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There's no doubt staying healthy is on a lot of people's minds lately with the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. Although it's always important to wash or sanitize your hands and avoid those already infected, there are a number of other simple, defensive measures you can take to boost your immune system and protect yourself from getting sick. Following self-care measures like stress reduction, exercise and a healthy diet, combined with immune supporting supplements are easy and affordable ways to decrease your chances of contracting a cold or flu and will help speed your recovery if you do come down sick. 

 

Simple stress reduction tips to boost immunity and reduce the effects of cold and flu virus like the Coranavirus (COVID-19)

Stress and anxiety can severely weaken our immune systems and lead to cold, flu, and other illnesses and it is often overlooked as an important part of a strong immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic website, stress reduction exercises like positive self talk, meditation and controlled, deep breathing all help regulate hormone levels, heart rate, respiratory rate, nervous system and more which in turn can help boost your immune system and improve your health.

Stress reduction exercises also have an indirect approach on boosting the immune system since your emotional or physical triggers are reduced which will allow you to keep up with proper diet and exercise or less self directed sabotage from over indulging in drugs or alcohol to numb the anxiety or stress of daily life. 

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Practice Positive Self Talk - Your First Step to a Healthier Immune System 

It's hard to believe that what you say to yourself can have such an impact on your health and especially your immune system, but more and more research has been finding a connection between your subconscious mind, positive self talk and healthier lives. Just like athletes psych themselves up for a big event with positive self talk, so too should everyone else on a daily basis.

Positive self talk has been found to lower stress levels (Cortisol and Adrenaline), heart rate, reproduction hormones, relax the digestive system and reduces the effects of short, shallow breathing which in turn will signal, balance and boost the immune system, helping to elevate its efficiency. Negative self talk, can trigger a production of stress hormones leading to a cascade effect of bodily processes like increased heart rate, more shallower respiratory rate and an overworked immune system which will eventually become depleted if left on "high alert" from constant negative, self worry or defeat. 

Practice Meditation - How to Meditate? 

Not sure how to meditate? It's easier than you might think. Try the S.A.F.E. method which stands for Sit And Feel Everything. 

  1. Sit (or lay down) in any room, car, workplace, outdoors etc... close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and just connect with your environment.
  2. Listen to the sounds surrounding you and how they change.
  3. Notice the scents of the room and how they differ. 
  4. Feel everything! Focus on how the floor or chair feels beneath you. How your body feels, your clothing, your hair. 

This form of sensory connection allows your body to slow down it's heart rate and balance your nervous system which will lead to a healthier production of hormones, enzymes and cellular processes to occur which allows your immune system to work more efficiently overall. 

Practice Deep Belly Breathing

Deep breathing is one of the easiest and most effective techniques for quick stress reduction. 

  1. Breathe in slowly through your nose and expand your belly outwards.
  2. Hold the breath for a few seconds.
  3. Release the breath slowly through your mouth in a slow movement, contracting the diaphragm inward to push the air up and out.
  4. Repeat frequently throughout the day to release any tension or stress and to give your nervous system a break!

This outward expansion allows your diaphragm to move outwards, allowing the lower lobes of your lungs to expand downward to fill with more air and therefore oxygen. Deep, belly breathing that exercises your diaphragm will also help to condition your lungs, making them more resilient to the possibility of leading to more severe lung illness or respiratory distress if they do become impacted by the cold or flu virus. 

While these simple techniques can work wonders on their own, combining them with the correct products can accentuate their effects. Support your nervous system long term with our Adrenal Adapt Herbal Extract or soothe acute anxiety with Stress Balance Herbal Extract

Your lifestyle affects your risk of getting sick! Sleep, diet, and exercise are also huge contributors to a balanced and healthy immune system.

Healthy Diet - Why is diet so important for a healthy immune system? 

healthy eating for immune support spinach saladOne way to ensure your body gets everything it needs during stressful times is to incorporate a healthy diet and if needed, supplements into your diet. 


Increasing your consumption of fresh, nutrient rich foods that are high in antioxidants while decreasing alcohol and inflammatory foods, that are high in sugar or other processed ingredients, will give your body the fuel it needs to help boost your immune system and fight off infectious pathogens. 

Arming your diet with immune boosting foods, vitamins and supplements helps to boost your body's production of cellular immune defense white blood cells or  Leukocytes which makeup the arsenal of Lymphocytes and Phagocytes. These immune cells are what either defend or kill pathogens and if your body doesn't get the proper nutrients it needs to boost or maintain adequate levels of these cells; colds like the Coranavirus or flu can settle in longer or become more severe. 

"Cytotoxic T lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) cells and antiviral macrophages can recognize and kill virus-infected cells. Helper T cells can recognize virus-infected cells and produce a number of important cytokines. Cytokines produced by monocytes (monokines), T cells, and NK cells (lymphokines) play important roles in regulating immune functions and developing antiviral immune functions" (Baron, 1996).

Although whole foods are the ideal way to get these essential vitamins and nutrients, this can sometimes be a challenge.

If you haven't been following a healthy diet lately, a detox may also be a good way to decrease your odds of infection. Eliminating processed and high sugar foods and incorporating more vegetables, lean meats and fruits into proper nutrition is a good place to start your detox and our Live-Better Liver & Digestive Detox Extract can help speed up the process. For extra immune support on a daily basis, our Immune Boost Hydrotherapy Bath Soak, Respiratory Inhalant Rub and Body lotion help to balance and boost immunity while soothing and moisturizing. If you have started to feel under the weather and think you may be on your way to becoming ill try reducing it's hold onto you or its severity with our Immune Support Herbal Extract and staved off annoying symptoms of body aches, congestion and more with our Wintertime Warmth Herbal Extract. Both are designed to help boost your immunity and well-being at the onslaught of illness or during.  

Lifestyle changes to boost immunity and stay healthy! 

  • Diet | Ditch the fast food, processed foods and sugar laden drinks & desserts 
  • Hydrate | 1/2 your body weight in oz or roughly 1.5-2 liters per day on average 
  • Sleep | 7-8 hours for proper cellular renewal and immune response 
  • Exercise | 30 minutes of light-moderate exercise 2-3 x a week 

Hydration is so important to keeping your immune system healthy and also to help speed healing and recovery of being sick. Drinking purified water daily in the right amounts helps not only to hydrate your cells allowing them to function better, but it flushes out cellular debris including viral or bacterial waste or by-products, flushes out excess hormones helping to reduce deleterious effects from excess hormone circulation, but also helps to flush out the digestive system, urinary tract and lymphatic systems. It is recommended to drink about half your weight in ounces daily. If you hate the thought of drinking plain water, add lemon, lime or other fruits to make it more flavorful.

Hydrating the air is important too, as your lung and nasal passages which house your immune defending mucosa and cellular tissue work better when well hydrated and ready to combat incoming threats. Consider using a humidifier or do a steam shower daily to hydrate your lungs and sinuses while boosting your immune defense. 

Staying active and getting adequate sleep is another easy way to keep you strong and healthy. Exercise will help increase circulation getting proper nutrients and oxygen to the cells allowing them to function better at defending against cold and flu. It also helps promote perspiration and enhance the lymphatic system which helps to more adequately eliminate cellular and pathogenic waste from the body.

If sore muscles, aches and pains are keeping you from exercising, apply our Pain Relief Body Lotion that cools and soothes sore muscles as it eases inflammation and swelling. Often times these chronic aches and pains can be debilitating and discouraging. Reducing inflammation and chronic muscle pain can improve your quality of life while providing a sense of relief and motivation to stay active.

Inadequate sleep and cellular recovery can lead to a weakened immune system and eventually illness. Sleep can significantly protect against, and help recovery from illness while improving your mood and overall quality of life. If you're having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for 7-8 hours a night then try our Sleep Support Herbal Extract. 

Why proper hygiene and using a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol is so important! 

Person washing their hands to avoid cold & flu virus - RD Alchemy In addition to these tips, practicing good hygiene and properly sanitizing your home and office are two more weapons in your self care arsenal against the flu. Door knobs, keyboards, smartphones and other surfaces that come into contact with large groups should all be sanitized regularly. Avoiding the sick and large crowds helps slow the spread of the virus, which helps keep medical infrastructure from becoming overwhelmed. 

Dr. Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, or CIDRAP, recommends the following.

 

  • Avoid sick people and large crowds.
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water. Count to 20 each time you wash or sing the "Happy Birthday" song to yourself twice as you wash. 
  • Use 60% alcohol based hand sanitizer after washing or when soap and water are not available.

 

      Natural Hand Sanitizer - RD Alchemy Using a 60% or more alcohol based hand sanitizer is important to help eliminate bacteria and virus that any improper hand washing may leave behind or when soap and hot water aren't available. Use one after touching any heavily touched surfaces like gas pumps, shopping carts handles, elevator buttons, desks, phones and more.

      While the threat of colds like the Coronavirus or flu are always impending, following these cold and flu tips to stay healthy can reduce your chances of exposure, experiencing life threatening symptoms and hasten your recovery time. More than just buying a hand sanitizer, eating right, reducing stress and better hand washing will help you stay on the path to a healthier you.  

      Love making your own products and want a healthy, flavor full and immune boosting syrup? Learn how to make an immune boosting Elderberry syrup. If the cold or flu has you stuck at home wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, try making an herbal Hot Toddy to sooth a sore throat, body aches or other symptoms. Adding some brandy or tequila to your Toddy will help you stay calm and relaxed. 

      While the tips and products mentioned in this blog article are a great way to help defend yourself from the cold and flu, you should always consult your physician if you are experiencing severe symptoms.

      References:

      Galveston (TX): University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

      ISBN-10: 0-9631172-1-1
      Dr. Michael Osterholm of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, or CIDRAP,

       

      Regina Di Silvestro - RD Alchemy
      Written by: Regina Di Silvestro

      Natural Product Chemist | Peptide Chemist | Medicinal Herbalist | Owner @rdalchemy.com to create non-toxic, therapeutic products based on the sciences of Ethnobotany, Herbal Medicine and Natural Product Chemistry.