By Bright Krinsky

Our first line of defense against COVID-19 is social distancing, good hygiene and avoiding exposure in the first place. Our second line of defense is a strong and healthy immune system.

Here are some tips and fundamentals for building and maintaining a strong and healthy immune system.

  1. Sleep

One of the biggest and most overlooked needle movers for good health and a strong immune system is getting enough good sleep. It is during deep sleep that the body detoxes and rebuilds and repairs itself the most. Getting seven to nine hours of good sleep a night is recommended. Studies have shown that getting less than seven hours of sleep a night can actually cause brain damage.

Practice good “sleep hygiene.” Our circadian rhythm is dictated by exposure to sunlight. It is important to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day and avoid blue light and screen time for at least an hour and up to a few hours before going to sleep.

Refrain from drinking caffeine in the afternoon and evening. While alcohol can help you pass out, it greatly lessens your quality of sleep. Refrain from drinking alcohol a few hours before going to sleep. Try to wind down in the evening with relaxing activities like reading a book or meditating and avoid activities that gets your mind racing like working or sending emails.

Use the Ayurvedic Clock to your advantage. In Ayurveda, the day is divided into the three “Docias,” which each occur twice a day and hold different energetic qualities. According to Ayurveda, you should wake up before the sun around 5:30 a.m., which falls in the Docia Vata, a more energetic clear energy. The period between 6 and 10 a.m. falls into Kapha, which is a heavier slower energy and makes it easy to hit snooze and not want to get out of bed.

At night, it is recommended to go to sleep before 10 p.m. This way you are using the heavy grounding energy of Kapha to your advantage for an easy time falling asleep. From 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., it is Pita, which is a more energetic fiery Docia that makes you want to stay up and party, and it is more difficult to fall asleep. I noticed the Ayurvedic Clock to be amazingly accurate once I get on a good consistent schedule.

  1. Drink Plenty Clean Water

A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body’s weight in ounces of water per day. So if you’re 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day. If you’re working outside in the heat, playing sports or working out, I would recommend more than that. Listen to your body. Try to get good, clean water. Getting water from a natural spring is the best. A good filter in the house is probably the most convenient option for most people.

Adding a squeeze of lemon, lime or some apple cider vinegar can change the pH of your water. Although these examples seem acidic, they are actually alkalizing in the body.

An alkaline body is often associated with good health while an acidic body is often associated with inflammation and disease.

  1. Eat Healthy

The easiest way to define eating healthy is by moving away from processed foods and toward natural whole foods. A diet high in fiber, nutrients, healthy fats, good protein, complex carbohydrates, and low in refined carbohydrates and sugars is the way to go.

Some examples of recommended foods are cruciferous and leafy green vegetables such as kale, collard greens, brussels sprouts, spinach, chard, asparagus and broccoli. Have low-glycemic fruits such as berries and melons, any fruit in moderation, starchy whole foods such as sweet potatoes, taro and pressure cooked beans.

Other healthy foods include sea vegetables, healthy fats such as macadamia nuts, seeds, avocado, grass-fed meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, grass-fed butter, extra virgin olive oil, whole grains in moderation and homemade bone broth.

Avoid bad oils such canola, soy, vegetable, corn, and anything partially hydrogenated, additives, emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, natural flavors, sweeteners, many refined carbohydrates such as white flour, and factory farmed animal products that have been treated with antibiotics and chemicals. Sorry, but maybe ease off on Da Spam. I do believe in cheat days, though.

A big part of the equation about a healthy immune system is a healthy happy gut. A great way to maintain a healthy gut is by eating plenty of fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut. Garlic, ginger, turmeric and herbs such as echinacea and goldenseal have long histories of being used as immune system boosters

  1. Exercise

Another excellent and important way to boost your immune system and maintain great health is by getting plenty of exercise. Assuming you are healthy and haven’t been advised by your doctor to avoid exercise, it is recommended to mix aerobic, resistance and burst training. Even fairly short sessions a day can have a huge impact on you, improving cardiovascular health and circulation, building muscle mass, improving bone density, losing unwanted body fat, reducing stress and improving your mood and mental clarity.

  1. Minimize Stress

Minimize and handle stress, both chemical and psychological/emotional. In this modern world, we are bombarded with toxic burden from our environment and products that we use and consume. Try to make some informed choices about what you are touching, breathing and consuming every day. Avoiding foods that have been sprayed with herbicides and/or pesticides is a great place to start. The dirty dozen and clean-15 list provides good guidelines for making informed decisions on which foods should always be organic or avoided.

Now is a good time to become aware of any food sensitivities you may have. A good way to do this is with elimination-diet. Gluten and dairy are some common ones that put stress on many people’s immune systems.

Take a look at what chemicals are in your skin products, toiletries, household cleaning products, packaging, cans and bottles (BPA), dry cleaning, etc.

Try to minimize exposure to industrial chemicals at work and things you may handle often such as receipts, and always be aware of what you are breathing and touching.

In Hawai‘i, it is traditional to take off your shoes when entering a home. This is a very good practice that helps minimize bringing toxic residues into the house.

It goes without saying that alcohol, cigarettes and most drugs are terrible for your immune system and health in general.

I believe psychological/emotional stress has as big impact on your general health and immune system as well as nutrition and exercise.

Adopt a meditation practice or something  such as tai chi, chi gong, yoga, dance, connected breathing or the Wim Hof Method. Lab studies have shown that practicing the Wim Hof Method breathing technique actually increases white blood cells.

  1. Spiritual Health

Stay spiritually connected with that which is greater than you, whatever that means for you. This is another commonly overlooked subject with a lot of evidence pointing toward improved health, happiness and reduced stress.

  1. Fasting

Bright Krinsky

After about two or three days on a water fast, the glycogen in your liver runs out and you start essentially eating yourself for fuel, mostly body fat. This is exactly why we store fat, for times of famine. our body also starts prioritizing and absorbing damaged cells and some of our white blood cells. When we start eating again, our white blood cells are replenished so it is like a reboot to the immune system. Make sure you check with your doctor if you are on any medications before starting an extended fast.

All these immune system boosting tips could greatly reduce your symptoms and potentially even save your life if you become infected with COVID-19. In the face of this pandemic it could really pay off to maintain a strong and healthy immune system.

These are the fundamentals and good habits of a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent all top killers such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity, and set the foundation for a healthy and happy life.

Stay safe and healthy out there, and make your health a top priority. Aloha.

  • Bright Krinsky is a certified Health Coach specializing in weight loss, Metabolic Syndrome, Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Visit com to learn more.

 


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