There is a very contagious virus that has swept through the land and across the globe over the last 8 months or so. We are living through an unprecedented type of response aimed at slowing the transmission rate – or so we are told. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay home. Do not visit your grandparents. Do not go to church. Do not assemble in groups ( unless you are protesting/rioting against one certain thing ) Be afraid. Be very afraid.
What is stunningly absent in all the advice about how to stay safe is mention of measures to promote good health and a strong immune system. It seems inevitable that we are going to be exposed to covid-19 at some point, just like we are to hundreds of other viruses and microbes and bacteria all the time. Fortunately our bodies are pretty amazing in their ability to fight off and recover from all kinds of sickness when we keep them strong. Things like getting enough sleep; finding ways to regularly relax and de-stress; staying hydrated; eating a clean, colorful, healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber; practicing good hygiene; eliminating or reducing our use of harmful chemicals; spending time outdoors, moving our bodies and strengthening our muscles and heart and lungs – all these things help keep our bodies and immune systems strong.
According to PennMedicine.org , some signs of a weakened immune system are ongoing digestive issues, chronic fatigue, frequent colds or infections, recurring inflammation. Some of the things that contribute to a weak immune system are an unhealthy diet, poor sleep habits, high stress levels, underlying illness.
Other sources cite exposure to harmful household chemicals and repeated rounds of antibiotics as contributors to a weakened immune system. Research shows that 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract, and low levels of healthy gut bacteria also weaken your body’s immune response.
It isn’t that hard to do a little research and find sound advice and good suggestions for things you can do. I take a daily multi-vitamin supplement and extra vitamin C and D3. I’ve also just recently added zinc and quercetin supplements. I drink a [almost] daily smoothie that includes almond milk, berries, okra, spinach, collagen powder, stevia and plain Greek yogurt or whey protein. I eat oatmeal, avocados, eggs, chicken, salmon, cruciferous veggies, olive oil, dark chocolate, coconut, nuts & seeds frequently. I drink water and lots of different kinds of teas – herbal, green, oolong, rooibos – and an occasional glass of wine. I have cut way back on sugar and gluten, although I do love to bake and indulge on special occasions.
I have also eliminated a whole lot of toxins from my home by eliminating toxic cleaning products and using more natural methods. I use microfiber cleaning cloths to mechanically remove bacteria, rather than using harsh chemicals to kill bacteria. I switched to much gentler yet still effective laundry detergent and bathroom cleaners, and use vinegar, baking soda, castille soap, and hot water. I boil water with whole spices and diffuse essential oils instead of burn candles or spray air fresheners in my home.
I rarely get sick.
There is also lots of evidence that our physical health is tied to our emotional and spiritual well-being. What are the things that make you happy? That lift your spirits? I love fresh flowers, romantic stories, being creative, listening to music, kissing my husband, spending time with my family – especially my little grandson! I try to limit my exposure to stress [ negative people and pretty much all “news” these days] and spend more time praying, journaling, and reading my Bible.
Just this morning I saw a Facebook post that shared a doctor’s back-to-school message advising people that “boosting” their immune system with supplements, superfoods, essential oils, etc was useless, and only good sanitary practices and vaccines would keep them healthy. That seems pretty short-sighted to me. It causes confusion when the medical community doesn’t agree, and offers vastly different advice. The best I can do is read and research as much as I can, consider the sources, and make choices that seem right to me.
I realize we live in a fallen world and our bodies and health suffer because of it. But the design of our Creator is still perfect and remarkable, and it makes good sense to me – common sense, you might say – to keep my body, my mind, and my spirit strong by using as many of the tools as I have available.