Many people will get the virus, it is very contagious. The majority will not get sick or will recover. But it is dangerous to those who are older and/or those with compromised immune systems. At this point what can each of us do?
First: Don’t panic – that leads to stress which compromises your immune system. We need to maintain the strongest immune system possible as a defense against the virus, there is no vaccine at the moment. What is the immune system? “It creates, stores, and distributes white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses that enter your body” (WebMD)
Second: Honestly, stay home if you are even slightly sick. Shortness of breath/fever are things to get checked out.
Third: Wash your hands carefully for at least 20 seconds with soap & water. Tops, underside and between fingers. Do not turn off the faucet with clean hands, use a paper towel. If in a restaurant or store, use a paper towel to leave the bathroom. After leaving any public area clean your hands. Best with soap and water but hand sanitizer too. Germs can live on surfaces for hours/days. We don’t know how long this virus lasts on surfaces (doorknobs, countertops, steering wheels, telephones, shopping carts, refrigerator door handles, and bathroom faucets/doorknobs)
Lastly, maintain a strong immune system, particularly with respect to the respiratory system. How do you do that?
- Get enough sleep (most adults need 7-8 hours, teenagers more, younger even more)
- Drink water (stay hydrated – avoid too much caffeine)
- Eat fresh veggies/fruit
- Do some exercise (walking). Some evidence that exercise may flush bacteria out of the lungs, it also causes white blood cells to circulate more rapidly, allowing your immune system to detect illnesses earlier.
- Reduce stress (e.g., quiet time, yoga, listen to favorite music, play with kids, watch a fun movie or comedy, go for a walk outdoors).
- Try not to consume too much sugar, processed foods, or conventional foods listed on the dirty dozen (most contaminated with chemicals). All of these are inflammatory and will weaken your immune system (see EWG website for full list of most contaminated produce). Dirty Dozen: strawberries, spinach, kale, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes.
- If you are taking medication or are over 60, try to each more organic fresh veggies (green) and fruits (citrus). Medications and age can block your body’s ability to absorb all the nutrients/vitamins/minerals your body needs to stay healthy. Supplements aren’t as effective as whole, fresh, organic food.
- Drink freshly brewed tea daily (alkylamines in tea strengthen the immune system). Black, green, & oolong are high in antioxidants.
- Eat garlic daily (fresh is best – after cutting, let sit for 5 minutes to ensure all of the benefits will be available to you).
- Eat more turmeric (the source of curcumin – great for immunity) & ginger (antioxidant, powerful antiviral). Fresh Roots available at HEB, also available in spice area as a powder. Eat or drink with black pepper which increases the absorption of the curcumin exceptionally.
- Consume Citrus and Red bell peppers – great sources of vitamin C (fresh is always best – vitamin C doesn’t have a long shelf life)
- Make some homemade bone broth – get a roasted chicken, take off the meat and then break the bones and simmer for 2 hours or more. Add turmeric/black pepper, carrots, celery, and parsley.
- Consume more fermented foods (ones with live bacteria). Yogurt/kefir with no sugar, sauerkraut & Kimchi (has to be refrigerated kind). Your gut health is more closely related to your overall health than anyone knew. Just don’t consume fermented foods high in sugar or highly processed such that there are no bacteria. Eighty percent of your immune cells reside in your gut/intestine. Increase fiber intake to feed the probiotics (prebiotics).
- Overall, it is best to get vitamins, minerals through food. These are vitamins/minerals that can make a difference in a healthy immune system: Vitamin D, C, B, E, zinc. How to get them naturally:
- Vitamin D – (supercharges immune system) 15-20 minutes of sunshine without sunscreen (morning sun), consider quality supplement too,
- Vitamin C (helps boost white blood cells which fight infection) – fresh citrus, red bell peppers, broccoli, organic spinach ),
- Vitamin B – liquid drops (HEB), nutritional yeast (in our quezo at NGJJ).
- B6 (homemade chicken bone broth, sunflower seeds, greens, chickpeas) – important for biochemical reactions in your immune system.
- Vitamin E- necessary for proper immune functioning, fat soluble so must be eaten with fat, almonds have fat and ½ cup serving all you need daily (seeds, spinach).
- Zinc (is needed for your immune system to work properly) – shellfish (crab, clams, lobster, mussels). Please note that taking too much of a vitamin (supplements) can be harmful (i.e., zinc – too much can hurt the immune system)
At the Northgate Juice Joint, part of our mission is education and community support. Hopefully, this blog will help you strengthen your immunity. We also have juices, smoothies and food made from fresh/organic turmeric, garlic, ginger, parsley, apples, citrus, zinc, greens, herbs etc. As a public service, we will also be giving away free Immunity Boosters (2 oz. shots) made with fresh herbs, roots, fruit, veggies on Wednesday March 18th from 8-10am.