• Lifelong Nutrition And Fitness: Worried About the Covid-19 Coronavirus? 12 Helpful Tips

    Test results are coming in and we are learning people geographically closer to us are testing positive. It’s no longer something that’s ‘happening to other people.’ Every situation is different, and I cannot fully understand all the ways your life might be impacted right now. I hope this message helps bring some peace and comfort as I share some suggestions on how you can approach this period of much uncertainty.

    In many ways, the everyday preventative actions we take to protect ourselves from this virus are not much different than how we live our lives even when not threatened with a pandemic: 

    1.      Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. How long is 20 seconds? Sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice. The recommendation is to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water is not available. 

    2.      Limit where you get you updates from and limit screen time. Watching 24 hour news stations and social media can quickly become overwhelming. Overwhelm may lead to anxiety and stress. Both can increase the body’s inflammatory response and have a negative effect on the immune system. Now is not the time to have a weakened immune system!

    3.      Stay informed through reliable, evidence based sources. May I suggest turning to your state and local public health departments? Here in California that is the California Department of Public Health (CDPH): https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx.and https://publichealthsbc.org/ for a local perspective. 

    4.      Stay home when sick. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow not your hand because you then use that same hand to touch things others will touch like door handles, touchpads, other people’s hands, etc. 

    5.      Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects like door handles, keys, stick shifts, etc.

    I recently was hospitalized so I’m feeling a bit vulnerable since I’ve been on multiple antibiotics for 3 weeks now with the chance of needing them even longer. Antibiotics are not selective. They kill the good and the bad bugs thereby leaving the immune system susceptible because 70-80% of the immune system is in the gut. The following are a few self-care tips for these stressful times:

    1.      Keep a small bottle of hand soap, a small spray bottle of water and a small towel in your car to wash your hands as well as wipe down the inside door handle and steering wheel while you’re out and about. 

    2.      Rest and sleep. Sleep is the time when your body repairs itself. When you don’t get enough sleep, you weaken your entire system. Let your body recover by getting 7-9 hours of good, restorative sleep each night. 

    3.      Reduce/avoid added sugars. Less added sugars and more fiber (think nuts, barley, lentils, beans, vegetables) means more good bacteria in your gut and a healthy gut overall. A healthy gut means a healthier you.

    4.      Eat a colorful variety of whole foods like beans, nuts, lentils, avocado, fruits and vegetables you prepare yourself (i.e. not highly processed). This is a continuation of point 3 above plus these foods are sources of immune system strengthening nutrients like zinc, vitamin C, selenium and vitamin A.

    5.      Do things that relax you like hobbies, reading, listening to music and outdoor walks (social distancing observed). 

    6.      Practice deep breathing. Long deep breaths help reduce stress by improving overall blood flow and allow the mind and body to calm down.

    7.      Start a gratitude journal. Shifting your focus away from the negative, difficult things and towards the good things in your life will help you feel better. 

    As a final note:

    What should you do if you are sick?

    Call your healthcare provider ahead of going to his/her office. Doing so allows you to get the care you need without putting others at risk. Use the above image courtesy the CDPH as a guide. 

    How are you doing? I’d love to hear from you. How are you feeling during all this? What are you doing to stay healthy?