What you need to do to protect you and your family now.
With the COVID-19 dominating all news sources and our home lives it’s important to talk about ways we can protect our families from infection – and I mean all infection. It’s unfortunate that an infectious disease pandemic has pushed us to this point of really looking at our health – but as I always say to clients – it is always better late than never! So let’s jump right in with what you can work on NOW to make a difference for ALL diseases to come.
Proper immunity relies on a few balanced systems. Problems with immunity – whether it be contagious or autoimmunity lie in imbalances in our body systems, and of course issues in our environment and lifestyles.
Today a lot of America eats processed foods, which lack nutritional value and do not have the nutrients our bodies need to develop proper immunity. We are super busy and have high-stress levels (or perceived stress) and often do not give ourselves a chance to slow down and relax. We feel time-constrained by everything and we have constant brain stimulation with media. Due to the high stress, combined with a lack of nutrient-dense eating, we develop digestive imbalance which leads us to absorb and utilize even fewer nutrients and kill off beneficial bacteria in our guts that we desperately need for immunity and balance. We also, in general, do not consume enough plain filtered water daily which is also needed for immunity. So what can we do?
It’s time to take a look at what we put into our bodies as fuel. Typically as humans, we want a variety of nutrient sources that are full of density. We want all types of nutrients from healthy fats, to healthy carbs to proteins. We need and want the ability to use each one as a fuel source. That means we don’t eat an overabundance of any one of them. Balance is key to being flexible and utilizing all of the greatness that comes with each nutrient value in our body.
We need to ditch canned and processed foods, and we need to eat nutrient-dense fresh whole foods. These provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients (fat, carb, and protein) our bodies need for our immune systems to be tip-top. So what are some types of nutrients we need to get and eat?
Vitamins A, D, E, K
These are fat-soluble vitamins. That means – you are going to get rich sources from meats, animal parts (like organs), and some plants. We can make our own vitamin D from sunlight as long as we are healthy and eating well. We often do not get that sunlight today from blocking with certain sunscreens, or just general lack of sun if you live in places like the northeast, or certain parts of the northwest as well.
The sourcing of your meat and animals is important. Organ meats are the richest sources of vitamins for us. Choosing locally grown animals that were pasture-raised and grass-fed is the best source of meat. This raises the healthiest animals which in turn maximizes the nutrients you get. Finding a local farm, or a market to get these animals is the best way. You can also find grass-fed in the store. But I am sure you will find the best deal in the price from a local farmer.
You may not have realized these vitamins were so important to immunity but they are! The lack of healthy fat in American diets is epidemic. Including fat in your diet is essential. You want to be avoiding processed oils like vegetable and canola. You want to be adding things like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, butter, lard, tallow and of course nice pastured animals or wild-caught fish and seafood. Do not be afraid of these more raw unprocessed fats. The great news is these healthy fats have nothing to do with heart disease (only those processed ones do!). Heart disease comes from processed oils and foods. If you avoid that – you avoid issues.
Cod liver oil, eggs, orange, and yellow fruits and veggies, leafy greens and more are also a few other food sources.
Because these vitamins are stored in our fat you can build up nice stores that your body can use at any time. As long as you stick to whole food sources, with minimal supplements that are being monitored by your doctor or FNTP you will have a nice reserve without overdoing it.
This is another commonly known vitamin for immunity. Although this has become overemphasized a bit in our culture, it is important to help with immunity. By itself, this isn’t an amazing cure-all that a lot of people think or as advertised, but with a proper nutrient-dense diet, and focus with additional support it is useful. This is a water-soluble vitamin, which means that it doesn’t store up in your body. But when your body has used all it needs, the rush is flushed out in the urine. So attempting to overfill yourself with it will only result in it being flushed right out.
Food sources are citrus fruits, some leafy greens, potatoes and tomatoes, peppers and more great for you! Again when supplementing you should always speak with your FNTP or physician.
Plenty of Healthy Plant Fiber
Many times when people hear fiber they think of a supplement only, or they think about fiber-based products you go buy at the store. The problem with this thinking is a few things. First, the fiber is just one part of a food, the nutrients that go with a food high in fiber are just as important. When we supplement we don’t get those additional nutrients. When we buy a product enriched with fiber, it is highly processed and not only is that fiber probably useless it has no nutritional value either.
Healthy fiber is all about plants and some fruits! When your doctor says more fiber – that is what you should be doing. The biggest thing I see in clients’ is buying processed products enhanced with fiber to try to fill that gap. It doesn’t work. You need leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits to get the right type of fiber. You can also get some fibers from things like tubers! Think whole foods and not only will you get that fiber but you will get a load of nutrients you need too!
Healthy fiber also helps your digestive function properly and to the fullest. You will eliminate properly and frequently to keep toxins and germs from spreading back into the body rather than being eliminated.
If you haven’t heard drinking water is good for you. Check out my hydration post to learn more above. But basically it goes like this – you need at least half your body weight in water daily as a base. Then if you drink anything like caffeine or alcohol you need more water. How much? For every 8 oz of diuretic beverage, you need 12 more oz of water. You absolutely need this to hydrate your passageways in your body, create proper digestive enzymes and more, and all those things create better immunity!
Most people do not realize the importance of their digestion. EVERYTHING YOU EAT is broken down and distributed by your digestive system. If it is failing in any aspect so will your immunity and health. Click the link above to learn more about this. A large part of our immunity is directly located INSIDE the digestive system as well, including our defense and fighting mechanisms. It is critical we put in healthy whole foods (processed foods cause damage in our digestion), to keep it functioning well, as well as participate in healthy eating habits to help it work to it’s fullest potential.
You establish proper digestion again through a whole foods diet. You avoid unhealthy fats and refined carbs. This helps everything work the way it should and minimizes damage from free radicals in poor and processed fats and foods.
If you are suffering from things like reflux, stomach pain, bloating, nausea, extreme burping or gassiness, diarrhea or constipation or you can tell when you are digesting and don’t feel great – it’s a sign you need some digestive support. Your digestion should be silent, and painless and not overly smelly!
I have written about this before, and of course, this is always easier said than done. I can’t ever say enough about the app Headspace. If you truly want to change your brain wiring it is the way to go. It’s not some weird meditation woo-woo thing. It’s very straightforward and teaches you how to focus. It’s that simple. It teaches you to focus on yourself and awareness of yourself rather than focus on things out of your control or around you. The science shows it changes your brain. I am not an affiliate but have used it and KNOW it works. Not only that but our son uses the kid’s meditations and he tells me he uses the techniques himself to deal with clothing sensitivities and more. If you have a young one who is struggling with ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression or even chronic pain – you need to get the free trial and consider a purchase. I have been a paid member for years now.
Meditation is just one method of control. Other people prefer prayer, people prefer nature and more. Find the thing that you can latch into every day for 10 minutes that will take you to the best most relaxed place to focus on yourself and control. Take time for you as well. Slow down your lifestyle, eliminate activities, people or things in your life that have no meaning and only create stress. That also might be breaks or elimination of social media. You will be amazed at how great you feel when you stop using it and also stop watching or listening to the news. Your life will be forever changed. You have more focus on what is in front of you and less on what isn’t really happening. If you can’t eliminate – reduce.
So why now? Why not now? But honestly, by eating nutritious nutrient-dense food, supplementing when you need to, drinking water and protecting your digestive system you will be less sick all year every year and be on regular alert for any invaders to your body!
If you are still wondering what YOU need to do, or your family, I am here to help. I have a free consultation to chat with you to see. I am also available to do virtual visits (we don’t need to meet in person). All the work I do in functional nutrition is JUST FOR YOU. That means I look at your personal symptoms, problems, and habits and I tell you where you can work to balance that back out to achieve the results you are looking for.