Updated: Apr 7, 2020
With all the worry and fear surrounding the Corona Virus pandemic, I thought it would be a good idea to share some key principles around building up your immunity. This, in essence, is your absolute best defense against situations like this. The human immune system is a highly evolved, potent defense system. It is fascinating in its complexity and is really more powerful than ANY medicine ever created. It is adaptable, a very fast learner, quick on its feet and has a most impressive memory. Therefore, if you optimize the functioning of your immune system, you are in the best possible condition for taking on whatever known or unknown pathogens come your way. Read on for suggestions on how to boost your immune system's functioning…
Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Whole foods contain a wealth of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, phenols, and other components that support a healthy immune system.
Eliminate excessive sugar and refined grains from your diet. Processed foods, aside from lacking such robust nutrients as whole foods, actually detract from health, forcing the body to struggle with increased inflammation, and an altered gut microbiome. The inflammatory foods suppress your immune system's capacity to control and respond to infections.
Eat wild-caught fish and seafood at least once/week. Our modern diets have far too many Omega 6 fats, causing a sustained inflammatory response. Wild-caught fatty fish are a rich source of much-needed Omega 3 fats, which support a healthy anti-inflammatory response.
Eat an abundance of vegetables. Aim for 7-9 servings per day, with a variety of colors. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in vegetables that give them their distinctive colors and flavors are also responsible for their healing, detoxifying and immune-modulating properties.
Drink bone broth as often as you can. A cup per day is ideal, particularly during flu
season, or other vulnerable times. The amino acids in bone broth support the immune system, metabolism and healthy sleep. In addition, the lipids and nutrients that melt out from the marrow are critical for white blood cell production. And finally, bone broth is one of the best things you can consume to heal your gut, where 80% of your immune system resides. Bone broth helps to undo the damage of processed foods by healing and sealing the gut lining.
Fish Oil - EPA and DHA have long been known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and DHA is well-respected for its cognitive-supporting properties. Perhaps you may not have known that fish oil enhances the immune response as well. This makes it a particularly good supplement for individuals whose immune systems are compromised.
Cod Liver Oil - An oldie, but a goodie. Yes, it’s a fish oil as above, but it’s so much more than that too. It’s high content of Vitamin D and A complement each other and provide necessary nutrients. It’s one of the best and highest sources of natural Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency (another pandemic we should be concerned about) is the most wide-spread deficiency. Most children and adults don’t get nearly enough sunlight to allow their bodies to produce the needed amount.
Probiotic - 80% of the immune system is in your gut. If you heal your gut, you boost your immunity. Take a broad spectrum probiotic with both Lactobacillus and Bifido strains. Start low and slow and titrate up over the course of a week or two. Starting with too strong a probiotic too fast can cause digestive upset, bloating and gas.
Astragalus Root - This is a long-appreciated, revered herb in Chinese medicine with a safety record spanning millennia. It has uber-powerful immune-boosting properties and can even help alleviate some of the side effects of chemotherapy. It has many, many wonderful uses, but in this context, it’s important to know that astragalus root helps regulate the immune system and is a potent anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent. Steep the roots in hot water and drink as a tea daily, add it to your broth with some ginger and turmeric roots as well, or take it as a capsule. Work with a qualified person to determine the correct dose for your age, health and medical history, especially as it can interact with other supplements and drugs you’re taking.
Zinc - this is a well-known immune supporting mineral. Not only does zinc support white blood cell function, it has also exhibited antiviral properties. It’s best to get your zinc from dietary sources rather than supplementation, to avoid taking in too much zinc. Red meat and oysters are two of the best sources of dietary zinc.
Sleep at least 8 hours/night. Sleep is one the easiest, yet most underrated healing tools in our lives. Lack of sleep can actually make you more vulnerable to catching colds and flu. Compromised or limited sleep actually suppresses immune function.
Get out in the sunshine every day, for at least 20 minutes, even if it’s winter and even if it’s cloudy. Sunlight, even on cloudy days, is therapeutic. You will sleep better, you may make some Vitamin D in the process, and most importantly, it’s been proven to boost your immune system. Sunlight increases white blood cell production, making your immune system ready to take on any diseases and defend you against pathogens
Work a few of these recommendations into your family's lives and see how much more resilient you and your children become to seasonal illnesses and threatening pandemics. Even if you do contract a virus after implementing these suggestions, your capacity to recover more quickly will be enhanced. And the severity of your symptoms will be lessened. Stay strong!
Already in the throes of a viral infection? Click here to see my favorite bug busters!