Updated: Mar 4, 2021
The outbreak of COVID-19 has left us with a huge amount of stress and anxiety—potentially putting our immune systems in deep trouble! People were told to stay in their homes with no personal contact with family and friends, and to only come out for emergency reasons. People were afraid and felt so drained.
Why and how does this impact the immune system?
Stress releases chemicals and hormones—even just a little bit of which can set your body in a whirlwind and weaken your immune system. The key is to stay positive. Think of the things you have going for you right now. When you think negative thoughts, immediately throw those thoughts out of your head. Read a book, watch your favorite movie, get your mind onto something else. CBD oil and essential oils are great for relaxation as well.
Staying in the house depletes the body’s vitamin D (your vitamin D level should be around 60). The body needs vitamin D, and we get the best natural form of it from the sun. So no, staying in the house is bad for our immune function.
Being among friends and family, laughing and enjoying life, can actually help you live longer with fewer heart issues. It brings out oxytocin dopamine and serotonin—your “feel awesome” hormones. This in return builds your immune system.
So now that you know why it is so important, let’s get into how we can keep our bodies in healthy condition so that they will be ready for anything that comes their way—COVID, the flu, the common cold, or even autoimmune conditions. And remember, it’s not always about avoiding but rather equipping how our bodies handle the load.
It’s pretty simple, honestly. There is much more to staying healthy than just eating the right foods. Oh yes, it’s an oh-so-important part of the puzzle. But everything needs to work together in order to maintain a perfect working machine.
Here are some of the things that are important to maintain a healthy response in your body and have healthy immune function. They will keep you balanced and healthy.
And isn’t that an awesome thing? 😊
Exercise: Get moving! Take a walk or go for a hike or a jog. Lift weights. Think of how amazing you will look and feel. Exercise also releases endorphins in the body that trigger a positive feeling all over.
Getting a good night’s sleep stimulates your body’s immune response. You need at least 8 hours to boost your immune system, which reaches its peak at night.
Stay hydrated: This prevents constipation and helps flush toxins from the body.
Meditation: Looking into ourselves for answers is the best way to relax and renew. Try it. You might be pleasantly surprised at what it can do for your overall well-being—body and mind. After all, who knows you better than yourself. This is also a great opportunity to look further inside and stop to rethink your life. How can you be a better you? What is missing? Most of us have lives that are totally imbalanced. This is the way we give ourselves a mind and body cleanse. (Studies have even shown that the immune system benefits from prayer, a form of meditation. Truly, a healing tool from God!)
Eating a healthy diet is one way to keep your immune system healthy and balanced.
Plain live grass-fed yogurt: great for breakfast. Add in some fruit, a little maple syrup, and raisins for a tasty treat.
Raw fermented sauerkraut: filled with immune-boosting probiotics. Added to a salad, it increases the nutritional content.
Homemade fermented sourdough: more nutritious and easy to digest, even for people who are gluten free.
Almonds: have probiotic properties, and do not spike blood sugar. Take a handful when you feel hungry for a snack.
Pure olive oil: helps gut inflammation. Drizzle on your salad or on cooked veggies. Good for indigestion.
Blueberries: quercetin found in dark blue and red fruits has been shown to have potent antiviral properties.
Turmeric (curcumin): microbiome-balancing activity. Good for fighting inflammation and suppressing viral replication, assisting in immunity.
Medicinal mushrooms, such as rishi or shitake: great sautéed with onions or used in teas and infusions—even in hot chocolate.
Chia seeds: rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, to fight free radicals.
Green tea: produces a chemical in the body that actually fights viruses.
Garlic: keeps bad gut bacteria under control. Wonderful in Sunday’s sauce or chopped raw and fresh for optimal benefits.
Fresh ginger: stimulates digestion. Add to smoothies or veggies.
. . . and these other immunity-enhancing herbs that can be used in tinctures, teas, or syrups: oregano; sage; holy basil; fennel; lemon balm; peppermint; dandelion; and elderberry syrup.
Full of fiber, these foods help good bacteria flourish:
And help ensure proper tissue repair with foods rich in vitamin C, such as:
Red and sweet yellow peppers
Rose hips (wonderful as a tea)
So the actual reality of it all is that we cannot continue to eat chemicals, junk, and fast food and expect our body to deliver peak performance. It just doesn’t work that way. Our immune system is in place for a reason. We need to work on helping our bodies so that they will in turn help us whenever we need it. You wouldn’t put water in a car, right? So nourish your body and mind with good nutrition, love, and kindness, and believe me you will be happy and healthy. As Hippocrates is believed to have said, “Let thy food be thy medicine.”