Right now everyone is worried about the Corona Virus (COVID-19) outbreak. But as many have pointed out, the flu is more widespread that COVID-19 and causes more deaths every year. Both the flu and COVID-19 are especially deadly for those with compromised immune systems. So it’s important that, Corona or not, flu-season or not, we do what we can to have a healthy immune system.
Sugar negatively affects our immune system in dozens of ways: It can overload the body’s insulin-production, causing permanent damage that results in Type II Diabetes. Diabetes is the single biggest concern for doctors when they talk about the immuno-compromised population.
Among other things, sugar can interrupt the body’s uptake of important vitamins and the hormone
process essential in fighting disease. It is also a major contributor to inflammation, leading to auto-immune diseases like arthritis, cardio-vascular disease and dementia.
The Number One Most Important Thing you can do for your health: eliminate sugar (and its cousin, high-fructose corn syrup) from your diet.
- gives you a feeling of satiety, so it helps you lose weight. Obesity is the number one predictor in a variety of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease.
- helps lower cholesterol.
- improves gut health. Healthy probiotics thrive when your diet has plenty of fiber.
- is a natural de-tox. Fiber binds to inert and potentially harmful ingredients in food, ensuring they are efficiently eliminated from the body.
- can prevent certain types of cancer.
- helps with the body’s uptake of essential vitamins and nutrients.
For best results, you want to have both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet.
If it has an asterisk, click it for instructions on how to make it yourself.
A video of my youngest son trying Natto for the first time. He tells his Japanese host that it’s “not bad” and they are pleased to hear it. I’ll just have take him at his word because it looks…yuck! It’s a great source of pro-biotics. So maybe it’s worth a try?
We all know that pro-biotics, those microorganisms that are found in yogurt and kefir, are important to digestive health. But the health benefits of pro-biotics goes way beyond good digestion. Pro-biotics play a crucial role in your overall health. They help to keep your heart healthy, they help your body to assimilate important nutrients. Studies show that they are also crucial to good mental health. Google “gut second brain” to see the many connections between good digestive health and mental health.
Many medicines, most notably antibiotics can reduce or completely eradicate all the good bacteria in your digestive tract. Sugar feeds the yeast in the digestive tract which in turn will diminish the good bacteria. So you need to be constantly replenishing the your body with pro-biotics.
As you study about the benefits of pro-biotics, you’ll see that different strains have different benefits for the body. That’s why it’s not enough to just take a lot of live cells, you also want a wide variety of strains. For example, yogurt typically only contains two, maybe four or five, culture strains, mostly Bifidum and Lactobacillus strains. But there are literally dozens of strains besides what’s in yogurt.
To ensure you are getting diverse strains of pro-biotics in your diet, don’t just eat yogurt. Try to eat a variety of foods that are rich in pro-biotics. Yes, yogurt is really good for you and it’s yummy. But there are lots of other yummy foods (and not-so-yummy!) rich in pro-biotics. See the side bar to the left for some of them. Bonus just for my readers: I have instructions on how to make almost all of these foods. Click the foods marked with an “*” to get instructions on how to make it.
And just to be sure you’re getting a good variety of pro-biotics, you could also take pro-biotic tablets. When you buy pro-biotic tablets, look for something that has 12 or more strains and 5-10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) of each strain.
Take the important vitamins
Go into any health food store and you will be overwhelmed by the myriad vitamins that you can buy for “good health.” They probably all help in some way, some more than others. But here are the vitamins crucial to good health (and links to information on why they are so important.)
- Vitamin A is involved in the development of the immune system and plays regulatory roles in cellular immune responses. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
- Vitamin B is a family of vitamins: B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, etc are all part of the B-vitamin complex and all of them helps support good health in different ways. B6 and B12, for example are essential to a healthy brain. Niacin helps the body access the energy in our food. The B vitamins are all water soluble so the body cannot store them. That means you need a good supply of B-vitamins every day. It also means that when you are under stress—lack of sleep or fighting illness—your body burns through the B’s a lot faster.
- Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s natural defenses. It also plays a key role in preventing heart disease and high blood pressure. Like the B vitamins, it is also water soluble. So you need to get a good dose every day and maybe some extra when you are under physical or emotional stress.
- Vitamin D plays a key role in the production and protection of T-cells and white blood cells, your body’s foot soldiers in the war against infections and viruses. Numerous studies show that Vitamin D plays a major role in how well a person’s immune system responds to fighting the COVID-19 virus.
- Magnesium, the lone mineral on this list, is often paired with Calcium. Indeed, the two minerals work hand-in-hand to create strong bones and healthy hair and teeth. They are also an essential part of healthy nerve function. But Magnesium is often overlooked. It’s not just how much Magnesium you’re getting that’s important, it’s also the ratio of Calcium to Magnesium. Too much Calcium and your body can’t access the Magnesium. Nutrionists have said for years that you should have a 2:1 ratio of Calcium to Magnesium in your diet. But the Cal:Mag ratio in milk is 12:1 and the ratio in many other foods is similarly unbalanced. Some scientists are questioning this ratio, saying you need much more
magnesium-to-calcium than previously thought. Additionally, studies show that an increase in Magnesium is especially helpful in treating depression and other forms of mental illness.
Bottom line: for optimal health, you should probably be taking a lot more magnesium than you are.
The research on how these vitamins impact our health is ongoing and that can make it hard to keep up on the latest in vitamin health. So don’t take my word for it. Do a thorough online search to determine how to best use these vitamins to ensure you have optimal health.
Wash your hands
While eliminating sugar may be the most important thing you can do for your over-all health, hand washing is the single most important factor to stopping the spread of disease.
And no. Hand sanitizers are not enough. Besides being inadequate, studies show the increased use of
hand sanitizers has resulted in germ strains that are resistant to sanitizers. There really is no substitute for hand washing.
A. Good. Long. Thorough. Handwashing.
Wash for at least 30 seconds, making sure to get under the nails.
Take a deep breath
It’s not helpful to caught up in the media hype of a pandemic. And it can cause unnecessary anxiety. If you are taking steps to boost your immune system and prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, put your mind at rest. You’ve done what you can to stay healthy. The rest is in God’s and the doctors’ hands.