright difficult and scary. Destressing and eating well, treating yourself with care and loving your family and friend are all acts of wellness and health. Allow yourself 15 to 30 minutes a day to scan the news online or listen to your favorite news channels, and then focus on meaningful projects, tasks, and activities. Eat your meals slowly and with thankfulness. Take your supplements, and drink plenty of fluids. Go for nice walks with your family or friends, breath the fresh air deeply, and fill your mind with the beautiful little things you see on your walk, the flowers, blue skies (or grey in Seattle, Washington), trees, and birds.
Dohrea Bardell, PhD