Updated: May 26
As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe, I'd like us to remember that our physical and emotional bodies are interwoven, and though this virus is a physical threat, it is our emotions than can wreak the most damage on our immune system. Stress is the number one immune suppressant, and thus what we believe, and how we handle those beliefs plays a huge role in how well we are fortified. Though vitamin supplements are not a bad idea, I actually think a lot of what is on the market is either of low quality, synthetic, or generally full of fillers. Choose live vitamins that come from real, fresh foods that your body can unquestionably absorb, and use immediately to build your defenses.
What is Our Immune System?
So what is the immune system, and where is it? The immune system is a network of cells and proteins that protect the body against infection. Like any good warrior, it keeps track of each enemy it has ever encountered so it can recognize and destroy that enemy quickly and efficiently the next time it crosses its path. Like an army – it is spread out all throughout the body, but eighty percent of its system cells live in your gut, which is why I've chosen the gut as the best place to start making the necessary improvements. Apparently our immune system has never come in contact with COVID-19, which is why it is having such a hard time defeating this new enemy. But with the right diet, and mental practices, we can at least keep all other common colds and ailments at bay, so that if we do contract the virus – we are fighting it in the best shape possible.
1. BONE BROTH - COLLAGEN
Have you ever wondered why dogs chew on bones? Why do they crack them open and get out the marrow? Well, wolves do it in the wild to extract the collagen and glucosamine rich marrow inside the bone. Glucosamine is a compound found in cartilage that soothes the gut, and has been clinically used to treat inflammation. Bone marrow is also rich in collagen, which contains amino acids such as arginine and proline that help build tissue in the digestive tract. You might be thinking, “What does the gut have to do with the immune system?” The gut houses the largest concentration of immune warriors in your body, so we're just making sure those warriors are getting the right food and gear to do the job we built them to do.
2. FERMENTED CABBAGE - SAUERKRAUT
Sauerkraut! Though humans have long been fermenting foods for preservations sake, we only recently began researching why exactly it seems to also have added health benefits. Recent research found out that it takes your gut bacteria from zero to hero in terms of efficacy. D-phenyllactic acid, which is found in Sauerkraut, activates an anti-inflammatory response in our gut bacteria signaling it to be alert and ready for foreign invaders. It also strengthens the gut lining which helps prevent toxins and unwanted pathogens from getting in and causing inflammation. Lastly, Sauerkraut is rich in vitamin C and though many experts are saying Vitamin C will not protect you against COVID-19 by itself, it does help to activate several key enzymes in the body, such as collagen, that will give you another layer of protection to insulate you against infections.
3. GINGER - 6-GINGEROL
In terms of your immune system, Ginger contains a phenolic substance called 6-GINGEROL, that identifies foreign, mutated cells or pathogens responsible for various diseases and by disrupting their cell cycle, causing their premature demise (it's like a cowboy throwing a wrench in the spokes of an outlaw's get-away wagon). It's also extremely high in vitamin C, which studies have shown can dramatically shorten, if not stop it from happening in the first place. Bottom line is, ginger is full of powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Juice it in a juicer, put it in a shot glass with some honey, or lemon. Or test your toughness by kicking it back raw. It has a tendency to sting. Slicing it with some tea, and sipping it while watching Netflix works too.
4. TURMERIC - CURCUMIN
If we are getting ready for battle, the last thing we need is faulty hardware, so it's a good thing we have Turmeric in our arsenal. The orange root that looks like a potato bug. Its active ingredient is Curcumin, which is a phytochemical responsible for keeping the immune system from glitching. By modifying the immune response or the functioning of the immune system to either stimulate antibody formation or inhibit the activity of white blood cells, turmeric helps the body protect itself against auto immune issues – often caused by stress. Researchers who studied curcumin on mice, discovered that it stops the recruitment of specific immune cells that, when overactive, are linked to such problems as heart disease and obesity. The study also found that Curcumin impeded the production of immune cells called macrophages that contribute to inflammation by secreting pro-inflammatory chemicals. So basically, it's an amazing immune system mechanic that fixes the tanks and keeps the heavy machinery running smoothly.
5. COCONUT OIL – LORIC ACID
Coconut oil is one of the few sources of Lauric Acid which happens to be used to treat viral infections like Influenza, The Swine Flu, the the Avian Flu, and the common cold. This is due to its anti-viral properties, commonly referred to as lauric acid and caprylic acid, it is very capable of helping the fight against bronchitis, candida, and bacterial infections. Lauric Acid has antioxidant, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties which makes it a delicious jack of all trades.
6. OREGANO OIL - Thymol and Carvacrol
Most people think of pizza when they hear oregano, but this herb has been around as a medicine since the ancient greeks. Thymol and carvacrol are the most prominent ingredients found in oregano oil for their amazing anti fungal and anti bacterial properties. Carvacrol specifically, has been found to be effective against various bacterial infections, such as candida albicans, staphylococcus, E. coli, campylobacter, salmonella, klebsiella, the aspergillus mold, giardia, pseudomonas, and listeria. Oregano oil has many and wide reaching benefits, but is most associated with respiratory and immune system health. Considering that COVID-19 seems target our lungs, I've been using a few drops of oregano oil, under my tongue, every morning. Be careful, it's not a pleasant feeling. It burns a bit, so alternatively, for higher doses you can buy empty pill capsules, drip a few drops inside one of the halves, then close it with the other half, and swallow with some water. You can also decide to dilute four or five drops in a glass of water and drink it that way. If you do decide to go the hardcore route like me, remember, the more an oregano oil burns, the more potent it is in its antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So if it tastes like mild pizza oil, make sure you got the right one. Many oregano oils don't have any of these medicinal properties. I don't usually recommend specific products, but I don't want you to buy the impotent one, so I use Garden of Life “Oil Of Oregano – Seasonal Drops”. That definitely does the job.
7. WATCH A COMEDY - Endorphens
Lastly, put on your slippers, take a bath, pet your cat, and watch a comedy. I've seen a lot of people, including the news, instigate a kind of panic in people. And though it seems people needed a heavy dose of caution before it sank it, when it comes to our immediate surroundings and family – let's be gentle. Let's put the family feuds aside and make sure everyone around you is healthy. Put the trivial social dramatics of life on ice, and try to enjoy this involuntary break in “business as usual”. There are benefits to everything, even a crisis. Look outside, earth is on holiday – she's repairing, cleaning, and refreshing herself as her guests take a break from life for a while.
Until next time,