Right now is a really challenging time. With COVID-19, there is little else the world can even think of with everything going on.
You turn on the news… COVID-19.
Talk to a friend… COVID-19.
Open social media… COVID-19.
There is information being spread everywhere determining what to do. It can be hard to know where to even start. What to even buy- if we can! Not only is toilet paper sold out- but many vitamin C supplements are sold out as well! (Definitely check out the Karen Berrios high quality, straight-from-the-source Camu Camu which provides more than your daily Vitamin C requirement in one serving!)
First thing- as we addressed in our Vitamin C article for COVID-19. Do not panic. Stay strong and have faith. Know that we are all going to be okay this too shall pass. (And stay home! Keep washing those hands.)
Second thing- we got you when it comes to the research based do’s and don’ts of protecting your immune system during a pandemic. We’ll break this down in an easily digestible way so you have a starting point on what to do. There are many articles out there putting out the same information so we decided to dig really deep and get very specific on things that perhaps you haven’t thought of or heard of yet.
We are always here to provide you information you can use and apply to your own precious life. Karen cares deeply about every single person who comes to her site or uses her products. She walks the talk. (Follow @ShopKarenBerrios and @Karelizwellness.karenberrios for daily immune system tips on Instagram.)
The Do’s And Don’ts For Supporting Your Immune System During A Pandemic
DO keep your gut health strong at this time
As easy as it is to just eat anything in the fridge or cupboard right now (and we are almost all guilty of this!) Now is not the time to let our gut health slip.
Our gut microbiome plays a huge role in our immune system. It is estimated that about 70% of the cells that make up our immune system live within our gut.
To help our immune system, we should be feeding our body foods that support good bacteria. One way to do this is to realize that our gut loves a diverse range of healthy foods. (Source) This means don’t just eat beige foods like oatmeal and bread, but instead pack in a ton of varying fruits and vegetables. A little kale, spinach, and chard is better than just a big bowl of kale. We should also make sure that we are getting in enough fiber, both soluble and insoluble, so that our guts continue to be strong throughout what is going on. Our gut does not do well without fiber. (Source) Looking into probiotics is also something to consider at this time. Key to remember: Our immune system goes hand in hand with our gut!
Don’t eat foods that are high in folic acid
Folic acid can hinder our natural killer cells within our immune system! If we were to get this virus- it is the natural killer cells that would attack the virus. The natural killer cells are our Navy Seal team within our white blood cells. If our natural killer cells are not standing alert, or they are not strong, we will be more susceptible to COVID-19 or would have a harder time fighting it off should we get it.
Folic acid is found almost everywhere! It is a B vitamin (B9) that is found in a LOT of processed foods and often in outdated supplements. Folic acid is a chain reaction- it is something that is not natural in our bodies. What we want to consume is folate. Folate/Folic acid is strongly tied to our methylation cycle. More on that here. Folate, not folic acid! All functional medicine doctors will tell you this.
There have recently been studies showing that unmetabolized folic acid roaming around in our bodies can hurt the effectiveness of our natural killer cells. (Also see another study here.) Oh heck no! Right?
Keep up with the fresh food, limit the folic acid. Incredibly important.
Do supplement with herbs with that are antiviral
The great thing is, it’s very easy to supplement with herbs. We can cook with them and we can drink them as teas. We can even incorporate them into our smoothies. It’s a good practice to get in an antiviral herb every single day.
Here are three herbs to consider:
Oregano Oil- Has been shown to have antiviral properties. Note that this herb is incredibly strong, and should be used for a limited time. (Not an everyday thing.) It is best used in cooking or taking it as a “shot” in water. A little goes a long way- science has shown us this.
Sage- Has been shown to be antiviral (source.) It also has strong antioxidant properties which is great for fighting off free-radicals! When it comes to viruses, in previous studies this herb has shown that it can be very targeted in treating the virus- which is what we’d want!
Garlic- This is worth the bad breath! Garlic has been shown to have antiviral properties and it’s about as natural as they come. There definitely needs to be more research, but most Doctors will say garlic is a great thing to have around to prevent or help treat illness. Something to note- it’s the active compound in garlic called allicin that has the beneficial properties. Eat your garlic raw, chop it up and let it sit for 10 minutes before consuming to fully activate the allicin.
Don’t go overboard on sugar
Sugar can put your white blood cells on hold temporarily after you consume it. Yikes! Sugar is a highly inflammatory food. It can drive up free radicals into our blood. The good news is that natural sugars from fruit have not been shown to be inflammatory. So if we have a sweet tooth- we can still meet that “want” through natural sugars. Cane sugar, table sugar… it really is pure garbage. It has no nutritional benefit. One esteemed epigenetics Doctor, Dr. Ben Lynch, once gave a talk where he stated that sugar consumption puts our immune system into a coma for 6 hours. 6 hours! If we are going to have sugar, eat it when you know you won’t be going out and compromising your immune system. This is a very actionable tip.
Do continue to break a sweat multiple times a week
Not only does it help us stay healthy looking on the outside, this helps us stay healthy on the inside. The inside is arguably more important with what is going on right now. Sweating allows us to do more of a bacterial cleanse.
There was a study done in 2015 that showed us that glycoproteins in human sweat can bind to microbial properties! One big reason to sweat!
Another study has shown that human sweat can help take out heavy metals as well- and having heavy metals in the body is tied to immune suppression.
Working out is incredible, but if you can’t- Karen Berrios has always recommended sauna therapy. All sweat is good sweat so long as you… (you guessed it)... actually sweat! Try for at least 20-30 minutes 5X a week.
Don’t neglect your cholesterol levels
This isn’t something many people are talking about, but we should be.
High cholesterol levels affect the heart. COVID-19 affects the lungs. How are the two connected? If you have high cholesterol and you get COVID-19, your heart needs to work extra hard to pump oxygen rich blood all around the body.
Interesting how everything to do to have a strong immune system is also tied to the heart, right? 😉 Monitor your cholesterol levels at this time, especially if heart problems run in your family!
Get in your Vitamin C! We have multiple Vitamin C articles.
CAMU CAMU “JAM” RECIPE
We are getting creative with ways to use the Camu Camu here because there is no other food on the planet that has more Vitamin C! Did you know you can use camu camu as a spread for your toast? It doesn’t require many ingredients either.
From this article we also know that fiber is super important for the gut, which is important for the immune system, so I also suggest using a high fiber bread. However- there is fiber in the hemp seeds used!
Courtesy of Katey Yurko @thevioletfog