We are already inundated this information. Yet the coronavirus threat is real, and many people have become worried, but fear about any health concern in never welcome. Fear impacts your immune system - it stimulates the release of cortisol, a corticosteroid. Cortisol is immunosuppressive and down-regulates key inflammatory transcription factors, like NF-kB, essentially weakening your immune response, and leaving your system more vulnerable to infection.
I hear over and over again to wash your hands, don’t touch your face, use hand sanitizer, and stay away from places where you'll be in close proximity to people. While these are great suggestions, they're just a start.
What no one in the mainstream media is telling you is that your food may be depleting your immune system, and what foods you need to stop eating and which ones to increase, so if you do get exposed, your immune system has a fighting chance.
Here are some of my suggestions - and what I'm doing to protect myself and my family.
Avoid sugar and processed/simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates, such as white flour, get turned into sugar very quickly. Sugar paralyzes macrophages, types of white blood cells responsible for engulfing microbial invaders and keeping them from causing you harm. Studies show that eating or drinking 100 grams of sugar can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent and the immune-suppressing effect of sugar can last up to 5 hours.
In the 1970’s Dr. Linus Pauling discovered that vitamin C helps the body to combat the common cold. As part of the same research, Dr. Pauling found that sugar severely slows down this process. Glucose and Vitamin C have a similar chemical structure...so similar that when a white blood cell tries to pull in more Vitamin C from the blood around it, glucose can get substituted by mistake.
If the concentration of glucose in the blood gets too high, the white blood cell’s concentration of Vitamin C will drop below the level needed for optimal infection fighting.
Dr Pauling found that at a blood sugar level of 120, the white blood cell’s ability to absorb and destroy viruses and bacteria is reduced by 75%. Many people are running around with sugar greater than this all day long. It can take four to six hours for the Vitamin C concentration in the white blood cells to reach the optimum concentration again.
In addition to avoiding sugar, it’s a good idea to increase Vitamin C intake - both food form and supplementation. Vitamin C is both anti-viral in nature and an immune booster. Colorful vegetables and fruits are a great source of Vitamin C, along with beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A, which is important for mucous membrane's ability to fight infection.
In addition to Vitamin C and Vitamin A, other nutrients that can be important for strong immune function are Vitamin D, zinc, iodine and magnesium.
The bottom line for protecting yourself and your family from coronavirus, the common cold, the flu and other infectious diseases is a healthy immune system.
1. Avoid sugar and things that can be converted to sugar rapidly, like alcohol and flour/simple carbohydrate products.
2. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables that are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients that support your immune system.
3. Eat sea vegetables for their mineral rich content.
4 .Eat lots of garlic and Italian herbs like oregano, thyme and rosemary, which have potent antiviral effects (essential oils can be used here too)
5. Consume anti-inflammatory foods and spices like turmeric, ginger and cayenne.
6. Balance your intake of omega 3 fats, from nuts and seeds like chia, flax, hemp and walnuts. Algae are a great source of omega 3 fats as well. Deep ocean fish (not farmed) is a good source of omega 3 fats, but be careful of mercury and PCB contamination. Avoid heated, processed and hydrogenated fats.
7. Support your immune system with herbs like Echinacea and Astragalus unless you’re actually sick, in which case you’ll need stronger antiviral and immune stimulating herbs.
8. If you show signs of infection, add herbs and nutrients such as garlic, Oregano, Thyme, and Clove oil, colloidal silver and elderberry.
9. Sleep 8 hours a night.
10. Meditate, journal, prayer, walk out in nature, or engage in other mindfulness practices to reduce stress.
Turn down the news, and begin to focus on being proactive about your health. Eat well, listen to music, connect to the people you care about and don't forget to add some daily fun! Get out in the sun (okay, we in the Midwest have to get real and may benefit from full spectrum lights instead, lol), and surround yourself with the things you love. Above stay healthy!
To your good health,