The better our immunity, the easier it is to fight off the Covid-19 virus. The body is always to trying to maintain a balance, to achieve homeostasis and fight off invading pathogens. Build the immune system so that even if you are exposed to Covid-19 you have the resources to fight it and you have the possibility of stopping the infection going deeper into the body. There are some very practical steps we can take to improve our immune function.
- Increase vitamin C to 2,000 Mg’s per day. As vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin it is best taken either as a slow release supplement or in divided doses throughout the day. Increase zinc in the diet, nuts and seeds are a good source particularly Pumpkin seeds or take 20 mg’s daily. Zinc is involved in over 300 processes in the body and supports the normal functioning of the immune system.
- Vitamin D is essential for immunity and deficiency is very prevalent. We can get it by exposure to sunlight, even by exposing our arms and legs to the sun for 15 to 20 minutes per day can significantly increase our Vitamin D levels. However as the sun still isn’t shining in any great amount I recommend supplementing 2,000 iu daily.
3. 70% of our immunity is estimated to be located in our gut. Good gut health is therefore a fundamental part of developing a healthy immune system. There are 100 billion bacteria living in our intestines, getting the right balance in these bacteria will determine gut health and immunity. The gut microbiome is disturbed by sugar, junk foods, processed foods and a low fibre diet. It is also affected by overuse of antibiotics. It is essential to improve gut health for immunity. Eat a nutrient dense diet and increase both prebiotics and probiotics in the diet. Prebiotics include onions, leeks, garlic and asparagus. Probiotics include coconut kefir (avoid dairy kefir at this time to avoid increasing mucous in the body), sauerkraut, miso, Kimchi and Kombucha tea or alternatively buy a good probiotic.
- Eucalyptus and tea tree oils have both been shown to have antiviral properties, support your immune system by mixing 3 drops of lavender (for relaxation) 3 drops of tea tree oil and 3 drops of eucalyptus into 10 teaspoons of carrier oil (almond oil, coconut oil, sweet almond oil) and rub on chest and neck, great way to support respiratory function and to protect against the Covid-19 virus .
5. Get more sleep, 65 percent of us have a chronic sleep deficit. Ideally we will have 8 hours of sleep per night and 9 for teenagers. Good sleep supports immunity.
- Explore what makes you actually relax. A major stressor such as Covid-19 may push us into fight or flight nervous system mode. When this happens we can release more adrenaline and cortisol. Exercise (out in fresh air), deep breathing, meditation, prayer, chatting with a friend or family member (phone, skype, facetime) can help to rebalance the nervous system. Research shows expressing emotion through chatting to someone we trust or through journaling influences T lymphocyte production and helps immunity. So learning to relax and learning to express what is really going on for us are both really important aspects of wellness. Though these sound like a given, i have worked with many clients for whom both of these behaviours are really hard.
- Breathe: When we are stressed we typically take 10 shallow breaths per minute. Try increasing this to 6 long breaths per minute when stressed. If anxiety comes in move to 7/ 11 breathing , inhale for 7 seconds , exhale for 11 seconds (repeat for 10 rounds). This moves us out of the fear part of the brain into the frontal cortex where logic and calm reside .
- When we feel calm we are more likely to choose good problem solving behaviours. If you don’t meditate or use mindfulness practice but would like to learn there is a fantastic free online program on mindfulness based stress reduction. Palousemindfulness.com.
- Improve the body’s internal environment. The virus is as strong as the body is weak and for 80% of us, if we do contract it our symptoms will only be mild to moderate. Getting adequate rest and relaxation, drinking clean water, not polluting the body with toxins all create an environment that is resistant to disease.
- ‘Let food be thy medicine, let medicine be thy food’ Hippocrates. Eat a nutrient dense high life force diet with three main meals per day (avoid grazing) and if possible leave a 12 hour window overnight so that the life force or qi in the body can be used for healing and repair.