Guys, the world is crazy right now. Actually, it’s been crazy, but right now it’s extra crazy. Most of us are practicing social distancing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. At this point we know quite a bit, but I have a feeling that over the next few weeks we will continue to learn more. I know that people feel differently about the proper way to handle a situation such as this, but as for me and my family, I would much rather practice extreme caution and look back to realize that we were over-prepared and over-reacted, versus looking back wishing we did things differently. Having young children and being thirty-one weeks pregnant in a time like this definitely causes some concern. There is a lot of uncertainty and I have a lot of questions, but I am not scared.
As a lot of you know, I have always taken great pride in feeding my family a healthy diet and in providing a healthy home environment. I have always believed that a healthy diet protects us from a lot, and that we can eat a certain way to achieve certain results. For example: food to me has always been our first form of medicine, if you will. I decided to put together a post addressing some of the things that we can do in our homes to help boost our immunity. COVID-19, or not, these are tips and tricks to carry forward.
Increase Water Intake.
& add lemons if you want to help yourself even more. Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, and help aid in digestion. Staying hydrated is super important for our normal daily health, but being hydrated is even more important when we are trying to avoid illness. Drinking enough throughout the day flushes toxins from our system, preventing buildup in our immune system. Water also helps our bodies produce lymph, which is a fluid of our lymphatic system. Lymph fluid is super important because it picks up bacteria from our bodies and transports it to our lymph nodes where it’s destroyed. None of these systems can function without proper hydration.
Increase Plant Based Foods.
Increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables helps to boost our immune systems the natural way. Our bodies use the compounds found in fruits and veggies to fight inflammation and bacteria, which in turn supports the function of our immune system. They don’t say “eat the rainbow” for nothing. Focus on a more colorful plate whenever you can.
Probiotics are known to help build up the immune system by fighting inflammation in your gut. Probiotics keep the gut healthy by increasing the amount of gut flora, which increases our barrier against pathogenic microbes. You can increase your “good bacteria” by taking a daily probiotic and by eating raw fermented and cultured foods!
I honestly cannot stress the importance of this. Sleep is one of the biggest parts of my life that I will not compromise on, especially pregnant (and during a pandemic). Sleep is the time in our day that our body’s number one priority is to repair, and to fight. Sleeping helps to keep our white blood cell count in a normal, healthy range.
Manage Your Stress & Anxiety.
This is huge… and always has been. It’s so important to figure out what works for you. For some, it’s prayer & meditation. For others, it’s physical activity, journaling, counseling, etc. It is completely insane to believe that we can dodge all forms of stress, but it is totally fair to believe that we can learn how to properly manage the stress that we do face. When we are stressed, our bodies produce stress hormones, cortisol specifically. Cortisol is fine, and actually protective, under the right conditions. Where it gets tricky is when we have increased amounts floating around our bodies for extended periods of time. Pretty much, our bodies don’t know the difference between stress from an emergency and the everyday stresses of modern society… which essentially means that our immune system is being weakened by its natural responses that are meant to protect us.
Practice Personal Hygiene.
I don’t know why I am still so surprised by how many people have openly admitted to not really washing their hands prior to the last few weeks. Anyway, wash your hands, frequently, with soap and warm water. Wash your body. Wash your sheets. Wash your makeup brushes. Wash your pillow cases. Rinse your fruit and veggies before consuming, even if you buy organic.
Did you know that sugar is an immunosuppressant? Literally, consuming as little as 3.5 ounces is reported to suppress our immunity by up to 50%. Aka, don’t add sugar to anything you’re eating these next few weeks… but, don’t stop there. Sugar is sneaky, and it’s added to literally everything. Check out your daily staples, if you find added sugars check to see if you can find an alternative. A little sugar here and there isn’t going to kill us, but what we repeat daily may.
Get Some Sunshine.
Sun exposure of even 10 minutes per day has been shown to strengthen our immune systems by encouraging the production of Vitamin D.
There was a point in our world when herbs were our medicine. Some of the most powerful herbs to support the immune system are echinacea, turmeric, and dandelion root. I have found the easiest way for me to work herbs into my daily diet is through tea. I drink tea daily. The type of tea I drink depends on the current state of my body & mind.
Eat Raw Garlic.
Raw garlic is one of the most effective natural antibiotics. If I am being honest, this is what I use to treat colds when I am pregnant. It is most beneficial if consumed raw and on an empty stomach. Garlic is often recommended for: colds & flu, cough, sore throat, mastitis (used it, it worked), high blood pressure, killing parasites, ear infections and to stimulate our immune system. So, you’re sold on trying this? Great! It may be tempting to just chew up a clove and swallow, but don’t, it’s painful. It may also be tempting to just swallow a clove whole, i’ve done it, it’s fine, but it isn’t recommended because apparently a clove of garlic is the same size as our esophagus. The best way I can suggest to take raw garlic is to chop it up into thirds, and swallow it with a drink of your choice. A clove/day is recommended. If that sounds brutal, just make some garlic toast, or add chopped garlic to your avocado toast! Again, remember, it’s most beneficial on an empty stomach 🙂
What are some of your favorite natural remedies for boosting your immune system? Leave a comment below!