Are you being inundated with news of the spreading corona virus and the warnings that we are heading for a worldwide pandemic?
Aside from washing our hands what else can we do to protect ourselves?
The answer is to create a strong immune system. Here are some ways to boost our bodies natural ability to fight disease.
1.Wash your hands with soap and water. Hand sanitizers kill good and bad germs. The “all germs are bad” hypothesis leads to a weakened immune system. We need live bacteria for a healthy gut microbiome which determines the strength of our immune system. Our ancestors ate dirt on their veggies and didn't use strong chemicals to sterilize their environments. A new study compared a small town in Norway with a high incident of asthma, viruses and colds to one in Russia whose populations were unusually healthy. These towns were close to each other and similar in many ways. Results of the study determined that the Norway town members kept all their doors and windows closed and lived in a sterile environment. Bleaches and harsh chemicals were used to achieve cleanliness. They were not exposed to any live organisms and their health suffered. There are also studies that indicate that families with dogs have stronger immune systems because dogs bring in all kinds of bacteria from the outside. I am not saying to never clean but water with a little essential oil is a totally fine way to clean.
2. Keep moving – moving stimulates our lymphatic system. In fact, it is the only way to get the lymph moving as it doesn’t have its own pump system like the heart. Moving reduces stress in the body and lowers cortisol levels. Movement also helps with weight management and inflammation. Yoga and mind/body modalities are especially important.
3. Practise good sleep hygiene - go to bed before 10 p.m., try to go to bed at the same time each night, stay away from stimulating substances such as caffeine, alcohol and screen time, and wear a night mask or sleep in total darkness.
4. Avoid sugar, avoid sugar, avoid sugar! There is nothing that negatively affects our immune system more than white sugar. Stay away! If you need to use a sweetener choose honey which has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and is full of antioxidants.
5. Eat a clean, healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds and organic meat. Stay away from processed and chemical laden foods. Toxins kill those good bacteria, destroying our gut health and causing a weakened immune system.
6. Increase your consumption of vitamin C through food but also through supplementation. Especially if you are feeling symptomatic then begin taking 1000 mg of C every hour or to bowel tolerance. 7.
7. Make sure you are taking enough Vitamin D3. Deficiencies are rampant in North America and studies show a correlation between low D and cancer, immune diseases, and mental health. Get tested and then make sure you are taking enough to be at the top end of the range.
8. Other supplements that boost immunity are Vitamin A, and E. If you are dealing with high levels of stress the B vitamins are important.
9. Look also at the adaptogen herbs such as ashwaganda, astragulus and tulsi or holy basil. They help with stress as well as being anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and are readily available at your local health food store.
10. There are other anti-virals that work such as oil of oregano, ginger, propolis, garlic, eucalyptus and peppermint oil, bone broth, coconut oil and echinacea. There are many good remedies with a combination of these factors in them you could try.
Last tip: gargle with salt water, or apple cider vinegar diluted in some water at the onset of a cold.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.