A couple of weeks ago I was giving a cooking class in our community and was asked to talk about building strong immune systems, since the coronavirus was already making people nervous. Fast forward two weeks, and the world has seemed to turn upside-down rather quickly. People seem to be panicking and taking all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer from all the stores, leaving the rest of us scratching our heads.
Please, don't panic. There are plenty of things that we can all do to help protect ourselves from contracting a virus, or if you have it these things can also help get you better quicker.
Here's a quick overlook of the immune system and what weakens and strengthens it. I'll explain more below.
The Immune System:
The immune system helps protect the body from foreign or harmful substances
It makes cells and antibodies that destroy harmful substances
With the threat of the coronavirus and other infectious diseases, it is important we do what we can to help avoid sickness
Those with a weakened immune system are more likely to contract infections
When our immune system is strong we are much more likely to ward off sickness
What weakens the immune system?
Soda, processed foods, sugary foods, refined carbs
sugar causes inflammation of the body
Eating/drinking sugar slows immune system cells that attack bacteria for several hours after consumption
Some bacteria and viruses feed on sugar as a source of energy
Lack of sleep
Ways to strengthen the immune system:
Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
Get plenty of sleep
Washing your hands frequently
Hot/Cold water treatments
Get plenty of sunshine
Limit or cut out refined sugars and carbohydrates
Natural Ways to Fight Sickness:
Garlic (a natural antibiotic)
Onions (reduces pain and inflammation)
Vitamin C (strengthens immune system)
Grapefruit seed extract (anti-microbial)
Echinacea (used to fight infections, reduces inflammation)
Elderberry (fights cold, flu and inflammation)
high in vitamin C and antioxidants
Most commonly used medicinal plant in the world
Sugar really tends to lower the immune system quickly and for a few hours after consuming it. I'm not talking about all sugars. Fruits have natural sugars but they are so healthy for us and are filled with anti-oxidants, which help fight off sickness in the body. Processed sugary foods are the ones that we want to minimize, or better yet stay away from all together.
Fruits and vegetables are the perfect way to build our immune systems to be strong. Eating about 10 servings total a day will really help keep sickness away. Try to get them organic as much as possible, especially berries.
Sleeping 7-10 hours a night is beneficial. It's our bodies way of resetting. During sleep the body is able to "heal" itself. Now, maybe not completely because there are plenty of other factors that affect our health as well, and usually we're causing too bad to undo it all. Anyway. Sleep plays a crucial role in the bodies immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. So it's important we are getting plenty of sleep. It's best to get as many hours of sleep before midnight, because those hours are like doubling up on sleep. A good idea is to at least go to bed by 10 pm.
Hot/Cold treatments are amazing, and you should incorporate them into your showers always. This is the easiest way to do a hot/cold treatment. When you're in the shower put the water on as hot as you can stand, just don't burn yourself. Yikes. Let the water run all over you for 3 minutes, then switch the water to as cold as you can stand. Let the cold water run all over you for 1 minutes, then switch back to hot, and do this alternating temperatures 3-5 times. What this does, hydrotherapy, is it gets the blood circulating in our bodies. The hot water brings the blood to the surface more fully, while the cold pushes the blood away from the surface. Good circulation is a good way to build the immune system.
Sunshine and fresh air help as well. So get outside and go for a walk. Hopefully you live in a place that has plenty of sunshine, if not think about taking a vitamin D supplement. Open up the windows in your house daily to let fresh air in, if it's not too cold.
Supplements that my family and I are currently taking to help boost the immune system are listed below:
Vitamin C chewable tablets
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine
Elderberry vegan gummies
These are the supplements we take to help keep our immune systems strong. The kids may not take all of these, but they do love the vitamin C and elderberry gummies, and eat them like they're candy.
Vitamin C is found in many foods, but during cold and flu season I like to also take a supplement. It's best in its natural form from foods, so consume these as much as possible each day. Foods high in vitamin C:
Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit.
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries.
NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine
"Two other simple suggestions are taking two 600 mg NAC capsules or tablets per day which has been shown by a randomized placebo controlled trial to eliminate any ﬂu symptoms in 75% of those exposed, and will likely help coronavirus as well. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) can be purchased over the counter and greatly boosts your immune system by raising glutathione levels," Dr. Neil Nedley.
Elderberry helps to fight colds, flus, and inflammation. It is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, which help boost the immune system. It is most commonly used medicinal plant in the world.
B12 we regularly take no matter what, since people on a plant-based diet are not able to get this vitamin through foods. So take one daily. B12 is an essential nutrient that's almost exclusively found in animal-sourced foods, such as fish, meat, dairy products, and eggs. It helps maintain nerves and normal brain function. It is important for people who are vegetarians, vegans and plant-based to take a daily B12 supplement. Even meat-eaters come up short on B12 levels, so it’s best they also take a daily B12 supplement.
The recommended daily intake (RDI) for B12 is 2.4 micrograms
The body absorbs only as much B12 as it needs, and any excess passes through your urine
Zinc is toxic to the coronavirus on contact. So "if you are on a plane or accidentally touch your mouth or face without having immediately washed your hands, use zinc lozenges every 2 hours or so," Dr. Neil Nedley.
Okay, so those are some natural ways to help build your immune system and better your chances of staying healthy. I hope these help. Be sure to like below and share it with your friends and family. Let's stay healthy, and be nice during these hard times.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7.
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5,6.
Play outside more when its warm and the sun is shining.