We are all living in a difficult and confusing time. It can also feel scary, with so much uncertainty. Many of us want to know what to do to be in the best state of health possible. Myself, I follow a combination of information from the news, epidemiologists, virologists, infectious diseases specialists, government recommendations and orders, Functional Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, my own life experience, and common sense.
What are we dealing with?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) that is now spreading like wildfire is new to humans, so we are all learning fast, at a huge cost. What we know for sure is that it is highly infectious. It can float in the air and survive on certain surfaces for 3 days, or more. That is why the measures that we should all be practicing, seriously practicing, are essential.
These include social distancing, quarantining if tested positive, being exposed, or there is suspicion of having it, staying home, washing hands, and sanitizing anything that comes into your house. Just recently, I posted a photo to instagram wearing a face mask and gloves on my way to the supermarket. It is a mask that I bought before the virus landed in the United States, for a trip to India. I have kept on using it, just out of common sense. If the droplets or particles can be in the air, there is less chance of breathing them in with a mask. Plus, the Koreans are doing it, and they did pretty well flattening the curve. I also use gloves to the supermarket and discard them when I arrive home.
What I’m doing to try to stay healthy
I also take certain supplements that are known to strengthen and support the immune system. I’m taking turmeric, ashwagandha, and moringa, vitamin C, astragalus, vitamin D, probiotics and zinc. Zinc can block RNA replication (viruses don’t have DNA, only RNA) when present inside the cell.
But the simplest and most powerful immune system boost that you can get, starts in your kitchen. What you eat, when you eat, how you eat and how often you eat will have the greatest impact on your immune system preparedness to combat the virus if it infects you, helping you to be in the best condition to try to avoid the more serious possible consequences from COVID-19.
My house rules
1) Eat real foods, without or as little as possible chemicals. Food as provided by nature, not factories. This is not a moment to accumulate chemicals that your liver will have to work hard to neutralize and that will trigger inflammatory or sensitivity reactions, all of which need energy that the immune system may need at short notice.
2) Eat the rainbow. Make sure you eat as much variability of colors in your diet. Every color is associated with nutrients that support a different function in the body. The blues and purples are brain-protecting polyphenols, for example. Load up on blueberries and blackberries. The more variability of color and species in your diet, the better chance of providing your body with all the nutrients needed for optimal function, especially immune and detox functions.
As if this were not enough, studies show that the greater the variability in color and species of plants in the diet of certain populations, the higher it correlated with a healthy and robust Intestinal Flora, and we all know now that your microbiome works closely with and for the immune system.
3) Give your digestive system frequent breaks, intermittently let it stop its activity. As a species, we are collectively always in the state of digestion. Most people are constantly in digestion mode because most people are eating all day long. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner is not a natural order of things. It is a cultural-social construct of the last 100 years. Before that we were living like the rest of the animals on the planet, feasting and fasting, intermittently, continuously.
Our genes have not fully adapted yet to eating and digesting all the time. Our immune system is directs a lot of energy to digestion because of that. I know we are all locked in the house, either with or without family, emotions running rampant and eating is so easy to do to comfort oneself. Try to focus on eating food that is supercharged with nutrients. And if you’ve been considering it, this is a perfect time to try some kind of intermittent fasting, or do the Clean Program.
I wish you and all your friends and family a safe journey in the months ahead. Keep clean, be smart, move, sleep, laugh, and stay present.
Dr Junger and the Clean Team
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