The Coronavirus is a class of viruses that has been identified as a threat to human health. The current COVID-19 virus represents a new strain that first originated in China in December 2019. There is a lot of contradictory information, and it’s easy for us to get confused and overwhelmed, including myself. However, as a health coach, I’m here to give the best advice from the natural health point of view and to provide you with practical tips.

This pandemic has affected over 160 countries worldwide with the epicentre in Europe. According to the information we have, this is a serious outbreak. The virus affects mostly elderly people over 70 years of age, especially those with chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. Other factors that weaken our immune system include leaky guts, autoimmune conditions, smoking and diets high in processed foods, bad fats and sugars.

The health of the immune system depends on various factors like age, current health conditions, stress levels, level of self-care routine, state of your liver and how you currently deal with your health condition, if you have any. In a normally healthy individual, the immune system starts responding as soon as it detects the virus. Our B cells, T cells, antibodies, white blood cells and lymphatic system are all involved in this defense. They are less responsive when our immune systems are compromised by factors such as old age and certain health conditions.

Even though some online articles state that you can’t do anything to strengthen your immune system, this is a lie. Research that has been done on similar outbreaks says otherwise. We still don’t know how natural medicine can treat the coronavirus. We can only learn from what has worked in the past. You can definitely boost your system with herbals, natural supplements and practices. To balance your immune system there’s no particular product, herb or a factor that can miraculously fix the whole immune system. It’s a very complex set of organs and functions. Different factors need to be looked at in order to strengthen and balance it. These include nutrition, supplements and lifestyle factors. I need to emphasise that it’s crucial to lead healthy lifestyles, whether or not we’re exposed to the pandemic. lf we’ve laid a proper foundation in terms of lifestyle and immunity, we can prevent many illnesses and will be better able to fight viruses.

NUTRITION TIPS

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES
These are great for our liver support due to sulphorophane compound found in them. Eat more broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and cabbage. Try to eat them raw.

GREENS 
If you don’t eat these regularly, now is the time to do it. Include baby spinach, spinach, watercress, arugula, kale, bok choy and sprouts in your diet. We don’t always get all the greens that we need in a single sitting, which is why it’s also a good idea to supplement our diet with powdered greens such as mixed green powder, spirulina, chlorella, wheat grass, barley grass and kelp.

ANTIOXIDANT RICH FOODS
Increase your intake of foods that are naturally high in antioxidants and in vitamin C, both of which boost your immune system. Some examples include cherries, citrus fruits, melon, red peppers and leafy greens. You could also incorporate raw ginger and garlic into your diet. Garlic contains sulphur, which is also great for your heart. Eat it raw if you can.You can blend garlic and ginger in your juicer to create a powerful vitamin shot. You can also make  ginger tea with lemon and mint in the evening.

LIMIT SUGAR INTAKE
High sugar diets create problems for health and lead to various illnesses such as diabetes and obesity. Refined sugar interferes with your white blood cells’ ability to reduce inflammation in your body. Staying away from sugar in the form of added or sugary foods and drinks will protect you and boost your body’s immunity in the long run.

AVOID PROCESSED FOODS
Avoid these foods as much as you can. The focus should be on whole foods. They should make up 70-80% of your diet. This way, you’ll get a variety of foods and nutrients into your body. The greater the variety of foods in your diet, the more nutrients you’ll get. Be sure to include fresh fruits and vegetables of all colors, nuts, seeds, whole grains and herbs. Nuts and seeds help the the body to absorb fat soluble vitamins like vitamin D.

HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
When you drink enough water, it helps your blood to carry oxygen throughout your body. It also helps your liver to flush toxins out of your system. It moisturizes your skin, eyes and mouth. Be creative with it. Add fresh lemon or lime juice, or pieces of cucumber, mint, ginger, basil, orange and berries. Add more green tea and matcha (concentrated green tea powder) and herbal teas such as dandelion.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

SANITIZE SAFELY
Choose safer and more natural products to use at home and when you’re on the go. I recommend alcohol-based sanitizer, which kills germs. Be aware of chemicals such as Triclosan and Benzalkonium Chloride (if you have products that contain them, just finish them first). Tee tree oil is a great antiseptic . You can make your own hand washing gel and sanitizer by mixing glycerin, alcohol, aloe vera and essential oils like tee tree, lemon grass, peppermint and orange.

MOVE YOUR BODY
Exercise has been proven to be beneficial for both our physical and mental health. Movement is important for the lymphatic system, to move it and detox via sweat at the same time. Find what works for you. Moderate workouts are key. Don’t overdo it as this puts your body under stress. Long-distance activities such as marathon running or cycling have been linked to immunosupression. Walking, dancing and jumping up and down are good forms of exercise. It’s essential to move because it helps your body to flush out cortisol.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Sleeping sound and well is really important for immunity. People who don’t get enough sleep or who have disturbed sleeping patterns are more likely to get sick after being exposed to the virus. Sleep is vital for your recovery, too. Be sure to get 7-9 hours sleep every night. Remember that it’s quality over quantity. To sleep well, ensure that you follow a night time routine. What you do in the day also sets the tone for your quality of sleep later.

INCLUDE ESSENTIAL OILS
These can be used to de-stress during this difficult time. There’s no need to overreact, stress or panic. To lower cortisol before bed, use oils like sandalwood, lavender, cedar wood and rose. You can diffuse them or mix them with a carrier oil and rub them onto your neck, wrists or the soles of your feet.

HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS

Include VITAMIN C, VITAMIN D, B12 AND B COMPLEX, ZINC, MAGNESIUM and  GLUTATHIONE in your daily regimen.

VITAMIN C
This is especially important vitamin, so include higher regular dosages. The liposomal variety is much easier for your body to absorb. The recommended daily allowance of  1000 mg has been shown to be insufficient for preventing viral infections, which means that you need higher doses. When you’re sick, you might need dosages of 10 000 mg per day or more. However, be careful. High dosages may cause loose stools. Glutathione is a master antioxidant, so be sure to include foods with a high quantity or take a supplement.

VITAMIN D3
I prefer the plant variety, is often hard to get via diet alone, especially if your diet is plant-based. It is important to spend several minutes (depending on your skin type) in the sun every day without sunscreen. Take extra vitamin D supplement of good quality, especially if your levels are low. I personally take 2000-5000 UID per day.

PROBIOTICS
are crucial for your gut health and to balance bacteria in your microbiome. 70-80% of your immunity lies in your digestive tract. To restore your gut lining, include plant-based collagen, like sea moss into your diet. You can drink it as a tea or mix into your food because of it’s gel-like consistency. Opt for quality probiotics of various strains with 10 billion or more colony-forming units. Stick with them for 3 months and see if they work for you.

OLIVE LEAF
This herb has antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. It has been used to help fight infections, improve the immune system and combat inflammation.

ECHINACEA
Echinacea increases your white blood cells as well as their antiviral properties, which helps to protect your body against respiratory infections. The three effective types are E.Purpurea, E.Augustifolia and E.Pallida.

COLLOIDAL SILVER
has been used in medicine since ancient times. It’s a mixture of pure silver in water. It kills the virus by depriving it of oxygen so that it cannot harm the body.

EGCG
is more suitable for long term use than olive leaf and is well tolerated. It protect your body against viruses but is also great for the prevention of neuro-degeneration.

ADAPTOGENS
Adapt to your body’s needs so that it’s better able to deal with stress. They also bring your system into harmony. One of the best adaptogens is Ashwagandha, which is full of antioxidants. Others include ginseng , rhodiola and chaga mushrooms. They help you to de-stress, support healthy cortisol levels and calm you throughout the day.

Always consult with a physician before you start taking supplements.

EMOTIONAL/MENTAL SUGGESTIONS

EASE ANXIETY
It can be overwhelming to experience difficult times and challenges such as being under quarantine. This causes feelings of depression and anxiety. Go about your day as usual. Create a routine that is sustainable and fill your day with mood boosting activities. Be sure to go outside and into the sun to get some much needed vitamin D. Reduce stress and anxiety by deep breathing, doing exercise, coloring in and journaling.

GET COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT DURING HARD TIMES
Fear, anger and lack of control are emotions that pop up during times like these. You need to trust yourself and find copying mechanisms that will help you to get through them. The various restrictions can make you feel agitated, angry and frustrated, which is normal. While you are exposed to these emotions, give priority to some good qualities of yours at the same time. There are things you can’t control in situations such as a pandemic or a national lockdown, but you have control over small things, for example what you eat, how you move, how you start your day, your reaction to stress and what you do with your time. Another tip on how to ease anxiety is not to overwhelm yourself with too much information. Keep yourself informed but don’t overdo it by watching news all the time all day long. This will only load your body with excess cortisol, which is not healthy. Instead, focus on positive activities that you normally don’t have time for. Read a good book, cook a nice meal with family members, play board games and de-clutter. Ask yourself questions such as what makes your life meaningful and what qualities you have that you can offer to those around your and the rest of the world.

DE-STRESS
Constant stress makes us more prone to various illnesses. In stressful situations, our bodies prepare us for emergency situations by releasing certain hormones. This fight-or-flight mode suppresses our immunity. There are various sources of stress, and they build up. They include ordinary stressors such personal and work issues. Try de-stressing activities on a daily basis. Laughter is a great de-stressor so be sure to laugh often. Surround yourself with positivity and fun.

There is no known cure for the coronavirus, but we do know that reducing stress, easing anxiety, sleeping properly, regular physical activity, good hygiene habits, healthy diets and natural supplements can go a long way in terms of helping you to cope physically and mentally during these difficult circumstances. Consider changing what you can control in your lifestyle today.

 

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