Covid-19 my thoughts on staying well....
I thought I would share with you my thinking on how I will be supporting my immune system and what I am doing daily to stay safe. Everyone is different and as a nutritional therapist I work with personalised nutrition for each client so I do not want to prescribe; this advice is what I do myself and is more generalised, if you are wanting more specific advice I would urge you to speak to me in a one-off appointment or seek advice from other professionals, it is beyond my remit to give any specific advice for Covid-19.
Our immune system is very complex and is a huge subject in itself. We can see how fast and far this covid-19 virus has spread and how specialists are working so hard to find out more about it and learn from this, but I do believe there are some simple steps we can take to help support our immune system and to stay safe and as well as possible during these uncertain times.
My daily routine at the moment to stay safe and support my health is:–
· First thing in the morning – I start my day with this drink – best drunk on an empty stomach – hot water, juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a small amount of honey for taste. For me I believe this helps to awake up my digestive system and helps to balance my blood sugar. The apple cider vinegar is an anti-microbial and antioxidant with reported health benefits. The lemon juice contains high amounts of Vitamin C an antioxidant and is said to help support the immune system being antibacterial and antiviral. It can also support the digestive system and the detoxification process in the liver.
· I then have my breakfast smoothie – one that I have regularly is with a handful of spinach, ½ a banana, ½ a small avocado, nut or oat milk, protein powder and a teaspoon of Matcha green tea. Not only does the green tea give me a small boost of caffeine, particularly as I don’t drink tea or coffee, but Matcha green tea is also high in antioxidants, higher than just normal green tea, it also helps to support the liver and boost brain function.
· I will then walk my dog, being out in nature is good for the mind and soul and I am lucky that I live close to the South Downs. And during the winter months I take Vitamin D, which plays an important role in supporting our immune system and during the present times I am continuing to supplement. If you are thinking about supplementing, I would always advise you to seek professional advice. We get vitamin D from the sun, and with the improving weather, if you and your family are at home and you have a garden or can get out for a short walk I would suggest exposing your lower arms to get more sunshine and boost those levels of vitamin D.
· I work part-time in a Wellbeing Centre a couple of days a week and also work from home as a Nutritional Therapist – I believe planning and having structure to your day is important to maintain productivity and have focus. We may all be spending more time at home but maintaining some structure and routine can help you and your family.
· Connection in the coming months will be so important, stay connected to your family and friends; this can be with emails, phone calls or video calls and support the people local to you. I think it will be important if you do have to self-isolate to stay connected, I will be regularly checking in with family, friends, work colleagues and helping where I can.
· I try and do exercise daily – this can be going for an extra-long walk with the dog, normally I would go to yoga or an exercise class, but this may not be possible due to closures. I am going to schedule in extra time to do yoga – and yoga can help build strength and resilience in the face of illness. I am also lucky that I have recently invested in an indoor exercise bike and this to me has really helped me do short sharp workouts that get my heart rate up, build up a sweat and feel so much better. I would recommend finding ways to add exercise into your daily life – walking, running, cycling and I think there will be more options of virtual and online workouts and classes so make more use of these.
· Nutrition also plays a big role in keeping us healthy. I believe in my immune boosting smoothie – kale, an apple, celery, cucumber, a teaspoon of raw garlic, greens powder and some coconut water. It may not taste great but why is it good for the immune system? Raw garlic helps the immune system fight germs, both helping to prevent but also reduce the severity of colds and flu. Green powder that I use contains Hemp Protein powder, Wheatgrass powder, Barleygrass powder, Chlorella powder, Spirulina powder and sweet Pineapple powder with reported benefits of containing B12, Iron, Vitamin C and E, all of which support the normal functioning of the immune system.
· But nutrition in general is so important, for me this means eating a range of fruit and vegetables with my meals. I know with supply difficulties and panic buying it has been hard for some people, but as much as possible eating a wide variety of fruit and vegetables is important to make sure we get a range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals and antioxidants that help stop damage of oxidants produced by infections. If you can’t always get fresh, try frozen or even cans. Eat the rainbow and do what you can.
· I regularly plan and prepare the meals I am going to be eating – by planning and preparing in advance the meals you would like to cook or eat you are only buying what you need, there is less waste, and then if you cook more than you need freeze meals. You may have to plan for further ahead than normal and just keep up with the store cupboard basics – but only buy what you generally need and will use in the coming months – panic buying and over stocking is not helpful for your community as a whole.
· I keep my fluids up, by regularly drinking water and herbal teas - staying hydrated is an important part of staying healthy.
· The last part of my daily routine is to self-care, to look after my stress levels and mental health, it may mean relaxing in a bath or putting on a face mask, this helps me wind down. But it could be watching a feel-good program on Netflix – and I need to take time to switch off the worry and continuous news.
· Then sleep is the other key factor – to wind down I like to read in the evening and that helps me relax and get ready for sleep. Getting enough sleep is important - good quality sleep helps the body fight infections and recover quicker.
This is just me and my recommendations, but do what is right for you and your health, seek advice and support if needed, don’t be scared to reach out and ask for help or advice - what will get us through this pandemic is community and understanding that we are all in this together. It is also important to remember that although what is happening is worrying, by just taking government advice and controlling what we can, we are doing our best. I am a great believer in taking each day as it comes, we don’t know what will happen in the coming weeks and months, but taking good care of yourself and your loved ones is something you can do.