Wow! How things are shifting since WHO has declared COVID-19 as a pandemic: there are closed borders, social distancing, self-isolation, and cultural and sporting events have been cancelled or postponed. Yes, there is also some rushed and probably unjustified panic shopping going on too. So, I can see how that can heighten anxiety levels (my last blog post), although it can feel like the situation is out of control, there are still plenty of things you can do to protect your health and that of the people around you.
First, Do This …
Follow your national health agency’s guidance and steps for preventing the spread COVID-19
- Regularly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds
- Practice social distancing (2 meters or 6 feet between people)
- Avoiding touching your face
- And if you or someone you know has traveled, have another staycation – at home for at least 10 to 14 days
- Stay at home if you can, reducing non-essential local travelling
All of these steps will help in protecting not only yourself, but also at-risk groups including people with existing health conditions, the elderly and pregnant women.
Next, Some Unique Steps To Help Yourself, From The Inside Out …
As well as protecting yourself from the virus on the outside, you can also build up your defenses, from the inside by strengthening your immune system.
A Quick Look At Inside …
The immune system is complex and highly responsive to the world around us, so it’s not surprising that many factors affect its function. What’s important to know is that most of these factors are not hard-coded in our genes, but are influenced by lifestyle and the world around us.
So what can you do right now? (well, within the next few hours) . . .
You can control the health of the trillions of microbes living in your gut, collectively known as the microbiome by the foods that you choose to eat
(plus: good rest/sleep, hydration, getting some activity/exercise in, and reducing stressors).
Some Research Tidbits … (Because I like Scientificy Stuff)
- Research has shown that the gut microbiome plays an essential role in the body’s immune response to infection and in maintaining overall health.
- Providing a response to infectious pathogens like a virus, a healthy gut microbiome can help to prevent potentially dangerous immune over-reactions that may have some damaging effects with the lungs and other vital organs.
Your Challenge, Working Towards The Quadruple Effect:
A Healthier Gut + A Healthier Microbiome = A Happier & Healthier Body And Mind
While there are some ways to “boost/support” your immune system through supplements, the one thing that has the biggest factor, is the food that you eat. What you consume via food has impact on the range and type of microbes in your gut.
The goal: A diverse microbiome to have a healthier microbiome (healthier gut and happier body and mind).
Some Ways To Eat To Feed Your Microbiome
One of the better ways to increase microbiome diversity is by eating a wide range of plant-based foods:
- those that are higher in fibre
- reducing the ultra-processed foods (including junk food)
- trying out a Mediterranean-based nutrition plan (since it has been shown to improve gut microbiome diversity and reduce inflammation)
- getting plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains
- having healthy fats like high-quality extra virgin olive oil
- going for lean meat or fish
- and having less alcohol (towards none),
- also less (towards none) salt, sweets and sugary drinks, and artificial sweeteners or other additives
Right now, If you are concerned about getting hold of fresh produce while self-isolating or quarantined, frozen fruit, berries and vegetables are just as healthy as their fresh counterparts and will last much longer than the currently recommended two-week isolation period.
Some other ways to support your microbiome are by regularly eating natural yogurt and artisan cheeses, which contain live microbes (probiotics).
Another source of natural probiotics are bacteria and yeast-rich drinks like kefir (fermented milk) or kombucha (fermented tea). Fermented vegetable-based foods, such as Korean kimchi (and German sauerkraut) are another good option.
I am here for you. To help you on your journey for a healthier gut, microbiome, and happier body & mind, next month I will make available for a limited time, a free copy of Gut Health (see below).
So make sure you follow the Other Pain Clinic’s blog posts and website.
Committed to your health,
CEO & Chief Medical Exercise Specialist @ the Other Pain Clinic Inc.™