Immune System Support

Two days ago, I posted the article Self-Care Tips to Ease the COVID-19 Anxiety and shared a Meditation recording to help ease the anxiety while we are moving through the events of the COVID-19. I mentioned boosting our immune system through life enhancing emotions rather than getting caught up in anxiety.

Today, I want to share the article of my colleague Naturopathic Dr. Felicia Assenza from the Awakening Health Clinic in Burlington in regard to supporting our immune system. Felicia herself is in the in the high-risk group due to a pre-existing health condition, and I very much appreciate her levelheaded approach to the situation that we are currently faced with.

We are both here to support you through these challenging times.

You can reach Dr. Assenza through her website https://www.drfeliciaassenzand.com/ and book a virtual or phone appointment with her.

You can reach me to book a Zoom/Skype/phone appointment at 905-286-9466 or greendoorrelaxation@yahoo.ca.

 

 

Empowered Immune System Support

The news of the latest Coronavirus or COVID-19 seems to be spreading even faster than the virus itself, understandably bringing lots of fear and panic along with it. In times like these, it can be very easy to feel disempowered and helpless against this virus which seems to be popping up in every corner. My goal with this post is to help bring some calm to the situation, clear up some misinformation, and to provide you with some empowering tools to help support your immune system.

What is COVID-19?

You’ve likely heard lots of information and misinformation about the virus so far from various sources. Here’s a reliable source and helpful information sheet from the Ontario Ministry of Health that will hopefully clear up any misinformation.

How can I prevent COVID-19?

There are the standard ways of preventing the spread of infection that you may have seen in the news:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and regularly
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Avoid touching face and mucous membranes (nose, mouth, eyes, ears)

The above are definitely important ways of preventing the spread of infection. There are also some other things you can do that might not be as widely known. Below is a list of some simple things you can do right now to support your immune system so that if you do come in contact with the virus, your immune system will be armed and ready!

Vegetable Soups and Bone Broth

These are great ways to get lots of nutrients in that will help support your immune system and keep your vitality up. The more veggies you can get in the better. You can also add lots of garlic, onions, and oregano to these soups. As we’ll talk about later, these have some helpful anti-viral properties.

How to incorporate:

Check out my bone broth recipe. You can also use pre-made soup stock if you’re short on time or vegetable stock if you’re vegetarian. Always be mindful of ingredients though! Once you have the broth, just add veggies. Check out one of the many soup recipes on Yummly if you need some inspiration and guidance.

Mindful Time in Nature

Nature and mindfulness both play an important role in immune heath. We know that the stress hormone cortisol suppresses our immune system and there are innumerable studies showing that mindfulness and time in nature both reduce stress.

Getting out in nature also gives you a chance to get some fresh air, a change in scenery, and a shift in perspective which can be quite powerful when it is so easy to get caught up in the anxiety surrounding current events.

How to implement:

Go outside. It’s that simple. Maybe to the park down the street. Maybe your backyard. Maybe as much as your balcony or front porch. Just take a minute to be in the present moment and really connect with something bigger than yourself. This would also be a good time for any prayer or meditation practices you may have.

Socializing

This one is important and can easily be forgotten with all the self-isolation that is happening. Socialization, sense of community, and feeling connected is important for our immune system and overall health in general.

How to implement:

There are so many ways to implement this one. Call a friend, spend time with your pets, reach out to the neighbour you haven’t heard from in a while.

This one is incredibly powerful because by reaching out to someone, not only are you supporting your immune system but you’re giving them a little boost too…two for one!

Vitamin D

Also known as the sunshine vitamin and probably needed by most Canadians at this time of year. It not only helps boost mood and support the immune system but has actually been investigated for its role in preventing upper respiratory infections (1).

How to implement:

Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about the appropriate dose for you.

What happens if I do get sick?

It happens, no need to panic. You’ve likely overcome a viral infection or two in the past, there’s a good chance you can do it again. Take this as an opportunity to relax, recharge, catch up on Netflix, catch up with friends, family, pets etc.

If you, like me, are one of the lucky ones in the high risk group (e.g. elderly or have pre-existing health concerns), know that we’ve also overcome viruses in the past and there is lots we can do to help support the immune and respiratory systems if we do get sick. We may just need to act a little quicker and be a little extra diligent in taking care of ourselves.

Below are a couple of my favourite ways to tackle an upper respiratory tract infection (like the cold or flu) as soon as it starts.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic contain anti-viral organosulfur compounds such as quercitin and allicin that can help fight off a virus and are not only generally safe for consumption but also have lots of nutrients and other health benefits as well. They have both been shown to help shorten the duration of colds and flus caused by other viruses in the past (2).

How to implement:

Add them to dishes, make sure your chopping them up fresh

Garlic infused olive oil

Adding raw garlic and onions to salads

Oregano

Oregano contains carvacarol which has been investigated for its antiviral properties (2). I’ve seen it work well in helping to shorten the duration of a cold or flu and to help clear coughs.

How to implement:

While adding oregano to meals is a great idea, this one is most potent in its essential oil form

I generally recommend taking oil of oregano at first signs of cold or flu

Respiratory Herbs

There are many herbs that have been traditionally used to clear colds, flus, and especially coughs. St. Francis Herb Farm makes a wonderful blend called Respirafect that I have found to be very effective when taken right at the first signs of illness, especially for those who are at higher risk of pneumonia or bronchitis.

How to implement:

Take at first signs of cold or flu. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about dosing and safety.

I hope that brings some calm and clarity to the current situation and I’m always here to answer questions or address concerns.

We always take precautions at the clinic to prevent the spread of infection but if you have concerns and would prefer to have your appointment virtually or over the phone please let me know. Please also let me know if you are experiencing signs of the cold or flu before coming in for an appointment.

Warmest wishes,

Felicia

References

  1. Ginde AA, Mansbach JM, Camargo CAJ. Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and upper respiratory tract infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Feb;169(4):384–90.

  2. Naithani R, Huma LC, Holland LE, Shukla D, McCormick DL, Mehta RG, et al. Antiviral activity of phytochemicals: a comprehensive review. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2008 Oct;8(11):1106–33.