During the Coronavirus era and beyond, creating and maintaining a strong immune system is key to
staying healthy. Here are five simple things you can do to improve yours:
Stress reduction I can’t stress enough how important this is!!! Stress is already at epidemic levels, and the FEAR
associated with the virus, the market’s reaction, etc., can exponentially increase already high stress levels,
which is dangerous. Did you know that upwards of 90% of all illness is attributed to stress? Stress is the
perception of threat; emotional, physical, financial, etc. When stress is recognized, the immune system
shuts down in order to conserve energy and defend against that threat. Hormones such as cortisol and
adrenaline are elevated, and inflammation occurs. And, when we are in a chronic state of stress – and
science suggest 60% to 70% of us are – the brain can downregulate genes that trigger disease. Further,
uncontrolled stress can lead to panic. The good news is you are in control. Some great ways to reduce
stress include meditation, yoga, deep breathing, exercises, and the tips that follow in this blog. Do what
works for you to reduce your stress.
Proper nutrition Incorporate as many nutrient dense foods as much as possible. Even if you don’t ditch the junk entirely, you will benefit from adding in as many nutritious foods as possible. Organic is always preferable. Did you know that you’d need to consume about four times the amount of non-organic food to get the same nutrients as in organic? Also, because 80% of your immune system resides in the gut, a healthy gut microbiome is critical. Be sure to incorporate foods such as citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, dark chocolate,
sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, ginger, garlic, oily fish, shellfish. Consume less –
FAR LESS – processed foods, sugar, alcohol and dairy.
Ample rest Getting enough sleep can be a challenge in an increasingly busy and uncertain world.
Lack of sleep can make us less productive, more stressed, less alert, impact our mood, increase stress and inflammation.
Sleep deprivation can also increase your risk of getting sick and affect your recovery time. During sleep,
certain proteins (cytokines) necessary to fight inflammation and infection are released. Lack of sleep
results in decreased production of these protective cytokines. For even better sleep, try to stick to a
pattern, keep TV out of the bedroom, don’t eat for at least two hours prior to bedtime, minimize TV and
social media well in advance of dozing off and try to set a positive intention while falling asleep.
Connection Studies have shown that a lack of connection is a greater threat than obesity and high blood pressure and can trigger stroke and heart disease. Conversely, those with good social connections benefit from stronger gene expression for immunity, increased longevity and speedier recovery time from illness. In the Coronavirus era, many of us are forced to work remotely, which can bring a bundle of new stressors, and possibly a feeling of loneliness depending on one’s circumstances, especially if not used to this type of work situation. It’s important to employ strategies to maintain social connection, and not allow social distancing the create alienation and isolation. Stay in touch with friends, colleagues and family.
Talk on the phone, rather than texting. Use Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc. to have face to face interactions.Take a walk Get out in nature! We’ve become a bit disconnected with nature, haven’t we? It’s estimated that
Americans currently spend ~90% of their time indoors. Connecting with nature boosts your emotions and
your immune system. Just the sights and sounds alone put your central nervous system into a more
relaxed state. One study showed that patients recovering from surgery who had a view of nature
recovered faster and with less medication than those with a view of a brick wall. Increased exposure to
plants means increased exposure to phytoncides, which prompts the immune system to produce certain
protective white blood cells that help fight against many a health condition. If you are working remotely,
take an hour to make calls and take a walk! Work on your porch! Eat lunch outside. Can’t get out? Make
sure you frequently look out the window at the trees for a few minutes.
I offer my clients strategies for these – and other – pillars for boosting immunity and creating a healthy
life- and mindstyle.
Note: The Coronavirus is changing the way we work and behave. Working remotely is now becoming
increasingly popular and necessary during this outbreak. Accordingly, I am adapting my services to
accommodate this transition. Please contact me to learn about my online speaking services.