Boosting your immune system
It's Scary Out There...
With news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading around the world, many of us are concerned, perhaps even a little bit panicked, as the reality of a pandemic hits closer and closer to home.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC): "The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death.... Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness."
How to Protect Yourself...
There are several simple and very effective ways to keep yourself (and others) as safe as possible from COVID-19. Stay at home when you are sick, clean frequently touched surfaces, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze (use a tissue and throw it away), and frequently wash your hands with soap and water. For more information, please check out this link from the CDC.
What Else Can We Do?
From a nutrition standpoint there are also ways you can actively support your immune system during these scary times. Several nutrients are known to be integral to immune function. Vitamins C and D possess strong immune-supportive properties, while Vitamin A and Zinc are required for the development and function of immune cells. A variety of herbs and botanicals also support antibody and immune cell activity, with many displaying the ability to help lessen the severity and duration of bacterial and viral infections. Mushrooms and their active compounds also have potent immunomodulatory capacity.
As a nutritionist, my recommendations for a dietary plan to support your immune system, would include an emphasis on foods with Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A:
Seafood (Oysters, especially), Pumpkin Seed (pepitas), Sea Veggies, Beans, Lentils, Legumes
Salmon, Fatty Fish, Egg Yolks, Cheese (if not dairy sensitive), Mushrooms
Oranges, Papayas, Strawberries, Kiwi, Leafy Green Veggies
(e.g., Spinach, Bok Choy, Kale), Broccoli, Bell Peppers
Eggs, Cod Liver Oil, Orange & Yellow Fruits & Veggies,
Broccoli, Spinach, and most Dark Green Leafy Veggies
Other important recommendations for boosting our immune system include reducing dietary sugar and alcohol intake, while also working to improve sleep, manage stress, and maintain balanced physical activity (in other words, don't overdo it) during times of immune challenge.
A Little Extra Help
If you struggle to take in all the nutrients you need from your diet, or if you want a little extra boost, below are a few of the Designs for Health products I generally recommend for immune support:
Please reach out to me if you would like to talk in more detail.
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Lorie Gehrke, NC
It's all about our journeys... Here's where you'll hear from me on any number of topics, from nutrition and recipes, to grief and infant/child loss, to parenting and empty nesting, to poetry, dogs, and photos, and all things in between!