As we head into spring there is growing concern over this coronavirus. People generally seem to be in a panic. It's time for some good news! Read through as I encourage and empower you to stay strong and teach you how to build your Healthy Mom Toolkit so that hopefully if you do catch the virus, it will just be a blip on the radar rather than the full on catastrophe that everyone seems to be preparing for. We each have a lot of control over our health outcomes and can very easily build our own personal immune boosting toolkit for our families. I'm going to make it easy for you with the information below. I encourage you to pick three things that you can begin to bring on-board daily.
First off, imagine you are the general of a large army. You need your soldiers to be strong and healthy to win as many battles as possible. You know a new powerful opposing army is heading your way. How do you prepare? What do you need to give your soldiers to keep them strong, healthy and resilient?
The more we can support our body's built-in army (the immune system) through dietary and lifestyle behaviors, the less likely we will be to become ill from viruses and bacteria. Let's start off with the basics:
a) Make rest a priority. Get to bed early and aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Do whatever you have to do to make this happen. It's absolutely essential to staying resilient.
b) Keep the stress level down. This means exercising daily and enjoying social time spent with positive people. Pray and meditate daily, even if its just for 5-10 minutes.
c) Eat regular, healthy meals based around whole foods with plenty of fresh produce.
d) You must avoid highly processed foods and fast foods, added sugars and alcohol. Again, avoiding processed and fast foods, added sugars and alcohol is key to supporting your inner army. This is a perfect time to find healthier replacements for daily vices.
d) Give your army plenty of fresh air and a little sunshine each day. Get a brisk 15-minute walk in at lunch to get out of the office/house and boost your vitamin D levels.
e) Keep your army hydrated with pure water. One liter first thing in the morning to start and then two more throughout the day is a good goal.
f) Micronutrients (natural vitamins and minerals) play a critical role in our body's natural ability to fight off pathogens and foreign invaders. When I teach about the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) I encourage my students to pay attention to how these nutrients support the body's own natural defense mechanisms. For example, antioxidant rich foods are incredibly supportive. Polyphenols are beneficial plant compounds with antioxidant properties that may help keep you healthy and protect against various diseases. These are some specific foods that can help support the immune system:
1) Garlic, ginger, and turmeric - antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory. Find ways to incorporate these foods into your meals...or do what I do and juice them with celery, spinach, and a green apple and plan to feel great afterward. Garlic and ginger are very helpful to clear sinus congestion.
2) Pineapple, bell peppers, broccoli - high in vitamin C and other protective compounds. Snack on these fresh throughout the day. Pineapple is also very useful for sinus congestion.
3) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. But not with processed, bottled drinks. Add fresh lemon and local honey to your pure water and enjoy it throughout the day. For an extra immune boost, add fresh ginger.
4) Mushrooms (white button, shitake, baby Bella, etc) - high in Vitamin D, a necessary nutrient for our immune health and many other important jobs in the body. Eat them cooked rather than raw. Saute with garlic, onion, and zucchini and top over salad greens, lentil pasta or rice for a quick meal.
5) Berries - wild blueberries, elderberries, blackberries...eat a wide variety daily - 2 cups is recommended. Frozen or fresh.
6) Carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens - a great source of vitamin A (in precursor form beta-carotene). It can help to increase your immune cell numbers (number of soldiers in your army). Supplements that can help support your immune army:
1) Zinc 2) Vitamin D 3) Elderberry (careful if you have autoimmune issues) 4) Magnesium 5) Echinacea 6) Vitamin C 7) Fermented foods - to help keep your gut healthy as 70 % of our immune system is in our digestive tract! Keep in mind not all supplements are created equal and you will usually get what you pay for. The cheaper the supplement, the lower the quality in most cases. Go to www.labdoor.com to find safe and reliable brands. As always, check with your doctor before beginning any supplementation, especially if you are taking prescription medications as they can interact with the effectiveness. My hope is that after you read this, you will be less concerned with running out of toilet paper and more intentional about stocking your pantry with immune supporting ingredients. Above all, keep the peace and faith that we will all be okay when this thing settles down. Take good care of your "inner army"! Should you want to learn more on building your own Healthy Mom Toolkit, please connect with us. Remember, even Wonder Woman had gadgets!
Happy Spring, everyone!
Christy and the Healthy Mom University team