Are you feeling weary, frustrated and frightened by these troubling times? It is stressful not knowing what is next as well as fearing for your health and finances. Contracting COVID and getting a severe case requiring hospitalization could put you over the edge, physically, mentally and financially. However, a good foundation of health and lifestyle, can help you avoid getting a severe case.
What we are learning through this pandemic is health and lifestyle has a profound impact on developing illness. How you take care of yourself may either give you a free pass or a hospitalization and serious illness. Going back to the basics is what will help you cope physically and emotionally with whatever comes your way. We are here to support you.
While there are no proven treatments for COVID-19, functional medicine physicians have a large armamentarium of preventive and treatment protocols which have been successfully used for other similar viruses, including for other strains for coronaviruses. Lifestyle is one of the components.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 often occur due to underlying conditions in the order shown below.
- High Blood Pressure
- Metabolic Disease
- Cardiovascular Disease
All of these except for age can be modified with lifestyle. The lifestyle factors that have the most profound impact on your health are:
Inflammation that gets out of control plays a role in cytokine storm which is responsible for the damage to lungs and oxygen deprivation leading to heart disease and the need for ventilator support or death. Food can cause or quiet inflammation. All of the conditions listed above have inflammation as the root cause and food can be used as medicine or poison.
- Sugar, saturated fat, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, processed and fried foods, red meat, dairy and grains increase inflammation.
- Fish, olives, avocado, nuts, seeds and any of their oils can decrease inflammation.
- Eat more anti-inflammatory foods and decrease inflammatory foods. Eliminate the processed foods.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables can decrease inflammation and help you lose weight.
- Weight loss can lower blood pressure, decrease obesity (fat cells release inflammatory cytokines) and can reverse metabolic and cardiovascular diseases in many cases.
- Eat clean food (fresh, local, mostly produce, free of preservatives, dyes, additives and pesticides).
- Drink clean water (filtered, not from a plastic bottle).
It’s not always easy to do on your own. Seek support when you need it. Keep in mind that you may be able to lose weight with any kind of diet, but some may leave you metabolically worse and are not sustainable. What you eat can and should be tailored to your individual risk factors, conditions and sensitivities. A nutrition coach who works closely with a functional medicine physician can assist you in tailoring your diet and lifestyle to enhance your immune response to any infection.
Exercise is a treatment for all of the conditions listed.
- Exercise anti ages you by building muscle and bone.
- Aerobic exercise can lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular disease.
- High intensity interval training which combines aerobic and resistance training is best for obesity, metabolic disorders such as diabetes and insulin resistance and overall health.
- Exercise 30 min to target heart rate 5 days per week. Don’t overdo it, because over exercise lowers resistance to infection.
Since gyms are not available, find some apps, You Tube videos or online training to get you started or keep you going. Many gyms and personal trainers are working virtually now.
Stress can change the microbiome in your gut. Your gut microbiome is your first line of defense and is responsible for over 80% of your immune system. Stress also raises cortisol which suppresses your immune system. Managing stress is a critical aspect of overall health.
- Spend time daily in gratitude, prayer.
- Practice meditation or Heartmath to alleviate anxiety and stress.
- Spend time talking to friends.
- Get involved in an activity you enjoy.
- Don’t watch too much news.
- Learn some strategies to cope such as mindfulness and living in the present moment.
- Seek support at our live Weekly Wednesday Simple Wisdom for Troubling Times with replays available when you sign up.
- Our team is here to support you with many services listed on the Events page of our website such as free meditation classes, online programs, virtual visits and group classes.
- Sign up for more Simple Wisdom via a short email series that will comfort and support you.
Arm yourself with information to protect yourself as well as your loved ones. Our COVID-19 Survive and Thrive Guide is packed with valuable information that will keep you healthy and safe. The email series guides you through what supplements may help, inspiring TED Talks to lift your spirits, virtual cures for cabin fever such as online virtual concerts, tours, museums and more, staying strong without a gym, and surefire ways to shift your mood.
We will get through this and with the right strategies and tools be fit, strong, healthy and resilient. May you stay safe and well and come to us for support if you need us. My team and I are here for you and wish you the very best.