How to stay strong during the Coronavirus
While many of us are practicing the safest of measures during this time, it is good to know that whatever we do must tackle our immunity and help us with our gut. Two pillars of health at the moment which will keep everything at bay. I have been putting out a lot of information on this subject.
Think of your immune system as the gatekeeper to your health. It protects you against external pathogens, parasites, viruses and most of all disease. Your immune system is further classified into the innate immune system and adaptive immune system. If you have a cut, bruise or injury, your innate immune system kicks in. The adaptive immune system has its own memory and remembers past injuries. When your system is attacked repeatedly by a host of bad microorganisms, your innate and adaptive immune systems have to keep changing gears, which overtaxes them. Now while fighting these invaders, antibodies (basically proteins created in response to driving harmful pathogens out) are created by the immune system. To protect you, the antibodies attack healthy cell tissue as well—creating a state of chaos within the body. ‘Our gut microbes communicate constantly with the part of the immune system located in the intestine.’
These conversations, help our body discriminate between harmless entities like food or havoc-creating microorganisms like salmonella. It is the microbiota that helps train the immune system to make the distinction.
Excerpt from The Detox Diet – a must read during these turbulent times, on how to strengthen the gut bacteria.
First of all, for your immune system to be on top, you must have a diet that is devoid of eating junk. This is a time you will reach for sugars, perhaps even alcohol (in excess) as the condition of being quarantined, and living away from people for so long makes you contracted; by this I mean makes it a pressured situation. In the Macrobiotic lineage we term this as a ‘yang’ environment. Eating hard baked or roasted dry snacks, like most Indians do with their tea, is also producing the same situation – a ‘yang’ contracted situation. Therefore, we need to make balance with foods in such a situation.
Avoiding the following foods will help in building a stronger immunity, and cause less of a toxic build-up in the body causing inflammation, the following foods are pro-inflammation:
- White refined flour, even gluten (which in the Indian scenario means whole wheat flour).
- Processed foods.
- Refined foods.
- Cured meats (easy to cook and preserved.
- Dry roasted snacks (what we Indians call farsaan).
- Excessive alcohol.
- Commercial bread made with refined white flour.
- Artificial Sweeteners.
- Avoid use of excess tobacco, recreational drugs, vaping (These habits will weaken your lungs and digestive system
We must make balance my eating foods, which bring in the right qualities of yin and yang energy.
This means including the following:
- A good whole grain: brown rice/millets.
- A good lentil/beans (all Indian dals or whole beans).
- All vegetables, especially leafy greens and colored vegetables (beta-carotene should be kept up as it converts to Vitamin A; which helps antibodies respond to toxins).
- Stay more plant-based at this time.
- Add a fermented food – The gut microbiome needs to be strengthened at this point in time. Add foods like: sauerkraut, kimchi, quick pickles and kanji.
- Hydrate anywhere up to 3 litres of liquids a day.
- Vitamin C – we need it in these times, a good food that will bring this in is lemons (will help increase blood levels of antibodies and helps to lymphocytes i.e., white blood cells).
- Use ginger, its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
- Use star anise (Chakra phool) it will help with indigestion.
- Use oregano oil, my previous blog has a recipe on how to make it, it’s an antiseptic and and has a strong impact on immunity.
- Add Vitamin D or sit in the sun for 20 minutes (helps protect against acute respiratory tract infections: add foods like oily fish, tofu, leafy greens and mushrooms).
- Add zinc impacts the immune system positively (plant-based food sources: chickpeas, most whole beans, tofu, nuts, seeds).
Add the following to your daily routine:
- Do nasal irrigation daily (see previous blog with video).
- Workout and movement.
- Don’t skimp on sleep.
Use ‘Immune boosters’ – Mushrooms
Good to take a couple of times a week. A supplement that has a blend or one mushroom is good. Here is how they compare with each other –
- Shiitake Mushroom: Fights cancer cells and infectious disease, boosts the immune system, promotes brain function, and serves as a source of B vitamins.
- Reishi – Helps liver issues, helps digestive, fatigue, cancer and fights inflammation.
- Maitake: Improves the health of AIDS patients and regulates blood sugar levels of diabetics. May reduce hypertension and boosts the immune system.
- Cordyceps – helps liver, boosts immunity, is good for sugar balance, will impact stamina.