We have all been challenged in some way by the Coronavirus and now it is time for Cold and Flu Season. It could be a particularly challenging season but it doesn’t have to be. Even though I am a Registered Nurse, I have been very vocal regarding my opinion as it relates to Western Medicine. I was never taught about alternative/natural ways to stay healthy in nursing school. I was taught the western medicine way only. There is a place for western medicine, however I choose to believe that the creator placed something on this earth to heal whatever ails us. He created a perfect body and gave us the tools to keep it that way. I would like to share 7 things I do to keep illness at bay during this season.
- Drink Bone Broth
I’ve written several times about the scientifically proven benefits of bone broth. Bone Broth contains valuable minerals in a form your body can easily absorb and use. It also inhibits infections caused by viruses thanks to its anti-inflammatory amino acid, arginine. I could go on and on about how bone broth can help ward off the flu/cold, coronavirus and other illness. I challenge you to do your own research to find recipes. A cup a day will keep the doctor away.
2. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is critical for many reasons but one of them is to keep our immune system functionally optimally to ward off things such as viruses. Our brain and heart are made up of approximately 73% water and our lungs, 83% water. Water is also found in our blood. This speaks to the power and importance of water in order for our cells and different systems, such as the immune system, to function properly. The majority of the water in our bodies is found inside the billions of cells. The cells MUST have water to live. Just having this little bit of information is definitely reason for me to comply. I like to think of water as a flushing mechanism that helps to flush out toxins from the body. The more you drink, the more you eliminate through your urine. I have found that 8 glasses of just pure water a day, at room temperature, have made a big difference for me. Give it a try.
3. Proper Rest
Rest/Sleep allows your body time to rebuild its body systems such as the nervous system, bones, muscles and just the whole body in general. According to the Sleep Foundation, a 20 to 30-minute nap helps improve mood, performance, and alertness. What does that say to you about rest? The job of our immune system is to keep foreign invaders that cause flu, cold, and other viruses away. If the cells of our immune system are not properly hydrated and given adequate time to rest and regenerate, they will not function properly and therefore make us more susceptible to the illness. I have heard people say, “I only need 4 hours a night.” That is not enough time for the body to regenerate. Research has shown that EVERYONE needs 7-8 hours per night.
4. Regular Exercise
So, we’ve talked about the fact that most of our body is made up of water. In order to keep the water moving and doing its job, we must be active. The cells that are filled with water move along more fluidly when we keep them well hydrated. Remember the cells must have water to live. I like to think of it as the cells floating through the blood stream and nourishing all our organs and systems such as our immune system. This only happens when you are well hydrated and exercising regularly. Regular consistent exercise also improves heart and vascular function, controls weight, lowers blood pressure, and boost immunity. Health and Harvard.edu (2017, October 31). How to Boost Your Immune System. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu. Again, I like to think of it as exercise increasing the speed at which my immune system cells move through my body and do their job more efficiently.
5. Meditation/Silent Time
With all the noise in our external environment, it is essential to have meditative silent time. Shut out everything external and go inward. This includes time away from all external devices including our phones, iPads, and T.V.’s. One of the key benefits of meditation is stress reduction. Stress breaks down our immune system and makes us more likely to get sick. Stress causes an increase of the stress hormone in our body called cortisol. Consequently, the cortisol releases inflammatory chemicals. We know that inflammation is the root of all disease and illness. Meditation and silent time also promote good emotional health. Healthy brain equals healthy body. There are so many proven benefits of meditation/silent time. It has been scientifically proven to be essential for good physical, mental and spiritual health. Just start by setting aside 15 minutes a day to sit in silence. Some great guided meditations also are available at no cost on You Tube.
6. Eating a Healthy Diet
It goes without saying that eating plenty of raw fruits and vegetables leads to better health. The key word is raw. That means you can’t cook your green beans in pork fat back for 2 hours. You’ve just taken something healthy and made it unhealthy. According to the World Health Organization, unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity are the leading global risks to our health. Some good rules of thumb related to your diet are:
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables with every meal. (Lightly steaming the veggies is a good way to maintain the nutrients in them)
- No sugar (Including sodas, sugary juices, sweet teas, cakes, candy….) Sugar decreases your white blood cells that help fight infection.
- Daily Unsaturated Fats such as fish, avocado, nuts, coconut oil, olive oil…)
- Less than one teaspoon of salt daily
- Stay away from fast food
- No processed food
- Limit ingredients on what you buy to no more than 6. If there are ingredients that you have no idea what they are and you can’t even pronounce them, do not eat them. The fewer ingredients on the label, the better.
- Read labels on everything you buy
7. Handwashing and Keeping Hands Away From Face
Handwashing is the single most effective method to controlling the spread of infection. Wash them often. It is also important to keep your hands away from your face. We touch our face hundreds of times a day. The nose, mouth, eyes, and ears all act as portals of entry for germs like flu and coronavirus to get into our body. Make a practice of not touching your face. If you need to touch your face, wash your hands first. Your hands should always be washed for 20 seconds in a scrubbing manner that covers the back, palms, and fingers. All parts of the hand.
There are of course many other things you can do to keep yourself healthy during this season when viruses seem to be more prevalent. I have found however that consistency is key. When I choose not to practice the 7 ways of avoiding these viruses, then I end of getting sick or just not feeling my best. When I do decide to practice the 7 steps above with consistency, I feel amazing. The answer is not in a vaccine. Vaccines are more about big pharma revenue as opposed to prevention. The answer is in what the creator has already given us. Use it. It is my hope that you all have a blessed, happy, and healthy season.
Stay Well and don’t forget to enter your email address to receive my monthly articles straight to your inbox. Your support and love are greatly appreciated. Leave a comment to let me know how you stay healthy.
Vince Shifflett, RN BSN CCRN