There’s no escaping the news about COVID-19, thecurrent strand of coronavirus causing a global pandemic. Whether you’re on the‘it’s no big deal’ side or you’re currently hoarding enough toilet paper tolast you until 2022, one key thing that everyone should be focusing on is theirimmunity.
We turned to Doctor of Chinese & Integrative Medicine, Elizabeth Trattner, for tips on how to boost our immunity and keep our defenses up.
According to Dr. Trattner, “Now more than ever it’stime to start eating well. Eating well is paramount for a healthy immunesystem. Getting 3 squares meals in a day that are loaded with organic food, andlots of veggies and fruits can boost the immune system.”
We know the stores are scarce at the moment, but look for things like Greens, Mushrooms (not button), Turmeric, Ginger, Matcha, Garlic, Marrow based soups, and citrus.
Anotherbig tip that Dr. Trattner shared, which might be tough to wrap your head aroundwhen you’re stuck inside and working from home, is to decrease junk food,alcohol and sugar which can all deplete immunity.
Beyondwashing your hands, avoid touching your face, and staying home if you’re sick,here is more advice from Dr. Trattner to keep you well year ‘round, not justwhen a pandemic strike.
- Work Out - Moving your body has positive immunomodulatory effects. Again, get outside in the fresh air. Yoga can keep you calm and boost immunity. Any movement is a positive one.
- Get Plenty of Sleep – Instead of staying plastered to the TV or your phone, rest. It’s the best medicine. Turn off electronics at least an hour before bedtime and no TV in the bedroom especially the news.
- Get Outside for Fresh Air – Being in nature resets our brains and induces a state of calm. We also need vitamin D from the sun as well, which boosts our health.
- Practice Breathwork –This technique was taught to me by mentor Dr. Andrew Weil. It can calm you down within a minute or two. With your tongue against your teeth at the roof inhale through your nose for 4 counts. Hold for 7. Exhale for 8 through the mouth making a whooshing sound. Repeat for about a minute. This technique has roots in Pranayama.
- Feed Your Gut Bacteria – I like a multi-strain probiotic of at least 8 strains and at least 25 billion units. Take first thing in the AM and at bedtime to increase permeability. Foods like kimchee and pickles have good bacteria as well.
- Use a Gratitude Journal – With everything and everyone scared, write down a few reminders why life is good. Gratitude helps calms the mind.
- Try Essential Oils – Essential oils can calm anxiety and nerves and my favorite is rose, lavender, and vetiver. Make sure to always use a carrier oil, never applying them directly to the skin. Fun fact: Oils like Rosemary help clean the air and were used hundreds of years ago to purify the air in hospitals.
- Protect your wind Gates – In Chinese Medicine, the back of your head and neck are your wind gates. Wear a scarf around your neck and pull up your hoods! Protect your back of your head against wind/drafts/ fans. It’s how colds enter the body. Make sure to dry your hair for extra protection.
- Self-Care – Small acts of ritual can help increase the production of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. This can be a bath, Gua Sha, a foot rub or even cooking!
Dr. Trattner notes “Sometimes we can’t control what’s going on in the world, but good self-care, nutrition, sleep, and other self-care practices optimize our health and immunity. Now more than ever take control of your health!”
For more health and wellness related tips, follow Dr. Trattner on Instagram @dreliztratts.