With the COVID-19 outbreak, self-care is more important than ever. It is crucial we take the time to nourish and fuel our bodies, and find time for peace and calm despite all the chaos around us. If you are going through separation or divorce on TOP on this global pandemic, you’re most likely feeling extra stressed – perhaps co-parenting feels exasperatingly hard, or the fear and uncertainty caused by divorce has only compounded due to our current global state. Take a deep breath. While much is out of our control right now, there are a few things we can control, and taking our health into our own hands is one of them.
This week one the The Better Apart Blog, we welcome wellness expert Dana Frost sharing her best tips for keeping yourself healthy, throughout COVID-19. BONUS! These tips may even begin to elevate your self-esteem.
By Dana Frost
In my mid-forties, my heart nearly stopped beating due to an arrhythmia. I was a mom to five kids, the oldest had just graduated from high school and the youngest was ten years old. I was totally blindsided by my health crisis. I was afraid of the implications and I felt a loss of control.
I had an active coaching practice and a spouse who was rarely home due to work. A pacemaker was implanted to correct the arrhythmia, however, I continued with fatigue and exhaustion. Driven to understand what was going on with my body, I began a multi-year journey where I came to appreciate the healing properties of food.
We are now in a global health crisis. We’ve lost control and we don’t know what to expect. Naturally, we are facing multiple fears.
COVID-19 is a formidable foe that has driven humanity behind the walls of their homes in hopes of gaining an upper hand.
A strong immune system has become our strongest asset.
Our immunity is impacted by a matrix of variables within our mind, body, and emotional systems. We can’t fast track our way to improved immune function but the body is responsive and we know the variables that impact immunity.
- Nutrition and hydration
- Stress and resilience
- Movement and exercise
- Community and networks
In this blog post we will take a peek at the first variable: how to boost your immune system with food choices that fuel immunity.
A few guiding principles about nutrition and the digestive system:
- If there are underlying challenges in the digestive system, it’s not what you eat but what your body can do with what you eat that really matters. Ultimately, we want to clear food sensitivities and inflammation in the system so that we are able to absorb the immune-boosting qualities of our food.
- Every time you eat, including snacks, your plate should include fat, fiber, and protein. This combination ensures that your body will be satiated so that you won’t be hungry in an hour.
- Honor your body’s natural rhythm for optimal digestion which is to eat (ingest), digest (2-4 hours) and rest.
- The digestive system uses more energy than any other bodily process. The rest period allows the digestive system to reset so that food can make its way through the digestive organs without competition from the next meal.
Optimal immune function requires access to the following vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin E is the most powerful antioxidant in the body. Antioxidants are the agents that clear debris from the bloodstream. Food sources include almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, olives and olive oil, shrimp, spinach and other leafy greens including broccoli.
Vitamin A is critical to the maintenance of the skeletal system, skin, and vision. It helps the skin and mucous membranes resist bacteria and viruses effectively.
Eggs, orange, red-fleshed fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, organ meats, and cod liver oil are good sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin D is a key factor in the innate and adaptive immune systems. It’s essential for the growth and health of bones because it supports the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Food sources include salmon, mackerel, tuna, liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D including dairy products, soy, cereal, and orange juice. However, the body most efficiently absorbs vitamin D from exposure to sunlight through the skin. You may want to read my blog post on sunscreen to learn more.
Vitamin C is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of all bodily tissue. It boosts immunity against infections and respiratory illnesses, and aides in the absorption of iron and assists wound healing. Because the body does not manufacture vitamin C, we rely upon food sources which include citrus, kiwi, greens, berries, cantaloupe, cauliflower, mango, watermelon, tomato, cabbage, green and red peppers, and green peas.
The immune system cannot function effectively without zinc. Oysters, nuts, seeds, shellfish, dairy, red meat, legumes like lentils and garbanzo beans (sprouting and soaking will improve their bioavailability for improved absorption).
How To Boost Your Immune System Using Spices
Don’t forget your spice rack.
It’s literally a kitchen medicine cabinet.
- Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
- Cinnamon moderates blood sugar levels and helps lower chronic inflammation.
- Ginger is a tonic for the tummy and another powerful antioxidant. It helps eradicate the cold virus and relaxes the intestinal tract.
- Raw honey is loaded with anti-bacterial properties and another antioxidant powerhouse.
- Garlic is a known immunomodulator and anti-inflammatory.
Our near future consists of unknowns and little control outside our homes. Let’s claim what we can control by using food as medicine.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates
Dana Frost is a body, mind and spirit alchemist who educates and coaches women towards optimal health so they can enjoy vibrant lives with the people they love and fulfill their mission in life. You can learn more about her work here.
P.S. Want more tools and resources to stay positive during a divorce? Download my Free Divorce Survive & Thrive Kit below!
With support and strength,
DISCLAIMER: The commentary, advice, and opinions from Gabrielle Hartley are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or mental health services. You should contact an attorney and/or mental health professional in your state to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.