NATURAL CARE FOR COVID-19
by: Carolyn Berghuis, MS, ND, CTN
Now that we are getting close to re-opening the economy it is very important that we take the steps necessary to support our immune systems! To start, please know that you have inside of your body a complex and extraordinary immune system that works tirelessly to keep you healthy. God knew what he was doing when he created you. However, your body needs your help to work optimally. In this post I will discuss what I like to call The Big 3: Feast, Enhance, and Thrive. These are the three keys to a healthy and optimally functioning immune system.
The Big 3: Feast, Enhance, and Thrive
- Feast: Let your food be your medicine.
- Enhance: Optimal remedies.
- Thrive: Key lifestyle tips.
Consider food your secret weapon against Covid-19. Life giving food will nourish the cells of your immune system so they can defend you and poor dietary choices will hamper your immune system. It is important to understand that in the battle against any foreign invader your immune system needs resources to create a healthy immune response. This includes foods high in vitamins, minerals, and healthy dietary fats. It also includes foods that don’t contain bad carbs, bad sugars, and harmful dietary fats.
If you haven’t adopted a Keto diet then this is a great time to look into it! I personally recommend a Keto/Blood Type diet where you follow Keto macro guidelines while incorporating the “highly beneficial” and “neutral” blood type foods into your meal planning.
Here are a few “Feast” tips:
- Keto: Learn your optimal Keto Macros. Google Ketogenic Macro Calculator and you will find a lot of resources to choose from.
- Blood Type: Learn your blood type. You can order a kit from this website: D’Adamo
- Fasting: If you are not practicing Intermittent Fasting this is a good time to consider it. Here is a great video on fasting: What Type of Fast Is Best For You.
- Avoid inflammatory foods. If you follow a healthy Keto/Blood Type diet you will naturally avoid inflammatory foods. It’s smart to avoid bad fats and bad carbs. If you would like to learn more about the Keto/Blood Type Diet I invite you to read a previous post of mine: KETO/BLOOD TYPE DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS
- Bad Fats: Avoid fried foods, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils. These foods lead to an inflammatory response which can incite a “cytokine storm”. When battling Covid-19 this can be a very serious situation for your body, especially your lungs. Additionally, these types of fats have a 57 day “half-life”. This means if you eat them today, in 57 days ½ of the fat will still be “stuck” in your body, in 57 days ½ of that ½ and so on. Basically, if you continue to eat these types of harmful fats your body will exist in a continued heightened immune response situation. Yes, your body needs fat to function optimally; however, these types of fats wreak havoc. Please avoid them! Stay away from cookies, donuts, cakes, chips, and most peanut butter – anything that has the word “hydrogenated” or “trans fat” on the label. If the label has palm oil or coconut oil listed you are fine; however, make sure you balance this type of fat with other fats like olive oil, avocados, and walnut oil (just to name a few).
- Bad Carbs: Avoid white sugar, white flour, and processed grains. These “food” items can lead to an increase in your glycemic index – we all know this by now. However, did you know that an increase in your glycemic index will dampen down your immune system and increase inflammation, leaving your immune system vulnerable and unable to defend against Covid-19? A couple of the major health issues associated with Covid-19 complications (diabetes and heart disease) are linked with a heightened glycemic index. Tip: increasing healthy dietary fats will help diminish carbohydrate and sugar cravings.
I found a great video on diet and the immune system during Covid-19 that I invite you to watch: Dr. Mindy on the Immune System
A healthy immune system is one of the best tools you can have in your wellness toolbox when fighting Covid-19 (or any virus). A quick Google search and you will run across a lot of information regarding remedies and Covod-19. Being a Naturopath I believe high quality remedies are essential to optimal wellness, especially when your body is fighting a foreign invader like Covid-19. Your body is always trying to reach balance, what we call homeostatis, and it needs key nutrients to do this. Sometimes it can be confusing to know what remedies to take so it is my recommendation that you work with a health care professional who has a strong working knowledge of remedies. I created a handy printout outlining my Covid-19 recommendations. I invite you to download it here: Covid-19 Natural Care.
In addition to eating right and taking the correct remedies for optimal health, there are a few lifestyle measures I recommend.
- Salt n Soda Bath: Viruses don’t like hot temperatures. That’s one of the reasons your body increases its temperature during an illness, this is your body’s attempt to reach homeostasis. Try 2 cups of epsom salts and 2 cups of baking soda in a very warm bath. Feel free to add an essential oil of your choice!
- Sleep by 10 PM: Optimal sleep is required for your body to heal itself and for your immune system to function at its best. When your body is battling a virus it needs extra sleep, so rest when you feel tired. Also, getting to bed no later than 10 PM is ideal for optimal release of human growth hormone. This hormone does many wonderful things in the body and has wonderful anti-aging effects. During an illness the release of this hormone can help your immune system rise in battle.
- Deep Breathing: Practice deep breathing on a daily basis is a good practice for all around health. There are several techniques to choose from. If your body is fighting Covid-19 deep breathing can help get oxygen into your body.
- Sauna Therapy: Consider investing in your health by purchasing a far infrared sauna for your home. The health benefits are extensive and it is one of the best things you can do to support a healthy immune system. My husband and I have personally been using our far infrared sauna 3 or 4 times a week during this pandemic. We have a Health Mate sauna (2 person – the 1 person is very small); however, there are many other very good saunas on the market. You will need to do your own research.
- Exercise: Of course we know that exercise is important for optimal health! I invite you to learn about optimal exercise for your blood type. In a nut-shell here are some guidelines:
- Type O: Vigorous and intense exercise is best, think high-intensity and make sure you allow for warm up and cool down periods with stretching. This type of exercise allows you to “burn off’ built up stress hormones. Aerobics, jogging, weight training, swimming, treadmill, contact sports, and brisk walking can be helpful.
- Type A: Mind/body isotonic movements are best for blood type A individuals. Stretching is extremely important. I am blood type A and I personally find that I do well with Pure Barre. We need periods of stillness to counter the negative effects of cortisol; therefore, regular meditative practices are very important. Brisk walking, golf, swimming, dance, and low impact aerobics can be beneficial. Breaking a sweat is also important!
- Type B: Alternating intense exercise days with less intense meditative exercises days is a good plan for blood type B individuals. Make sure your warm-up and cool down time is adequate. Tennis, aerobics, hiking, cycling, brisk walking, golf, and weight training can be beneficial.
- Type AB: Calming exercises are best for blood type AB; however, it is good to break a sweat! Mind/body techniques are best and, like blood type A, it is important to include periods of stillness. Golf, cycling, hiking, and dance are all good. Stretching before and after a work-out is very important.
- Hygiene: The CDC has some recommendations that I am in agreement with regarding Covid-19. These include; frequent hand washing, keeping your hands off your face, and practicing social distancing.
Emotional and Spiritual Well-Being: Attending to your emotional and spiritual needs is essential for immune health. Seek God and he will find you. Consistency matters. Those who know me know that I normally attend daily Mass and after Mass I spend time in the Adoration Chapel at my church (I am Catholic). There is something beautiful that happens to my interior when I encounter God in this way; I feel softer and happier inside. Sadly, during Covid-19 I could no longer do this. As a result, I started feeling less joyful inside and depression started to sink in. Fortunately, my church started live streaming Mass (both Sunday and weekday). This was a “happiness” saver for me! Now I drive to my church, park outside, and watch Mass live streamed on my phone. I even bring my little dog Gracie with me. While I look forward to the day when I can go back inside my church and experience Mass again inside her walls, for now, worshiping God in my car with my little Gracie is lifting my soul. Happiness is following and I am thankful for this.
Eventually Covid-19 will be a distant memory. Hopefully we will learn how to take better care of ourselves, body, heart, and soul as a result of this experience. That is my prayer for the world.
Carolyn Berghuis, MS, ND, CTN
If you would like guidance on your journey into health and wellness you are invited to schedule a session with me via my On-Line Scheduler – here is the link: On-Line Scheduler. In the mean-time have a marvelously healthy and happy day!