Tips on Building And Supporting Our Immune System during the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Marisa Scheuller (Skinprovement's Front Desk Coordinator and Registered Holistic Nutritionist)
DISCLAIMER:I am not a doctor or a medical professional. I am offering advice as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Please consult your health care practitioner if you have any concerns or if you are on any medications.
Here are some holistic, nutritional, and lifestyle tips to help keep our immune systems strong and healthy during this unfortunate pandemic.
Understanding What Weakens Our Immune Systems
Many factors can weaken our immune systems, such as not enough sleep, and poor digestion which results in poor absorption of nutrients preventing nutrients from entering the blood stream. Lack of beneficial bacteria can also weaken the immune system’s ability to function properly. Stress (physical, mental or psychological) is a huge factor which weakens the immune system due to an excess secretion of cortisol which weakens our adrenal glands and can lead to immune system suppression. A weakened or stressed liver can directly impair the immune system as well. Some immune system stressors include food sensitivities, sugar and alcohol, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, smoking, and exposure to mold/fungus (example, basements, and workplace)
A Few Signs and Symptoms of an Impaired Immune System
Slow wound healing
Inflammatory disorders (example, eczema)
So What Can We Do During This Time To Help Support Our Immune Systems?
A healthy diet is key. We need to ensure we are eating properly and avoiding processed and packaged foods full of chemicals and preservatives. The shelves in grocery stores are pretty empty; however, have you noticed what many people are purchasing? Consumers are stocking up on canned soups, kraft dinners, frozen meals and entrees, sugary cereals, jarred sauces, etc. Have you noticed that fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grain breads, protein powders, eggs, etc. are still available? These foods are what we need to help support our immune systems. Cook and bake as much as possible during this time to ensure you are getting proper vitamins and nutrients from whole foods. Add spinach to smoothies and protein shakes. Get creative with different recipes. Avoid buying in bulk from bins as these foods are more likely to be contaminated with germs.
How Can We Adjust Our Diets To Support Our Immune Systems?
Adequate complete protein such as chicken, fish, and beef
Legumes (canned or dried)
Lots of fresh garlic and onions (important for gut health and stimulates glutathione)
Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
Drink lots of pure water (add chlorophyll to your water which helps to alkalinize the body)
Increase fibre intake (to help digestion to eliminate toxins)
Avoid trans fats and hydrogenated fats
Decrease refined and simple carbohydrates
Alkalinize our diets with green leafy vegetables
Kombucha drinks (to support gut health)
AVOID SUGAR – as sugar weakens our immune systems and also depletes Vitamin C which is necessary for immune support
Supplements and Remedies – What Can Help?
We may not be getting enough vitamins and nutrients during this time because of poor digestion and stress, so therefore it is important to supplement with high quality brand supplements from health food stores. Supplements and remedies that are important to boost our immune system include:
Probiotics – immune builder
Vitamins, A, C, D, E and B complex
Zinc, selenium, iron, copper and magnesium
Essential Fatty Acids (high quality fish oil)
Magnesium (at night to help promote proper sleep which helps to reduce stress)
Glutathione (helps protect the immune system)
Anti-microbial (such as oil of oregano)
Astragalus (anti-inflammatory and immune builder), however DO NOT TAKE if you have a fever
Licorice (a strong anti-inflammatory), however DO NOT TAKE if you are on blood thinners
Lifestyle To Help Reduce Stress
Stress is a huge factor in weakening the immune system. Attitude change, meditation, prayer, yoga, exercise, and walks in nature can help raise your vibration which helps get ourselves out of worry and fear and towards light, love, faith and belief during this scary time. Some other examples include keeping a gratitude journal, take a bubble bath, read, write, scrapbook, dance, sing or whatever you love to do. During this epidemic we need to turn every negative into a positive which can help to shift our mindset towards positivity and away from negativity. If you are staying home from work or school, take this time to focus on yourself, your family and your home. This can be as simple as picking up an old hobby, playing a board game, decluttering your closet.
I hope some of this information was helpful to you. If you like to reach out to me for more advice, I would be happy to talk to you. This is my way of connecting to and supporting those in need in our community. Stay well and keep safe!
Front Desk Co-ordinator/Registered Holistic Nutritionist – R.H.N.