We're all aware of the pandemic called Coronavirus, or more technically COVID-19. The pandemic is causing more than dry coughing, excessive hand washing and death. This pandemic is causing global stress, upset and in some cases; pure hysteria. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) has released plenty of information on how to fight the virus. They recommend hand-washing, social distancing and staying home if you feel sick (click here to read more). But did you know that there are ways to boost your immune system and better your chances of survival if you are infected with this deadly disease?
According to the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) death from the COVID-19 is caused by inflammation of the lungs that make it difficult (and in some cases impossible) to breathe. We should all follow the guidelines set in place by government officials to keep us safe, and contain the spread of the disease. We should also take this time to prepare our bodies and mind for possible infection. Today I am sharing ways to safeguard your body and take additional steps to stay healthy.
1. Stress Management
It's common and completely normal to feel stressed out and worried about what's going on in the world right now. Many of us are living in fear, and more stressed out than usual. It's important for us to understand that stress has a direct effect on our immune systems and overall health. After ground-breaking research conducted in the 1980's, psychologists and doctors discovered that stress has a direct impact on immune health. In simple terms the more stressed you become, the more difficult it is for your body to fight off infections. Studies have shown that chronic stress can have devastating and long-term effects on the immune system.
Keep your immune system up, by properly managing stress. According to the CDC and Mayo Clinic, some of the best ways for managing stress are as followed:
. Get adequate amounts of rest. Sleep is vital to stress management. Have you ever noticed that when you're short on sleep you're more cranky and prone to a short temper? Get a good amount of sleep to keep stress in check.
. Decrease alcohol consumption and avoid drugs. A glass of wine, or even a joint can seem like a good idea to take off the edge of stress. For some it may work in the short term, but these quick fixes actually have adverse effects and directly contribute to more stress, and thus a weaker immune system.
.Write in a journal to release built-up tension. Sometimes stress can be relieved simply by writing down your thoughts and organizing your emotions.
. Spend time with friends, and loved ones. Talking to those who care for us, has a positive effect on stress levels. If you're feeling lonely and are unable to identify someone to talk to, consider talking to a counselor, therapist, or a clergy member.
We live in a world full of screens, information over-load and digital media. Whether you're on social media, watching T.V. or talking to a friend, it may be difficult to escape the abundant amount of information, stories and news about the deadly Coronavirus. Do yourself a favor by limiting the amount of media you consume. Although it is important to stay informed, it is counterproductive to be overly informed. Now is a good time to take a break from social media and avoid the news. To stay informed simple check credible sites like the CDC.gov or the WHO.int once a day to stay up to date on the latest information. There is no reason to over consume copious amounts of information. Less is definitely more!
3. Drink plenty of water
Water is the source of live. It replenishes our bodies and has the power to heal. Being hydrated is very important for fending off illnesses as well as getting better once you become ill. When the body is ill it uses a great amount of water to create additional white cells (the stuff that wards off illness). In addition to this, the body losses water if you have a fever or an increased amount of mucus, diarrhea or vomiting. Soup, fresh fruits and veggies, and whole fruit juice are also great ways to stay hydrated, but nothing beats plain water. Aim to have at least 4-5 cups a day and if you don't like the taste of plain water try adding fresh fruit like lemon, lime or orange slices.
4. Up your amount of anti-inflammatory foods
Death by Coronovirus, and other upper respiratory illnesses are often caused by an inflammation (or swelling) of the lungs. Increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory foods may help decrease your risk of being severely ill. Boost your immunity by adding a wide variety of colorful fruits and veggies to your diet. Cook your own meals at home, and avoid foods that are high in sugar, and fats. Also avoid unhealthy carbohydrates found in white rice and bread. Increase the amount of whole grain foods such as whole oatmeal, brown rice and cereals made of whole grains that are low in sugar (Frosted mini wheat are my go to!) Honey is also great for inflammation and upper respiratory infections. But my best advice is to increase your consumption of garlic.
Garlic is known for it's anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for centuries all across the globe to treat infectious disease. It's important that you use FRESH garlic as opposed to powder, or prepackage garlic. When crushed, fresh garlic releases an enzyme called allicin. This enzyme has been proven to treat infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, diseases of the heart and boost immunity. I personally add 4-6 cloves of fresh garlic to most of my meals, but when Christian becomes ill with Asthma I crush a clove of garlic and have him swallow it raw. Garlic can contribute to heartburn, so be sure to consult with a physician.
5. Get adequate amounts of sleep and relaxation
Think of sleep as a way to recharge your battery.
Lack of sleep can and will have a negative effect on your immune system. Scientists, doctors and psychologists agree that people who don't get enough sleep are prone to getting sick, and becoming sicker when exposed to a virus.
Make an effort to make sleep a priority. Adults should aim for 7 -8 hours of sleep per night where as children and teens should aim for 10. Follow these tips if you have trouble sleeping:
. Keep your bedroom clean and only use it for sleep (and sex).
. Create a bedtime routine. For example, shower (or bathe) at the same time each night, lotion your body, charge your phone, read a book in bed until you become drowsy.
.Drink a relaxation tea. My favorite is sleepy tea by Lipton. You can drink any tea, just as long as it's warm and caffeine-free, avoid adding sugar as this may stimulate you. Not a fan of tea? Drink tart cherry juice or have a bowl full of cherries as they are full of meletonin (a natural sleep hormone)
please remember that although this is a time of uncertainuty we should aim for peace and calm, as a defense mechanism. Instead of being fearful, be proactive by practicing self-care and limting the amount of media you consume. Be sure to stay hydrated and get adequete amounts of sleep. Practice good hygeiene and be fearless my friends! There is no need to fall prey to the hysteria.
Take care, be blessed and not stressed!
"I have told you so that you may have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. "
- John 16:33