The fear of getting sick is pretty high today. Everyone is avoiding social interaction beyond immediate family and essential services. If you fall into the category of not knowing what on earth to do to stay well, it would be a good idea to read on. Only you have the power to prevent yourself from getting sick, but it isn’t rocket science. Keep in mind that at least 80% of the immune system resides in the gut. Caring for your health is related to what you put in your mouth.
1. Avoid sugar. I say this often but that is because people haven’t let it sink in yet. Sugar suppresses the immune system which allows you to get ill from viruses and infections. Avoiding sugar doesn’t mean you can’t have tasty food; it means you shouldn’t consume food that is made of empty calories. Good healthy food has a lot of flavor! When you change your diet to be lower in sugar, it will taste a little different. Adding in healthy fats and quality salt and spices will help make the transition easier.
2. Drink good, clean water. Water helps moisten tissues and shed viruses and toxins. Drink at least twice your body weight (pounds) in ounces every single day.
3. Eat a nutrient-dense diet rich in quality meats, colorful organic produce and tasty as well as healthy fats.
4. Get adequate sleep. Shut the news off and go to bed at a decent hour. Sleep is critical to help you fight illness and keep your immune system strong.
5. Get your sunlight. Everyone needs a daily dose of sunshine. Sunlight stimulates the body’s melatonin production, which is necessary to help you sleep, but it also helps boost the immune systems’ ability to fight infection. The body begins to produce melatonin about 16 hours after sunlight first enters the eyes. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant and may help you fight viruses as well. It’s a two-for-one special!
6. Avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol occasionally is ok. A drink or two a month is probably safe. If you drink more often than that, you are suppressing your immune system. Alcohol is basically composed of sugar, which again, suppresses the immune system. Alcohol is also a priority for the liver to deal with. If the body is busy processing the alcohol you drink often, then there large toxic burden that the liver must deal with which will compromise the immune system’s functionality. Poor immune function means you are more susceptible to viral infections.
7. Reduce your stress. Put the phone down. Turn off the news. Go for a walk or do something that helps you redirect your body’s stress into something more manageable. Stress in high levels or in constant doses will suppress your immune system. When stress is high, you are more likely to get sick.
8. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and think about something that brings you peace. Pray, meditate, sing, hum or watch a silly cartoon. We are going to make it through this.
9. Wash your hands. Experts agree that viruses are passed primarily from person to person via hands-to-face contact. Just wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. That’s it. No complicated formula or magic. Good old-fashioned hand washing.
10. Smile and stay connected. People are feeling alone right now because of the “social distancing” recommendation. Some people are taking it way too far and are making people around them feel ostracized. Don’t treat others badly because “they might have the virus”. Instead, offer a kind word or a smile as you pass them on a neighborhood walk or at the grocery store. We’re all in this together and a smile will make it more pleasant.