Today we find ourselves in week 7 of quarantine. It’s pretty safe to say our lives have changed rather dramatically. We have been told to stay at home, wear masks, and keep six feet between ourselves and others. We are working from home, home schooling our children, avoiding stores and shopping, and cooking more than ever. Basically, we are doing everything we have been told to do (or not do) in order to beat this virus. Now we are being told to wait for a vaccine, but in the meantime, no one is telling us to boost our immune systems so that our bodies are able to fight the virus. Let’s talk about that.
We have been told that COVID-19 is most dangerous to the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Unfortunately, Americans today are more unhealthy than ever. We don’t eat well. We sit too much. We are overweight. Let’s take this time to get healthy and strong.
We can’t eat out as often as we may have before, so let’s get in the kitchen instead. Here are a few tips and tricks to try out:
- Intermittent fasting is a great way to reduce calories, reduce inflammation in our bodies, and boost our immune systems. Try reducing your eating window to 6 hours (i.e. eat only between 12pm and 6pm).
- When it’s time for a meal, most of us typically choose meat as our main course with veggies on the side. Switch it up! Make a huge salad with a small amount of protein. Avoid using low fat dressing or any bottled dressing – it’s chock-full of things that are terrible for you and the best way to ruin a good salad. Instead, use a good olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
- Have you noticed in the grocery store that the produce section is fully stocked, but the frozen meals are wiped out? Help change this by shopping for fresh groceries.
- Think of breads and other carbs as an occasional side. I’m not saying to never eat carbs again, just don’t think of them as a must-have at every meal, or even every day.
- Sugar…quit it! Sugar wrecks havoc on your immune system. If you’re still drinking soda, try drinking seltzer water instead. I love my seltzer water maker (PS: it’s on sale!).
- Stay away from bottled fruit juice. Squeeze it yourself or have a green smoothie.
- Packaged foods of any kind are loaded with sugar, and anything “low fat” probably has a bunch of added sugar. If you typically eat a lot of prepared foods, try cooking meals from scratch at home instead. This alone will cut your sugar intake way down, so you’re allowed to go ahead and have an occasional home-baked treat!
Another great way to boost your immune system is by adding supplements to your daily routine. Absolutely everyone should be taking Vitamin D! Having optimal levels of Vitamin D is one of the best things you can do to boost your immune system, and almost all of our Vitamin D levels are low! Also add Vitamin C and Zinc. These are the “Big 3” for immune strength. I have also added elderberry syrup to my seltzer water once a day – it tastes great and boosts immunity.
Finally, get moving and get outside! I know it may seem harder now since gyms are closed, but what we can all do for free is go for a walk. The experts are saying that working out too strenuously too frequently can actually lower your immunity, so walking is a great option. Get outside and walk briskly and maybe even add a few hills into your route. Switch it up and add variety when it comes to workouts. The constant change is best for your body and will keep you motivated. There are so many free online classes being offered right now. Check out the Peloton app. It’s free for 90 days. I tried a Rumble Boxing workout on Instagram yesterday for the first time. Very fun! Anything new and different in addition to a good walk outside (hello Vitamin D and fresh air!) will keep you both mentally and physically fit, plus it’ll boost your immune system.
We all need to be thinking about how we can get healthier and stronger. There will always be germs and viruses. Let’s give ourselves a fighting chance at being the winner in the battle against sickness an disease.