Covid 19 – Is Your Immune System In Check!
In a very short span of time, the Corona Virus (COV-19) has become an inescapable subject of our daily lives. The escalated anxiety and panic induced by the virus has begun to take a tremendous toll on people’s physical and mental health. The shifting normalcy of practices such as social distancing, cancelled events, and frenzied food stocking is evidence of the fear we have become familiar with as we deal with these unprecedented events. Last week, I was personally shocked to find that this panic has resulted in supermarket aisles empty of common household necessities such as toilet paper!
In today’s blog post, I would like to take the opportunity to explain the importance of our immune system and its role in helping combat this virus. I have always emphasized to my clients the connection between stress and the immune system and its impact on our body. They have both a correlated and opposing relationship with one another: stress is important for our body in short bursts because it is anti-inflammatory, but when it exceeds the normal amount then it becomes harmful, impacting a range of systems in our bodies.
How does the immune system work?
Let’s imagine what would happen when our body encounters a droplet of moisture from the Corona virus, or any foreign virus/bacteria. How would our Immune system react?
The body is extremely intelligent and self regulating. When your body detects a foreign substance (antigen), it sends a combat squad to investigate the matter. These are called B cells. They are your first line of defense and assess the situation to take care of it. The B cells will identify this invader and tag it as “foreign” and create an antibody to identify it for next time it comes around. If the situation gets more serious, then the body sends its second line of defense with the bigger guns to assess the situation for a more serious attack. These are called T cells and complement proteins. Once these are unleashed we have a full-blown battle going on inside our body. Fever can accompany a situation like this if it runs out of control.
The immune system is composed of white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow.
The health of the immune system depends on many factors.
As we age, our thymus gland (an immune gland in your chest) shrinks, your T cells and macrophages become less responsive, and the quantity of antibodies produced lowers. This is one reason that there is a higher fatality rate with flu in senior adults.
- Pre- existing health conditions- the population around the world suffers from
Heart- disease, diabetes, cancer and poor health- in general. This all has an impact on lowering the immune system because it is busy fighting these health issues and is depleted of nutrients and exhausted.
Stress impacts our daily life by depleting us from our nutrients such as B12, B9, Zinc and Copper. We get these from eating a rainbow of fruits, vegetables & Proteins and not from processed / refined and sugary foods. As our stress increases, we lower our stomach acid which is very important to keep pathogens out of our body and to help us extract our vitamins & minerals from the foods we are eating. It also helps with the breakdown of proteins into amino acids that are building blocks to many chemical reactions in our body.
- A diet that is rich in processed and refined carbs and sugary drinks.
This robs the body from healthy nutrients that are needed to help strengthen the immune system.
- Dysbiosis ( an imbalanced microbiome ) and leaky gut. This impacts good digestion and absorption of nutrients because we don’t have enough of the good bacteria. Hence impacting the immune system and forcing the immune system to over work itself thus becoming exhausted and weak and not able to fight the invaders.
- Immuno suppressant medications.
- Chronic Epstein -Barr Virus.
People with these conditions have a much higher susceptibility to catch the Corona virus because their immune system is weakened.
What can we do to strengthen our immune system to fight the Virus.
- Reduce our stress- meditation and deep breathing.
- Eat a clean diet high in vegetables and fruit.
- Drink lots of Bone broth. A great source of rich nutrients to help boost the immune system.
- Stay away from sugar, processed and refined carbs.
- Prioritize sleep – I can’t stress this enough- this is where all the healing and repair takes place.
- Exercise- you need to move to keep the blood circulation moving in the body.
- Strengthen your stomach acid by eating more bitter greens, and chewing your food properly for a minimum 20 times.
- Boost the immune system with some supplements: Vit C, Vit D, Vit. B complex, vit. A and Zinc.
- Make sure to get a stool test done to assess your microbiome/ pathogen and gut health to be able to support it much better.
- Make sure your liver is functioning properly and being well supported. This is why a liver cleanse is recommended twice a year to make sure that all detoxification pathways are functioning properly and the proper nutrients are restored . Eating a lot of vegetables from the Brassica family ( cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, broccoli) and the allium family (garlic and onion)helps with this.
You can also do Castor oil packs – a very old traditional method our grandmothers used to use to boost liver function.
People who know me always praise my positive outlook on life and I would like to pass this on to you as well. Take advantage of this hysteria as an opportunity to reflect a little on yourself. Pay more attention to your own self-care. You have a lot of time on your hands as the world slows down. Maybe this is a sign to slow down since we are living in a rat race and everything is so stressful around us that we have stopped prioritizing our own selfcare. Consider this an opportunity for creativity and stepping up to take on more leadership roles and make productive usage of our time.
You can take advantage of staying home by cleaning house- going through clothes, files, boxes in storage etc… Remove that extra negative energy that is tying you down- give it a try and see how you feel!
Pay more attention to yourself and surround yourself with joy, laughter and selfcare. Read, cook, occupy your mind with matters you were too busy to give time to before. There are some great online courses you can tap into.
These are all great ways to reduce stress- and flip things around to your advantage instead of focusing too much on the Corona virus.
The best investment you can do for yourself is to take care of yourself and boost your immune system by reducing your stress levels.
I hope these tips and explanations help keep you and your loved ones healthier for the remainder of these stressful times we are enduring.
Always looking out for you ,
Small Changes For a Healthier “U”