This is the first blog in our ‘Surviving the Pandemic’ blog series. First, we are starting with your health, immunity and wellbeing during this difficult time.
So far in this COVID-19 Pandemic, UK Government and WHO (World Health Organisation) have ordered strict self-isolation in attempts to contain the further spread of this deadly virus. Here in UK, we allowed out to exercise once a day, walk the dog and shop for essentials. Unless you’re a ‘Key worker’, you have been asked to stay home for the protection of yourselves and others. It is thought that it’ll take 3-6 months before the UK ‘returns to normal’. Whether you feel these measures are excessive, or necessary, you could cheaply and easily be doing more to protect yourselves and your family in this Pandemic.
Staying home is already taking a toll on many people who lead active lifestyles, and in truth, are rarely at home under normal circumstances. But here’s a few ways to boost your immunity and protection at home during these worrying times.
Vitamin C and Zinc
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) should be a regular dietary intake under normal circumstances, but during this Corona virus Pandemic, it is crucial to have high and sustained amounts of Vitamin C in your body if you are going to successfully boost your natural immunity. High levels of Vitamin C have been known to ward of pathogens and bacteria, alleviate symptoms, and if you are unfortunate enough to fall ill, reduce the length of time you are infected. Vitamin C is essential. It is a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for the maintenance and strength of your natural defences.
Zinc is a key micronutrient essential for maintaining and supporting a number of roles within the body; from boosting neurological functions to helping keep inflammation under control, thus aiding the immune system when fighting infection.
Having a zinc deficiency in our system can result in side effects like wounds and cuts take longer to heal, diarrhoea, being highly prone to getting ill, colds, flu and viruses feeling more severe and hanging on longer in our system than they should be. Zinc is ESSENTIAL for your immunity and overall health.
As we know already, Corona virus is highly contagious. Specifically, zinc activates enzymes that break down proteins in viruses and bacteria, so they are less likely to spread throughout the body. Having high levels of zinc during this outbreak is important to protect yourself and those around you.
How do I consume enough Vitamin C and Zinc?
The majority of natural Vitamin C and Zinc consumption of course comes from our food. Zinc can be found in meat, shellfish, nuts, dairy and many others, whereas you probably know Vitamin C is high in Citrus fruits, and vegetables such as Belle Peppers and Kale. However, as we are being asked to stay at home, and have been suffering food shortages on the shelves (and bog roll) for the past couple of weeks, I appreciate that fresh foods are harder to come by and unsustainable for a 3 week isolation period that the government has ordered. Your vitamin intake from fresh produce may be lower during this period as your priorities are towards dried food that stands the test of time and keeps the family fed!
This is why NATURAL supplements during this period are the BEST option for increasing your vitamins and immune function. If you are not ill, use them as a preventative, if you are, take them to reduce the symptoms, fight off the virus or cold, and protect those around you.
The Paleo Cottage doesn’t recommend anything we haven’t used and approved ourselves. BulkSupplments, provide 1000mg Vitamin C capsules and/or powder with NO ADDED sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, or additives. They are a natural supplement that’ll help boost your immunity. But if I were you, I’d be quick and get them ordered as they are temporarily running out of certain products – FAST.
The link will take you to their Vitamin C products.
This link will take you to their Zinc
Along with the right supplements to boost your immunity and overall health, Nutrition is essential during this time more than ever for both physical and mental health.
The immune system is not a single entity. Everything you do/put in or onto your body affects the overall function of immunity. There is still a lot of uncertainty about the interconnections of our body, for example there had been an awkward crossover between the science and holistic world assessing the impacts of chronic stress and negativity of our immunity and overall health. But for now, science is certain that there are essential links between nutrition and immunity.
Nutrition is about eating the foods that MAXIMISE the benefits the ingredients have to offer, for example always serving Turmeric with Black Pepper as it enhances the absorption of the active anti-inflammatory compound Curcumin by up to 2000%, and MINIMISING the damage of harmful foods, such as sugar, processed foods and gluten.
A Paleo diet/lifestyle practise this near perfectly. Clean, nutrient dense foods designed to give you the important nutrition you NEED (but may be lacking) to support your physical and mental health. Adopting a Paleo diet now, will mean healing the damage the current ‘mass produced’ cereal, sugar, carbohydrate, and dairy dense diet has done to your body, mind and of course immunity. And, with UK supermarkets in the last day few days enforcing strict rules against stock piling, there is now more food to go around again. Take a look at the short list below to get you started:
- Organic vegetables (not corn because that’s a grain)
- Seafood and Fish
- Grass-fed and finished meat (where practicable)
- Free-Range Eggs
- Nuts and Seeds (not peanuts as they are legumes)
- Herbs and Spices
- Healthy oils (coconut, olive oil, avocado, flax, ghee)
To find out more about Paleo Dos and Don’ts, check out the blog What is Paleo?
Avoid What’s Harmful
I briefly touched on foods to avoid that do more harm to your mind and body than anything else. Here’s a list of the foods to avoid.
- Refined Sugars
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed foods (most pre-packaged foods full of additives)
- Grains (wheat, oats, barley, rice, etc)
- Dairy products (cow derived, cheese, milk etc.)
- Legumes (peanuts, beans, lentils, soy)
Damaging foods are not the only thing to avoid to ensure your health and wellbeing. Negative habits such as smoking, chronic stress, and sleep deprivation all have an impact of your immunity and mental health.
Exercise has been shown to improve both physical and mental performance. Regular exercise can help your sleep (integral for immunity), improve your mood, increase productivity and energy levels. Some studies have shown that ‘moderate intensity’ has improvements to your immunity, not to mention your mental health. This can include a 30-minute walk set at a good pace. Moderate exercise, for example it gets your blood pumping and slow down the release of stress hormones. It can also help shift and get rid of infected mucus in the back of your throat and sinus.
Exercise is an import step to take to boost your immunity and overall health during this isolation period. If you don’t know where to begin, don’t stress. There are plenty of videos online for beginners which include Yoga, Pilates (both easily done at home) and more intense workouts like Callisthenics and HIIT.
Read onto the next section and find out how you can help your immunity by avoiding stress and improving your sleep patterns.
Chronic Stress, Meditation and Sleep
If you have been stressed over a long period of time, it is considered to be Chronic Stress. This can affect your physical and mental health significantly (more on mental health in our next blog on the Pandemic), including lowering your immunity and making your more vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. It is important, in this time to avoid what is harming you to give yourself the best chance of staying healthy. This includes finally removing stressful factors that have been, and still are harming your health.
But how can we work towards reducing your stress levels? One way, is Meditation. The focus of the mind to achieve calm, presence and mental clarity.
How do you Meditate?
- Remove all distractions from your vicinity, including any electronic devices. Find a comfortable chair or lie down in a comfortable position.
- Focus on your breathing. Inhale for 10 counts, then hold your breath for 10 counts. Exhale for 10 counts. Repeat five times. Put all your attention into every breath, allow your thoughts to disappear with every breath.
- Inhale and tense your body. Pause, relax, and exhale. Repeat five times.
- Notice your breath and body. If a body part feels tight, consciously relax it.
- When a thought comes up, slowly return your focus to just your breathing. If you fall sleep, just let it happen and have a nap.
With insufficient sleep, your body makes fewer Cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep making it valuable for our immunity.
Meditation can, and if done properly will improve your sleep. However, it may not be an overnight fix (no pun intended), so be patient with yourself – these are very stressful times only if you allow them to be.
Start by meditating for approx. 5 minutes at first once you are comfortable, slowly increasing the time to around 15-20 minutes when you learn to quiet your mind. If you need help achieving Mindfulness and Relaxation during this isolation period, and generally, I recommend using LSW Mind Cards. They focus on guided meditation to help you achieve reflection, ritual and happiness and of course peace. Click the LINK, have an explore of the website and choose only what is right for you.
These are a few simple steps that can be adopted into your quarantined lifestyle over the next few weeks.
Earlier, I spoke of supplementing your diet to maximise the vitamins and minerals essential for boosting your overall health and immunity. The Paleo Cottage has teamed up with BulkSupplements.com to deliver you some of the best nutritional supplements out there. They have products for gut health, joint and bone support and relief, and my personal favourite the Turmeric powder.
The moral of the story is all aspects of your lifestyle affect your overall health and immunity. For example, nutrition can heal your body, support a healthy mindset or hinder both if you eat the harmful foods. Inactivity can cause joint pain, the feeling of being stuck in a rut, and a decrease in a healthy mental state. Thus, exercise is important for both mental and physical immunity. We know sleep is integral for the body to repair. If you are unable to sleep because of stress and worry, try meditation, and nap for no more 30 minutes a couple of times in the day so you don’t become too fatigued.
These are all steps that can be taken during this isolation period to help out immunity during this time. Click the link below and check out BulkSupplements.com and stock up on the essentials to stay healthy during this Pandemic.
Remember, stick to government guidelines and practice social distancing, wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water and stay indoors unless it’s necessary to leave.
We only affiliate with companies that we have tried, tested and approved to align with a Paleo lifestyle and out company ethics. We may receive small commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We only affiliate with companies we have tried, tested and approved ourselves. They must first align with the ethics of The Paleo Cottage and a Paleo Lifestyle. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.
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