Unless you're living under a rock, you are aware of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) scare that is currently happening. While it is a global reality, it is important to remember that fear does not have a good track record with producing positive results individually or corporately.
There is plenty of information out there on the importance of washing your hands correctly and avoiding public spaces. What we're missing is more information on how we can increase our immune system to fight potential harm. Right now, it has been determined that 80% of those who have been infected with COVID-19 had a mild case of the virus. Only 1% of the cases have been deadly. If you are not an immunocompromised individual (those of whom we should take extra care of amidst this), there is a very low chance that you are at risk of fatality. Your risk of a bad case is lowered even more if you are a healthy individual.
As we strive to fight one epidemic, let's not participate in the creation of another epidemic of fear and panic. Be intentional with your contact with others, your cleanliness, and your immunity.
Here are a few simple things that make a BIG difference in your immunity! What's easy to do is also very easy not to do. Instead, make a decision to support your health and, in turn, the health of others by committing to these habits:
1. Cut out the sugar
From the moment you consume sugar, you cause your immune system cells to be put on hold for several hours. Additionally, sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your gut, causing what would otherwise be one of your greatest immunity boosters to suffer. Furthermore, sugar contributes to inflammation in the body, which takes away from your body's ability to fight more important threats like infections or viruses.
2. Cut out processed grains
Your morning muffin or bagel could be setting you up with low immunity right at the beginning of the day! Processed grains have a similar affect on the body as sugar. They hinder immune response, cause inflammation, and can cause damage to your gut.
3. Get 7 hours of sleep
By not getting sufficient sleep each night, you are basically killing off your body's ammunition to fight inflection, disease, and viruses. While you sleep, your body works to fight off infections and other "enemies". Long term, poor sleep dramatically increases your risk of degenerative diseases like diabetes, heart disease, alzheimer's, arthritis, and cancer. It's worth creating that "adult bedtime"!
4. Eat 6+ servings (1/2 cup) of vegetables
We've been told this since we were kids, and it's not something we grow out of. The antioxidants in vegetables are POWERFUL. They make a huge difference in supporting your body's ability to do what it is made to do! Throw in extra spinach in EVERYTHING, it's easy to add to literally any meal. Check out my recipes for other delicious ways of preparing vegetables!
5. Reduce stress
Most of the time we do not realize how stressed out we actually are. If you feel your heart beating quickly multiple times a day or consistently have have that uncomfortable anxious feeling in your stomach, you're probably operating in a state of chronic stress. This is not normal, and it is significantly lowering your immune system and increasing inflammation in your body.
WAIT, before you get stressed about being stressed, take a moment and BREATH. Breathing is the number one proven way to shift your body out of a stress state. Breathe in slowly for 4 counts, hold for 7, and breathe out for 8 counts. Repeat that 4 times throughout the day. After each breathing set, think of 3 things you can be grateful for amidst your current circumstance.
Do that every day and watch your stress slowly fade away.
Here's to a healthier, stronger you!