As the coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts people all over the world, we wanted to offer tips for staying healthy during these uncertain times. While we recommend following the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention such as handwashing and staying at home as much as possible, it’s also important to take stock of what we put inside our bodies in order to stay healthy. For this feature, we turned to vegan leaders in the wellness community for their recommendations on dietary and lifestyle choices for healthy immunity.
Plant-based diet for healthy immunity
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, eating a low-fat, plant-based diet may help give the immune system a boost.
Here’s more information from their website:
The immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies to combat bacteria and viruses. Vegetarians have been shown to have more effective white blood cells when compared to nonvegetarians, due to a high intake of vitamins and low intake of fat.
Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables provide nutrients that can boost immune function. Because many vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants, they help reduce oxidative stress.
Nutrients that boost immune function
Beta-Carotene: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body. Excellent sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamins C and E: Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Sources of vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, and lemons. Vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, spinach, and broccoli.
Vitamin D: Research shows vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk for viral infections, including respiratory tract infections, by reducing production of proinflammatory compounds in the body. Increased vitamin D in the blood has been linked to prevention of other chronic diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis, and cardiovascular disease. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals and plant-based milks and supplements.
Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders. Sources include nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils.
Read the rest of the article by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine to learn more about food to boost your immune system.
Lifestyle tips for staying healthy during the pandemic
We spoke with a few of our cruise presenters to get their opinions on the best ways to stay healthy during a pandemic. Dr. Yoav Suprun is an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist that has now converted to offering telehealth support for his patients. Here are his top tips for staying healthy right now.
- Since most of us are sitting at home more than usual, try incorporating more standing into your routine. If you watch TV, try standing and watching TV.
- When sitting, use a rolled towel or a paper towel roll in your lower back to support your spine.
- Walk, walk, walk. As long as it’s safe and hopefully you can wear a mask, try to walk multiple times a day for 15-20 minutes.
- Monitor your water intake based on the color of your urine.
Founder of Harmonic Science and author Keiichiro Kita says that right now, the most important thing we can do for ourselves is watch carefully where we direct our focus.
“We must believe that what we focus on is what will become our reality. If we focus on gratitude, kindness and love, then we will surely manifest this reality for ourselves and those around us,” Mr. Kita says. “By turning our attention to good health, harmony and happiness, we activate self-healing and a strengthening of the immune system and are able to maintain this state of health. Now is the time to awaken that extraordinary spontaneous healing power within us.”
Here are a few things Mr. Kita recommends to strengthen your immune system.
- Drink plenty of water. Before drinking, I recommend you hold the cup in your hands, and say words of gratitude like ‘Infinite Gratitude’ about 10 times or more. I also recommend drinking something warm to heat up our insides especially on cold mornings.
- As much as possible, eat a balanced diet of fresh, organic foods.
- Exercise and take baths to warm the body from the core. Keeping our internal body warm helps to increase the power of the immune system.
- Keep nature sounds playing in your living space. Nature sound waves can purify the air. Soothing sounds can help to increase the amount of oxytocin and serotonin in the bloodstream and reduce the amount of cortisol, thus recovering the balance of the autonomic nervous system. Listen to Mr. Kita’s nature CD on YouTube.
Lifestyle practices for staying healthy and calm
Both Dr. Yoav Suprun and Mr. Kita emphasize the importance of exercise and meditation for staying healthy and calm. To keep things fun and beneficial, Dr. Yoav Suprun recommends alternating exercises. Need some guidance? Contact Dr. Yoav Suprun at firstname.lastname@example.org for some exercises you can practice at home.