Boosting Your Immune System: Back to Basics

As we all think about social distancing, face masks, sterilization, hand washing and the like, I just wanted to make sure you don’t forget the basics of protecting your health and keeping your immune system functioning well.

  1. Drink at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water a day (3/4 even better).
  2. Eat a healthy diet. For most of us this means decreasing grain-based carbs (bread, pasta, desserts, white potatoes, rice) significantly and replacing them with healthy sources of protein (beans, legumes, grassfed and pastured meat and eggs) and fat (avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, olives). Eat 5-9 servings of a moving variety of fruits and vegetables a day. See my breakfast photo for how you can amp up your breakfast and start the day right: that’s sauteed spinach, sauteed avocado slices, hash browns made with grated purple sweet potato, sauteed zucchini. See how many colors you can get on a plate. Use fruit or dark chocolate (70%+) as your after dinner sweet. Get lots of fiber from root vegetables, lentils, beans, wild rice, quinoa and other whole grains (preferably not ground into flour). But think of the grain or starch portion of your meal as the side dish – it should only cover 1/8 of your plate (for women that’s like 1/2 cup; men 1 cup), non-starchy fruits and veggies should cover 3/8 to 1/2, Protein 1/4, healthy fats 1/4 (not in size but in terms of servings/calories). Use almond flour for baking instead of white or whole wheat flour. If you can’t give up your sources of white grains, you can greatly reduce their impact by cooling and reheating (potatoes, rice, pasta). This creates resistant starch that your body can’t digest but your good gut bacteria can.
  3. Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
  4. Get 20-30 minutes of sunshine unprotected by sunscreen (but protect your face with a hat).
  5. Get regular, daily movement (it’s never been a better time for a walk around the neighborhood). Look for online workout videos. I keep an aerobic step in my living room and do my exercise there while watching TV.
  6. It’s never been a better time to quit smoking.
  7. Continue positive social interaction in whatever way is possible. We’ve done 6-ft. happy hours with our neighbors, we’re planning a zoom happy hour with distant friends and family, you can still take walks/hikes with friends unless you’re in one of the most vulnerable groups (then maybe just keep more distant).
  8. Engage in some type of calming or meditative practice, especially if you are feeling anxious. Possibilities include contemplative prayer, EFT, yoga, tai chi, meditation, yoga nidra and many more.
  9. Laugh.
  10. Keep your bowels moving regularly. Add fiber to your diet (Sun Fiber, psyllium husk or other natural source) and/or magnesium citrate until you’re going at least once a day with ease.

    Be well!

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