A lot of you have asked me what you can do to prevent catching the coronavirus. While it's important to remind ourselves that it's not going to be a zombie-apocalypse, with its higher-than-the-flu contagion level I think it's reasonable to be concerned and proactive.
The first thing to do, of course, is to limit your exposure. Minimize direct contact with others (hugging and handshaking), wash your hands often, and disinfect surfaces regularly (including your phone and doorknobs and other things you routinely touch).
But is there anything else you can do? Yes. You can support your immune system. I believe that a strong immune system is key in helping us NOT get sick, otherwise every single child in a classroom would get sick once a virus was present. But that's not the case, usually only a few people get sick once exposed. Proving that the terrain of the host plays a role, not just the germs.
Here are some easy ways to support your immune system.
- Get adequate sleep
Sleep is crucial for a healthy immune system. A 2008 study from Harvard showed that “people who averaged less than seven hours of sleep a night were about three times more likely to develop cold symptoms than study volunteers who got eight or more hours of sleep when exposed to the cold-causing rhinovirus. In addition, those individuals who got better quality sleep were the least likely to come down with a cold.” So make a point to prioritize your sleep.
- Focus on your gut health and diet
There has been a huge amount of research on the link between gut health and immune function. It turns out, the gut houses 70% of the cells that make up the immune system, that's no small thing. While we're just recently catching up to this in the West, we’ve known about this link in holistic medicine for centuries. Here are some tips for supporting your immune system via your gut:
- Lay off the processed foods.
- Nourish yourself with whole, fresh foods that don’t come in a box – fruits, veggies, and proteins. These contain important nutrients for your immune system like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Zinc.
- Avoid sugar and dairy. Sugar suppresses your immune system making you more likely to catch a cold, and dairy produces phlegm, which can make cold symptoms worse and linger.
- Drink bone broth. It’s basically long-simmered chicken soup. And it really is medicine, just like your grandma said.
3. Supplement strategically with powerful immune-boosters
Here are my favorite best-kept-secrets and go-tos for stopping a virus:
- Andrographis is an herbal anti-viral credited with helping to stop the spread of the Indian flu during the major epidemic of 1919. Studies have shown it helps to stimulate the immune system and can help protect against viral infections.
- Elderberry syrup is high in antioxidants and has been shown in numerous studies to play a role in preventing the flu, as well as reduce the severity and length of the flu.
- High quality, absorbable Vitamin C I like this one because it's chewable and also contains a powerful antioxidant, glutathione.
- Essential Defense. This is a classic and historic herbal formula that is amazing at fighting viruses. I wouldn't start taking this unless you think you have been exposed. You don't want to take this prophylactically for too long, because it's so "clearing".
Armed with these supplements and strategies, you are well-equipped to stay healthy amid the growing presence of the coronavirus. Best of luck and I wish you well, my friends.