Coronavirus – aka COVID-19 is taking on the world with a vengeance. We have a country divided in what seems to be the “it won’t affect me” careless, reckless, ignorant population vs. the hunker down and stay out of sight… and a sprinkling of the people stuck in the middle of the two. We all KNOW to wash our hands thoroughly and regularly and to practice social distancing (don’t get me started on how many people still have not comprehended what that needs to entail – eh hm… Spring Breakers, block party throwers and playdate goers!), but what else can we do to step up our protection game?
We need to dive deeper to protect ourselves, our loved ones and to do our part to STOP the spread to everyone we come in contact with. This is NOT just about you staying healthy, but also all the truly vulnerable people in our communities NEED you to do your part to help keep them healthy by not being carriers and spreaders of this awful disease.
I am dividing this post into three sections
1) Physical (Protective) Measures
2) Ingestible Measures
(Washing hands is a GIVEN – DO IT, DO IT PROPERLY, DO IT FREQUENTLY)
- Wear disposable gloves when out in public. Pack them in a plastic baggie this way they are at the ready AND you have a place to safely dispose of them before you get back into your car.
- Fold a few Clorox or other disinfecting wipes and put them in Ziploc baggies to throw in your purse or keep in your car. This way you can wipe down your steering wheel, the gloves you are wearing if you are headed in several places on one outing, etc. The bags allow you to use them and then safely store them until you get to the trash. I would hope by now you only go outside your home for the ESSENTIALS!
- Leave your shoes outside your home (garage, front door etc). If someone coughs or sneezes out in public those airborne viruses eventually make their way to the ground – you walk through them and they can live on surfaces for DAYS. Leave shoes outside. I personally wear the same pair of sneakers or flops right now on errands then toss them in the wash every few wears.
- Bag your phone. Zip up your phone in a clear bag – you can still text through it and use talk to text without exposing your phone out in public. Disinfect your phone several times a day. Use isopropyl alcohol 70% or higher if you can.
- Change of clothes. If you are going to be sitting down places, or picking up items that will be pressing against your clothing or perhaps you received a sneak-attack hug from someone you know outside your home. Leave a change of clothes in a bag in your car or garage and change before entering the home and sitting on your own furniture. Gallon Ziplocs work well so you can seal up clothes and then dump them in the wash when ready to do laundry.
- Rinse your throat by gargling with warm saltwater. Because viruses or bacteria hide in the pharynx through the nasal passage, diluted saltwater can help kill them. This method has been effective in defending against other viruses, but it does require consistent implementation (2-3 times daily). Especially upon returning home.
- Don’t share drinks, straws, chapstick, food, forks, etc.
- Sanitize plates, utensils, and drinkware – even between family members (You can mix 1 Tbsp bleach per gallon of water and use that – found the ratio from the NH DHHS – Div of Public Health Services)
- Carry tissues or small washcloth if you are out in public to cover your cough or sneeze (you have to think about protecting OTHERS, not just yourself)
- Wash your hands after opening the mail. Get rid of boxes and envelopes asap – and disinfect surfaces they touch inside the home.
- Clean under your nails daily
- Don’t use your reusable shopping bags right now. I hate the thought of putting more plastic out there, but experts are saying the reusable bags are just further spreading disease. You need to be able to pitch the ones from your store runs.
INGESTIBLE MEASURES: (always consult your physician prior to starting any new supplement regimen – not intended to prevent, treat or cure any illness)
- Zinc is known to fight the rhinovirus (aka common cold) so it may be a powerful defense against other viruses. Zinc is one of the seven essential minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. The other essential minerals are magnesium, iron, calcium, iodine, silica and selenium. Your body is unable to store zinc naturally like other vitamins and minerals so you do need a regular intake of zinc. Zinc aids in magnesium absorption and magnesium helps regular zinc – so they work well if taken together. Women take about 7mg and men take about 9.5 mg daily. Zinc is found in red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, shellfish and whole grains
- Magnesium glycinate or magnesium L-threonate (the later form will also give your brain a boost with better absorbability) taken at night can help calm the nervous system and improve sleep quality. Magnesium is used in more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. We are all stressed right now, boosting mag can help calm your central nervous system. Take 270mg-400mg/daily. Magnesium is found in dark chocolate, avocados, spinach and other leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, some fatty fish, bananas, beans and whole grains.
- Copper (add in a low dose once in a while – not every day) you only need in very tiny amounts as it is a trace mineral that the body requires for survival, but too much is not a good thing. However, too little copper can lead to neutropenia. This is a deficiency of white blood cells, or neutrophils, which fight off infection. (click here for more benefits of copper)
- Elderberry has been used for hundreds of years to help boost immunity and fight colds and the flu. It boasts high levels of antioxidants to help boost natural immune response. The Sambucus nigra elderberry plant is the most widely studied for its efficacy so make sure you know what type of plant your syrup is made with. You can click here for the syrups I use for adults and kids.
- Greens Powder – a boost of vitamins, minerals , antioxidants, enzymes etc. is important to keep a healthy immune system. The extra supplemental boost is especially important as access to groceries and fresh fruits and vegetables becomes a challenge during the Coronavirus pandemic. The most pleasant-tasting power-packed greens powder that I have been using for about 8 years is here.
- Colostrum (read benefits in my post here) mother breast milk in all mammals has colostrum because os it’s immune building properties it provides to their newborn. We, as adults can still benefit. I take it during times of higher circulating colds and flu and I swear it kept me healthy during my second pregnancy. (Click Here – quality matters)
- Probiotics (I like to cycle different types – since you never really know what your gut needs at any given time). The healthier your gut is the healthier you are overall. They say up to 80% of your immunity is housed in your gut biome. I currently cycle Primal Defense and Probiotic CD
- Astaxanthin – important antioxidant for skin, joints, eyes, immune response, decreases DNA damage, increases the number of T cells, reduces c-reactive protein, stimulates lymphocyte count White blood cells), decreased overactive immune response (Click here for the brand I use daily) (Click here to read more about the benefits of astaxanthin )
- Glutathione – is a major cellular antioxidant. It helps inhibit the inflammatory response and as we know chronic inflammation weakens the immune system. The less inflammation we have the more chance we have to fight foreign invaders. According to ResearchGate.net “Glutathione(GSH) is required by the immune system for two important reasons: it protects host immune cells through its antioxidant mechanism and it provides the optimal functioning of lymphocytes and other cells of the immune system” (Click here to read more) (Click here for the Glutathione brands I like)
- Vitamin C (you don’t need to go crazy – overdosing can be an issue in people with an oxalate intolerance and cause you to have more inflammation and increase risk for illness) Try 1,000-2,000 mg 1-3 times per day. IT doesn’t help to mega dose in one sitting since what your body can’t use it will pee out. Click here for my favorite drinkable Vitamin C
- Hydrate well – add a pinch of sea salt, drink mineral water when possible, try Nuun tablets for tasty hydration without the artificial dyes and junk. Electrolytes regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue.
- Adaptogenic herbs– they help combat high cortisol and stress levels when we need it and yet give us a boost of energy when we are down in the dumps. Adaptogens “ADAPT” to what your body needs. I personally implement organic Ashwagandha in times of higher stress or take a blend with other adaptogens like Lions Mane and Reishi. Side Note: I have had clients finally shed stubborn belly fat after adding in adaptogens since high cortisol (stress hormone) triggers stomach fat storage.
- Vitamin D3 + K2- Vitamin D not only helps our bone health but can help modulate immune health. One study found vitamin D supplements caused a 10% reduction in the risk of respiratory infections to include colds and the flu. If you suffer from IBS or other fat malabsorption issues or are obese your risk for vitamin D deficiency is greater. Having normal vs optimal vitamin D levels can vary person to person, usually, my clients do better when Vitamin D is between 40-80 ng/mL. I always take Vitamin D with K because D tells the minerals, like calcium to come on in but K directs them to go to your bones and teeth, instead of your cardiovascular system and soft tissue. Vitamin K also helps with proper clotting and bruising. Vitamin D should always be taken with a meal containing fat, otherwise, you won’t absorb it. I take my D3 + K2 together with low dose iodine for thyroid health.
- Develop good sleep hygiene. If you are like me, your mind is racing all night with worries of how to protect your loved ones, how to homeschool, continue working, balance the stress of being housebound for weeks (more likely months) as we try to stop the horrific spread of a deadly virus. And how the state of our world, travel, work and even the simplest of interactions are forever changed. But losing sleep isn’t helping our immune health one bit.
- Unplug at least an hour before bed. No news alerts, TV or social media
- Try to get into bed before 11 pm so your body can follow it’s most optimal natural hormonal rhythm
- Make your room as cool and as dark as possible
- Turn off wifi and the ringer/notifications on your phone if you bring it to your bedroom at night.
- Try using apps like Breethe’s free 20 minute Sweet Dreams meditation to unwind and calm your mind
- Taking magnesium (as mentioned in the ingestible section above) to calm your body and mind
- Get sunshine. Just 15-20 minutes of your bare skin in the sunshine first thing in morning hours will help boost natural vitamin D production. A deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased susceptibility to infection.
- Get exercise. This is as much for our physical health as our mental health during these times of being more homebound when our gyms, parks and other fitness and social facility access are restricted. Try morning yoga, going for a run/walk before the neighborhood wakes up, creating a mini-workout area in your home with some simple resistance bands, dumbbells or a few kettlebells.
- For home cardio I love the Echelon Connect Bike – they have tons of great on-Demand and Live classes that will help you feel part of a community still. You can compete against yourself or other riders if you are a Type A personality! Plus, they actually have good music in many of the classes. I personally have one from overseeing their EX3 Bike trial group weight loss results, but I gifted it to my mother while she and my father are in isolation to protect themselves. My group raved about the instructors and how much they felt like they were really in-studio riding. They also have a Connected Rower and Reflect is their workout in a mirror – talk about watching your form!
- FitnessBlender.com is an incredible resource for a wide variety of workouts – you can select what equipment, what body part or even what type of workout you want to do and it populates all the ones that fall into that category.
- Order resistance bands or resistance loops – they take up virtually no space and can be used to target any and every body part!
- Weight training is great for muscle building, toning and for fat loss. You don’t need to buy a ton of weights, most women can get a good workout with a set of 5lbs, 10 lbs, and 20lbs. If you have the luxury of adding more 18’s, 25’s and 30’s should do the trick! Kettlebells can be a fun change-up too and you won’t need as many, as there are a lot of kettlebell exercises that you do with a single kettlebell at one time. I personally a few on my patio and I go out a couple of times a day when I need the stress relief to just lift or go through a few movements. You don’t always need to dedicate a long time to a workout, short bursts throughout the day are still incredibly beneficial.
- Keep a journal. This is one EPIC time in history and still seems very surreal. Journaling your thoughts, fears, frustrations, and wins can help you cope and process.
- Virtual Meet-Ups. If you are used to having a raging social life (not me, but I hear that’s a thing! LOL) I know of women planning Zoom Happy Hours. I normally use Zoom conference calling for business, but my cousin recently told me her girlfriends used it as a virtual happy hour – 9 pm glass of wine in hand, kids in bed, they all logged in to catch up. (Although just a word of advice – alcohol lowers immunity, so keep the drinking light and infrequent while going through this pandemic). Even if video chats aren’t your thing, reach our call family and friends – most people could use the friendly voice at a time like this.
I hope these actionable items are useful to you as you navigate our “new normal” for a while. Stay well! Have another tip to add? I would love to hear it! Email me Hello@BrianaMichel.com
Hi! I'm Briana Michel and for 7 years now I have used my background in integrated nutrition and fitness training to create the coolest and most emotionally rewarding job! I am the walking *asterisk you see on many TV commercials aired around the globe! You know the one that says “Results not typical.” But in my world, the results are TYPICAL!
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