10 Ways To Boost Your Immune System In Times Of COVID-19, According To SHA Wellness Clinic

10 Ways To Boost Your Immune System In Times Of COVID-19, According To SHA Wellness Clinic

  • August 6, 2020

Set on Spain’s Costa Blanca, SHA Wellness Clinic is one of the world’s premier wellness destinations. This health resort has been known to attract everyone from elite athletes, to Hollywood celebrities and Victoria’s Secret models, as well as assorted oligarchs and billionaires. They come to lose weight, detox, or participate in SHA’s Healthy Aging program. Others want to reset their minds and bodies, adopt new healthy habits, or simply get away from it all. 

Devised by wellness guru Alfredo Bataller, the immensely successful SHA method is based on a holistic approach to wellness that combines the latest advances in Western medicine and progressive natural therapies, with a particular focus on healthy, balanced nutrition and exercise.

Since reopening in July, SHA has introduced a series of new services specially designed for the COVID-19 era. Immunotherapy and lymphocyte profile consultations have been added to all bookings to assess the state of the guest’s immune system, while a new immune system strengthening pack has also been developed. A comprehensive “SHA insurance” covers medical and related expenses in the event of positive COVID-19 test on arrival. 

So, how can we apply the SHA method to our everyday lives to give our immune systems an extra boost in times of COVID-19? Here are some tips from Alfredo Bataller and his team of experts at SHA Wellness Clinic:

1. Choose seasonal fruit and vegetables

Alfredo Bataller, founder of SHA Wellness Clinic: A balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, vitamin C and antioxidants helps reinforce the immune system and prevent disease. It’s highly recommended to choose fruit and vegetables that are in season to ensure that they are as fresh and nutritious as possible.

2. Enjoy immune-boosting superfoods

Melanie Waxman, healthy nutrition expert: To keep the immune system in perfect working order, we should enjoy a diet based on fresh food that helps to maintain the balance of the intestinal microbiota. It should include whole grains, beans, seaweed (spirulina), nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, such as kale, onions, garlic, leeks and asparagus, and fruit, such as apples.

3. Take moderate exercise

Luis Ganso, personal trainer: Moderate exercise, such as 30 minutes of fast-paced walking, has been shown to improve the function of the immune system. This type of exercise strengthens our respiratory capacity, mobilizing antibodies and white blood cells to circulate more quickly, and detect and neutralize external attacks. Meanwhile, raising the body temperature helps to prevent the development of infection.

4. Exercise outdoors if possible…

Alfredo Bataller: It’s always a good idea to spend some time during the day walking outdoors—preferably in nature. Spending time outdoors is important for breathing fresh air and absorbing the vitamin D provided by the sun, which is so crucial to support calcium absorption and the proper functioning of the immune system.

5. …Even when you don’t feel like it

Alfredo Bataller: Exercise is always good, even if we may have lost motivation during lockdown or if we feel tired or low on energy. Exercise strengthens the immune system and makes our bodies secrete “happy” hormones, or endorphins, while reducing the level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Stress is harmful to the body, and, having less of it actually strengthens the immune system.

6. Use deep breathing to stimulate lymph flow

Rachel Rose, body and mind expert and yoga coach: Stable mental health is basic to managing stress, which, in turn, impacts the immune system. Lymphocytes are found in lymph nodes and organs, and in the blood. Lymph nodes are the body’s first line of defense against disease. Breathing is directly related to lymph flow, and lymph flow is directly related to immunity. 

The diaphragm muscle, located between the lungs and the abdomen moves down when we inhale and up when we exhale. This movement causes a series of pressure differences that generate movement in the body. Lymph flow, or the mechanism that transports the lymph containing our infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body, is one of the most crucial movements supported by deep breathing. 

7. Get enough rest

Alfredo Bataller: Getting quality sleep is essential to reinforcing our immune system, while not getting enough sleep can cause our immunity to decline, making us more prone to infectious diseases. Adults should sleep at least seven to eight hours a day.

8. Rethink breakfast

Maria Romeralo, healthy nutrition expert: When we start the day with sugary coffee and a pastry, we instantly feel good and full of energy. However, after a while, our energy levels drop and our bodies demand more sugar. This is why it’s important to avoid refined sugar, artificial sweeteners and honey at breakfast. 

At SHA, we serve miso soup for breakfast. Miso soup is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. You can make it even richer by adding wakame seaweed, onions, tofu, carrots or pumpkin. It’s a wonderful way to cleanse the body while providing quality nutrients. Miso is a fermented food and therefore a source of probiotics that also help strengthen our immune systems.

9. Keep in touch with friends and family

Alfredo Bataller: Confinement can lead to loneliness, sedentariness and depression, all of which are detrimental to the proper functioning of the immune system. Contact with our loved ones helps calm the mind, enables us to cope with the stress of these uncertain times, and also reduces the risk of obesity and alcohol and tobacco abuse.

10. Look for lasting lifestyle change, not quick fixes 

Melanie Waxman, healthy nutrition expert: It’s important to transition to a healthy lifestyle gradually, with a view to maintaining it long term. At SHA, we give our guests the necessary tools to start leading that lifestyle once they leave: healthy cooking classes, yoga classes, outdoor exercise, nutrition and medical advice on everything from quitting smoking, to sleeping, and strengthening the cognition. Once back in their routine, they’re encouraged to adopt these activities until they become habits.

4 Effective Ways To Boost Your Immunity Naturally At Home

4 Effective Ways To Boost Your Immunity Naturally At Home

  • August 3, 2020

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The rise in the number of novel Coronavirus cases has made people shift to a healthier lifestyle. These days, when the chances of someone getting infected are still pretty high, having a strong immune system is a necessity.

On this note, we bring you 4 effective ways to boost your immunity naturally at home thus helping you maintain your mental and physical health. Even if you get infected, having a healthy immune system is important to fight back the disease.

A healthy and fit body reduces the impact of the infection. The ways listed below may boost your immunity but they won’t completely protect you from the risk of COVID-19. However, any solution that aids in the fight against COVID-19 is a great solution.

A healthy and fit body reduces the impact of the infection. We bring you 5 effective ways to boost your immunity naturally at home to stay healthy.
Sleep atleast 8 hours a day

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The food we intake and the number of hours we sleep form the basis of a healthy immune system. Food and sleep are closely related to our health. Inadequate eating or sleeping makes us more susceptible to catching diseases.

Adults should get at least 7 hours of sleep each night, while teens need 8–10 hours daily to boost their immunity. If you have trouble sleeping, try limiting your screen time and using your devices in blue light mode. It helps in protecting your eyesight from harmful UV rays emitted by the devices and you will be able to sleep better.

Whole plant foods like fruits and vegetables helps you to boost your immunity naturally at home. These food particles are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that help you stay healthy. Intake of good healthy food makes you less susceptible to illness.

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It is always advisable to eat green leafy vegetables and one to two fruits a day, along with lentils and other food items such as rice and whole wheat. Following a balanced diet is a must to staying healthy and boosting your immunity naturally.

Keeping yourself hydrated is also extremely important. One should drink at least 3 to 4 litres of water every day. You can even add lemon drops and mint leaves to get flavoured water which aids good health as well.

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Suggested For You: Simple But Effective Dietary Choices You Can Make

2. Engage Yourself in Physical Activities to Boost Your Immunity

4 Effective Ways To Boost Your Immunity Naturally At Home

While we all are at home and the gyms are closed, it is important to involve ourselves in some kind of physical activity to stay fit. We have ample options for the same. Starting out, one can aim to exercise 15 to 30 minutes daily. This will not only help you boost your immunity naturally at home but will also help you keep shape. 

You can use a staircase for cardio and filled water bottles to replace dumbbells. Doing household chores is also a great way to exercise and boost your immunity. You can even opt to dance to your favourite song. Dancing not only keeps you fit but is also therapeutic, like listening to music. Even yoga is perfect to get a flexible and healthy body. Apart from just visual results, exercise boosts heart health and brings about an inner glow as a result of improved body functions.

3. Homemade Tonics: Back to Basics To Boost Your Immunity 

homemade tonic
Kadha

Healthy homemade tonics are one of the best solutions to boosting your immunity naturally. There’s a tonic for almost every ail. Tonics are called “kaadha” in Hindi and have been recommended by our grandparents and ancestors.

Kadha is an Ayurvedic home remedy used to fight a variety of flu symptoms and infections. It’s a decoction of edible herbs and spices. Back in the day when medicine was not readily at our disposal, homemade tonics were used to cure every disease and health issue. 

There are many ways and recipes to make different Kaadha(s) that suit your needs. Some of the most used ingredients are the ones that we use daily in cooking Indian food, such as turmeric and ginger.

4. Meditation: The Power of the Mind

4 Effective Ways To Boost Your Immunity Naturally At Home
Western medicine has questioned the medical benefits of meditation.

Physical activities keep the body fit while meditation keeps the mind healthy. The importance of good mental health has increased manifold this quarantine. A lot is happening around us that we can’t control. Being healthy is one thing that you can do to reduce the risk of infection. Meditation will not directly boost your immunization but plays a key role in your overall health and wellness. 

The nature of the mind can make or break a healthy body. Meditating 15-20 minutes daily is enough to strengthen your brain. Meditation also helps you to keep yourself calm and make better decisions. You will be able to focus more on productive things and your thoughts will be aligned.

Apart from these ways, one should also maintain physical/social distancing while practising proper hygiene which, in turn, can help you protect yourself from COVID-19.

Further Read:

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Las Vegas Sun

Give yourself a boost: 3 ways to keep the immune system in top shape

  • August 1, 2020

Boosting our immune system to help us fight disease and illness more effectively is crucial, pandemic or no. Eating healthy, along with exercising regularly and engaging in stress-relieving activities, are critical.

“Through a balanced, varied diet, you can improve your immune system by consuming antioxidant-rich foods and phytochemicals, or chemical compounds of plant origin,” explains Samantha M. Coogan, director of the Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at UNLV.

Coogan says that “antioxidants fight off free radicals,” which, according to MedicalNewsToday.com, “are unstable atoms that can damage cells,” which can lead to potential infection. “When these cellular linings are broken or disrupted, foreign matter or waste products can potentially enter the cell and attack the organelles and cell as a whole,” Coogan says, adding that such antioxidants as vitamins A, C and E, along with copper, selenium and zinc, are beneficial in helping to prevent these kinds of attacks on cells.

While people often turn to supplements to get antioxidants and vitamins, Coogan doesn’t recommend them. “Food first,” she says, followed by supplements “only if necessary.”

Move for Health

Exercise is another important factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Working out “directly affects your immune system because of the purposeful stress response you put onto the body,” Coogan says, adding that when we work out, free radicals are produced.

But isn’t that counterproductive?

So you want to boost your immune system, but you’re not sure what to eat. Samantha M. Coogan, director of the Didactic Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at UNLV, has some recommendations. Next time you’re at the grocery store, load up on the following:

■ red, orange and yellow produce

■ citrus fruits

■ berries

■ green, leafy vegetables

■ squashes

■ gourds

■ eggplant

■ garlic

■ onion

■ leeks

■ seafood

■ meat

■ eggs

■ milk

■ nuts

■ green tea

Coogan says the production of free radicals is “a normal occurrence,” and explains why nutrition before and after a workout is critical “to help fight off those free radicals after your exercise session, and to help recover and repair the stressed and damaged muscle tissue.”

Again, Coogan assures this is all completely normal, and even beneficial. “The more we expose our bodies to that type of external stimulus, it requires the body to react every time,” she says. “Each time, it will adapt more quickly and readily.”

Finding a safe way to exercise during the pandemic can present its difficulties, especially in the summer when living in the desert. Lifting weights at home, following a yoga instruction video on YouTube and hiking are just a few ways to incorporate activity into your daily routine.

Another advantage of exercise: its role in alleviating stress, which can wreak havoc on the immune system.

“Neurotransmitters and stress hormones are released in direct response to external stimuli, whether it be physical stress—like exercise or physical trauma—or mental and emotional stress,” Coogan says. “Cortisol tends to be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to stress, which also hinders weight management or loss, because cortisol increases fat around the organs,” known as visceral fat. While other stress hormones like epinephrine and norepinephrine are responsible for the “fight or flight” response, cortisol is the main obstacle when it comes to weight maintenance and our stress response, Coogan says.

Exercise for the mind

People are more stressed now than ever before, but even during a pandemic, we can incorporate stress-relieving activities into our daily lives.

One way to reduce stressful responses: Give yourself something on which to focus. “Stimulating your brain can help stave off stress, especially if you try something new,” Coogan says, although she clarifies that doing something familiar can be just as effective.

“Find something unrelated to work, school, the pandemic or what’s going on around the world right now, and find something that brings you happiness and puts a smile on your face,” Coogan says. The health expert recommends video games, a comforting TV show or movie, reading, meditation, puzzles, yoga, brain teasers, painting, adult coloring books, an instrument, knitting or learning a new skill.

Coogan says that during the pandemic, she picked up embroidery as a new hobby. “I’m so in love with it,” she says. “I am a very detail-oriented person, and getting lost in the intricacies of the patterns and the way the threads come together to form this beautiful work of art produces very happy hormones and brings me a lot of joy and satisfaction in the work I’ve done. I can get lost in it for hours as I give all my attention to the detail of the pattern, with my favorite music playing or a comedy special on in the background.”

Coogan says the activity doesn’t have to be intricate or complicated—or “produce” anything. “If it has a positive benefit to you, keep doing it,” she says. “If you’ve mastered that boss level 100 times, but each time you do it, it makes you feel good, then keep doing it. If sitting on the couch for nine hours straight binge-watching See with Jason Momoa brings you joy and fulfillment for that day, despite no productivity in the traditional sense, that’s also OK,” Coogan says, adding that she may or may not have done that herself.

“Vegging out,” she says, is still a way of taking control of stress. “Just don’t let yourself get lost in your own silence or your own head,” Coogan says, warning that can trigger even more stress. It’s all about moderation and finding healthy habits.

“Make sure to switch up what you’re doing,” she says—and maybe don’t binge-watch Netflix every single day.

For more information on micronutrients, Coogan suggests visiting the National Institutes of Health’s nutrient recommendation page.

This story appeared in Las Vegas Weekly.

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5 ways to boost your child’s immune system during winter

5 ways to boost your child’s immune system during winter

  • July 27, 2020

By Lifestyle Reporter Time of article published 3h ago

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We’re midway through winter and no doubt parents are paying much more attention to their children’s immune systems this year than in the past.

A strong immune system gives your child a fighting chance at beating off bugs, whether it’s this year’s flu, a cold, or something more serious.

But besides whizzing up some fresh orange juice and making sure they eat their greens, what non-food steps can you take to boost their immune systems this winter?

Here are five tips from Fedhealth medical aid on how you can boost your child’s immune system.

Boost their sleep

During lockdown your children may have fallen into bad sleeping habits – going to sleep later than usual, as there was no school to be up early for. But getting enough sleep is super important for young people, both in terms of their brain development, and keeping their immune systems strong.

Sleep deprivation has been shown* to reduce the release of proteins in your body called cytokines, and these are what your body needs to fight infection or inflammation.

Keep them exercising

No doubt your kids are really missing their weekly soccer practise at school, the cricket tours they had planned for this year, or the dance recitals they were training for.

When we were all confined to our houses during level 5 lockdown, the only exercise available to your kids was what you could do in your homes, but now that things have opened up slightly, there are more options. If your child doesn’t like a run around the block with you, then get them riding bikes, or kicking a ball on an open field nearby.

Limit germ spread

I’m sure your children have never washed their hands more than they have this year, and that’s one positive thing to come out of 2020 – them learning to be more hygienic. If they’re back at school, they should obviously wash their hands every time they return home, but it’s also about washing hands before every meal, after touching pets, or playing in the garden. Of course, having the annual flu jab and ensuring that your children are up to date with all their vaccinations is also very important.

Reduce stress

This is easier said than done – the world is a very stressful place right now, and your children are no doubt dealing with a lot of change.

Communication is key, bearing in mind that any unusual behaviour on their part may not be because they are intentionally being naughty, but more because they are unable to articulate their anxieties.

Encourage them to speak about why they are sad (they miss their friends, they miss playing rugby etc.), and also suggest some mindfulness or children’s meditation exercises – as these will give them useful tools to deal with their stressors.

Stop exposure to second-hand smoke

This comes down to you Mom or Dad! If you’re a smoker, you need to try and stop smoking, but if you can’t, then you need to limit your children’s exposure to second-hand smoke.

Cigarette smoke irritates important cells in the body and unfortunately children are more susceptible to the damage caused by this smoke.

Problems caused in children by the inhalation of second-hand smoke include frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections and ear infections, among others.

Following just a few of these tips should hopefully boost their immune systems and improve your chances of getting your kids through the rest of winter − and seeing them safely out on the other side.

6 ways to bolster your immune system against COVID-19 if you're in your 60s and older

6 ways to bolster your immune system against COVID-19 if you’re in your 60s and older

  • July 23, 2020

A few weeks after WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic, my father, now 74, had to undergo spinal surgery. It was a minimally invasive procedure which required just three-four days of a hospital stay, followed by recovery at home for four-five months with physiotherapy. Suffice it to say, we were extremely stressed. Not only was he in the high risk category for COVID-19, but India was also deep in the throes of a nation-wide lockdown. Within days of his surgery, my father started home-based exercises advised by the doctors and was walking around the building compound for 20 minutes daily, morning and evening. His doctor put this down to his good physical health. As far back as I can remember, both my parents (my mum is 73) have always been fit. I’ve seen them exercise consistently, workouts varying from brisk walks to swimming to weight training and floor exercises. And, of course, they ate clean, prioritised sleep and never missed their annual medical check-up. This, says my father’s doctor, is what helped my father sail through, his strong immunity working as a barrier against COVID-19 that unfortunately is showing no signs of abating.

With the lockdown restrictions gradually easing, the risk of our senior citizens to coronavirus, in particular, has increased even further. And while following guidelines and precautions are important, making sure you are in good health to ward off infection is even more so. Nutritionist and fitness expert, Suman Agarwal, shares specific immunity-boosting tips for those above 60 years of age.

1) Keep age-related ailments until control

“The reason this age-group is more susceptible to COVID-19 is that most suffer from diseases such as diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure etc. Whether with medication or diet, the levels should be maintained within the normal range. This is extremely important to ensure immunity is not compromised,” she says.

2) Eat clean

“Healthy eating is not rocket science—have four well-balanced, portion-controlled meals that include protein, carbohydrates, good fats and fibre. Do not fast or skip any meal,” says Agarwal. She suggests paying attention to fibre intake as this will prevent constipation issues, staying hydrated and reducing excess salt consumption. “Protein is definitely a must as this is what fuels the antibodies that fight infection. If for some reason you can’t meet your protein requirement through foods like dairy, fish, eggs, chicken, pulses etc, she suggests opting for digestible protein supplement—plant-based, pea protein, soy protein.

3) Stick to home-cooked meals

“Avoid raw foods like salads, especially as these could challenge your gut health. It is best to have light home-cooked meals. I suggest starting the day with a glass of warm water with a pinch of turmeric and a dash of lime—this concoction has many beneficial healing properties.”

4) Supplement you diet with vitamins

Check your levels of iron, Vitamin B12 and D3. “If you are deficient in any, you must consult with your doctor and start supplementation,” she says. Take a Vitamin C and multivitamin. “One supplement I recommend to all my clients above the age of 55 years is glutathione as it is a super antioxidant, and as per the latest studies, it can reduce the viral load,” she shares. 

5) Sleep more

“Sleep is underrated but is the most important factor when it comes to immunity. Lack of good quality sleep can lead to insufficient cytokines, a protein that largely fights infection and inflammation. So if you don’t get seven-eight hours of sleep, your immunity definitely gets compromised the next day,” she says. 

6) Exercise well

“This helps oxygen reach every cell of your body. I understand it may be challenging for older people, but do whatever you can (be it yoga, brisk walks, floor exercises) to get some movement. This not just helps physically but mentally as well.” While exercises like HIIT and boxing might raise cortisol levels and increase inflammation in the moment, slower paced exercises are ideal. “Add breath work and meditation to your routine for the best results,” she says.

Also read:

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Malaika Arora uses these Indian ingredients to make a homemade immunity-boosting tonic

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Check Out These Natural Ways To Boost Immunity

Check Out These Natural Ways To Boost Immunity

  • July 23, 2020
immunity

Image: 123RF

A weak immune system can lead to frequent infections and disorders that can range from mild to severe. While we do know certain foods that can boost immunity, there are lots of other things you can do to keep your system functioning optimally. Here are some natural ways to strengthen your immunity.

Get Quality Sleep

Get Quality Sleep

Image: 123RF

Not getting enough sleep can weaken your immunity. For adults, a minimum of seven hours of sleep a day is recommended. Teens need about 10 hours of sleep every day, while younger kids need about 14 hours.
However, it’s not just the hours that can strengthen your immunity, you also need quality rest. This means limiting screen time before bed, sleeping in a completely dark room, and following a regular sleeping pattern.

Manage Stress

Manage Stress

Image: 123RF

Long-term stress is known to promote inflammation and imbalance immune in cell function, affecting your ability to fight diseases and stay healthy. Take necessary steps like indulging in meditation, yoga, light exercise, etc, to relieve stress and anxiety.
Keeping a journal, listing tasks for the day, and ticking off to-do lists can also help manage and reduce stress. Aromatherapy, reducing caffeine intake, spending time with loved ones are other ways to be happier and stress-free.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise Regularly

Image: 123RF

Exercising regularly has immense benefits for your physical health. Apart from this, exercising makes you feel confident in your skin which promotes mental well-being. It also lowers stress hormones, betters mood, and improves sleep quality which contribute to boosting immunity.

Stay Hydrated

Stay Hydrated

Image: 123RF

Dehydration reduces the volume of blood and lymphatic fluids in your body. As these are integral to a healthy immune system, not staying hydrated can directly impact health. So remember to stay hydrated through the day; water is the best choice but you can have beverages like tea and fruit juices. Make sure you’re not increasing your intake of sugar though!

Stay Hydrated

Image: 123RF

And while we’re at it, check out this list of immunity boosting foods you can eat:
– Citrus fruits, papaya, kiwi
– Garlic
– Ginger
– Turmeric
– Yoghurt
– Dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli
– Nuts and seeds

Read more: Check Out These Vitamins You Should Eat For Natural Skin Health And Beauty

Various toasts with healthy toppings to boost immune system

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immune System

  • July 21, 2020

The subject of health is front and center these days, whether we’re considering socially distanced gatherings, grocery store outings, or sending our kids back to school. And while we still have a lot to learn about COVID-19, one thing is clear — keeping our bodies in tip-top shape is one of the best ways to fight against the virus. We asked some local experts to weigh in on a few of the best prevention practices and what we can do to ramp up our immune systems.

5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Exercise regularly.

It’s a no-brainer that exercise is crucial to keeping your body physically fit, but how does it affect your immunity, and how much exercise do you really need? Having a consistent exercise routine is vital since it increases the circulation of immune cells and helps build immunity by reducing inflammation. Not to mention, exercise is a fantastic stress release, and stress is a major culprit in suppressing our immune systems.

If you’ve already developed a daily routine that works for you, keep on keeping on. If you’re still waiting for some motivation, we hope this offers you the right amount of encouragement. “If you are feeling out of shape or lethargic, just start,” says Brittany Horton of Irontribe Fitness. “Lace up your tennis shoes and take that first step.” Slow and steady is the way to go; don’t overdo it. In fact, overtraining can do more harm than good — everything in moderation. “If you tend to train at a higher intensity, make sure you are getting adequate rest in between your workouts,” Brittany advises. For beginners, moderate activity for 30 to 60 minutes, at least three times per week, is ideal. The idea is to be consistent and make small adjustments each day. “Every time you take action toward your goals, your confidence will build,” Brittany adds. “Before you know it, you will be well on your way to reaching your goal.”

If you’re uncomfortable going back to the gym, there are many ways to achieve your fitness goals at home. It’s important to remember that getting into shape doesn’t necessarily mean lifting kettlebells or ordering an expensive treadmill from Amazon. Getting out to enjoy the great outdoors is one of the most effective ways to get some exercise while also taking in some much-needed fresh air and Vitamin D (but don’t forget the sunscreen!). For those of us who are working from home, the trick is to get up and move as much as possible, whether that means taking short breaks throughout the day or stretching while on a conference call. “If you’re like me, you may be working from a kitchen table taking Zoom calls all day,” Brittany says. “I recommend getting up every 30 minutes to stretch and move around. There are so many exercises you can do at home with no equipment. Get creative! It will give you an energy boost to help combat that mid-afternoon slump. Do not let the pandemic be your excuse to get out of shape.”

Brittany reminds us to take all of the necessary precautions to keep ourselves and others safe if we do decide to head back to our favorite gym, including wearing a mask when we enter and exit, practicing social distancing, and wiping down equipment before and after use. And if the gym isn’t your thing, don’t fret. “Exercise can and should be fun, so find something you enjoy,” she says. “Walk, dance, run, play ball with your kids, swim — just move! We can’t control our current situation, but we can control our actions. Make exercise a priority, and you will likely see every aspect of your life improve.”

Woman stretching on a run to boost immune system

Having a regular exercise routine increases the circulation of immune cells, helps build immunity by reducing inflammation and relieves stress.

RELATED: 3 Ways Your Body is Trying To Tell You Something

Eat a healthy, balanced diet.

The old saying “You are what you eat” rings true — healthy food makes for a healthier body. “A well-balanced diet can help us stay on the preventative side of many medical conditions and build the foundation for a healthy immune system, making us less susceptible to infections,” says Anna Smith, a registered dietitian nutritionist for Kroger Health. Eating a nutritionally balanced diet is the clear-cut answer, and following the USDA’s MyPlate method is recommended.

Snacking plays a big part in our food consumption, too, especially when working from home means all-day access to the refrigerator and pantry. “The key to working from home is making sure to eat when you are hungry,” Anna says. “It’s really easy to fall into patterns of eating for reasons outside of hunger such as stress, boredom or habit.” She typically recommends pairing at least two food groups together for variety. A few examples are: Greek yogurt with blueberries, smashed avocado on whole-grain toast, pear with almond butter, low-sodium deli turkey rolled up in a high-fiber tortilla or a homemade protein smoothie.

While there’s no perfect food solution for building immunity or staving off the virus, the consensus is the more fruits and veggies, the better. “When it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, the variety of color in produce is where the magic lies,” Anna tells us. “The different colors provide different vitamins and minerals. These phytonutrients are heavily studied for their protective qualities against inflammation and chronic disease. I recommend my clients consume half their plate with fruit and vegetables at all meals.” With that said, it’s clear that COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our food system, from grocery shopping and eating at our favorite restaurants to our ability to prepare in-home meals. “While I would love for everyone to boost their immune system with a colorful plate, I know that right now, that may not be possible,” Anna tells us. “During any shift or change in life, I recommend focusing on nourishing your body with available food choices. You can take comfort knowing that being fed is best, no matter what that looks like.”

Various toasts with healthy toppings to boost immune system

“When it comes to fruit and vegetable consumption, the variety of color in produce is where the magic lies,” Anna, a registered dietitian nutritionist for Kroger Health, tells us.

Consider health supplements.

Vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc have all been shown to reduce healing time after infections and play a key role in building immunity, particularly to respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19. In fact, the National Institutes of Health published new evidence that suggests vitamin D plays a significant role in regulating the immune system, and studies also show that vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of respiratory illnesses. So, how do you get the appropriate amount of vitamin D? Turnip Truck’s Health & Beauty Department Manager, Jasmin Rosil says, “Most Americans do not get enough from sunlight alone, so supplementation is a great tool to help us get enough of this essential vitamin. One of our favorite brands for vitamin D is Natural Factors. They are family-owned, and stringent quality control ensures their products are pesticide-free and non-GMO.”

Before adding any supplements to your healthcare routine, it’s important to do plenty of research, talk to your trusted healthcare provider and remember that, as Jasmin puts it, “All supplements are not created equally. Choosing a supplement with healthy (not harmful) ingredients is paramount.” Not to mention, nutrition starts with your daily diet, so it’s important to remember that supplements are meant to do just that — supplement. They aren’t intended to take the place of vitamin- and mineral-rich foods, which you should obtain through fresh produce. “If you are eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and other whole-nutrient sources, your multivitamin may be adequate,” offers Jasmin. “Consuming fresh and natural foods is the simplest, most complete way to lay the groundwork of daily nutrition.”

RELATED: Summer Skin Myths, Debunked

Get a full night of sleep.

From physical to mental benefits, there are a lot of evident and indisputable advantages that come with a solid night of slumber. But did you know that immunity-boosting brain chemicals are also released while we sleep? Essentially, our bodies need sleep to fight off infection, and for the average person, this means a full seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

As we navigate a more stressful climate, our sleep routines tend to suffer. Dr. Beth Malow, Director at Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Center, suggests creating a consistent routine that allows for going to bed and waking up at similar times each day. She also believes in getting dressed every morning as if we’re going to work — goodbye, all-day pajamas! The idea is to support your sleep cycle by making sure your daytime and nighttime routines are independent of one another.

The fact is that setting ourselves up for a better night of sleep doesn’t require severe changes — one of the most impactful adjustments we can make is turning off electronics and limiting screen time — even if that’s not what we want to hear. Using our phones, tablets, computers and TVs before bed has the potential to delay the body’s internal clock and suppress the melatonin hormone that helps you sleep. Additionally, Dr. Malow suggests exercising during the day, rather than close to bedtime and limiting both caffeine and alcohol. Stress-relieving mindfulness meditations are also beneficial, especially given the heightened anxiety surrounding COVID.

Don’t ignore your mental health.

Being in shape is a whole-body affair, and we would be remiss to overlook the importance of mental health. Dr. Dana Verner, a mental health professional at Green Hills Family Psych, says, “Many people are surprised to learn just how strong the mind-body connection is — the health of our mind and body are inextricably intertwined. The same chemicals and hormones in the brain that affect the way we think and feel also affect our body and the way its systems function.”

Undoubtedly, stress is one of the biggest culprits affecting our everyday balance, especially during challenging times such as these. Feeling confusion, uncertainty and a loss of control can take more of a toll on our bodies than we even realize. Dr. Verner explains, “When we are under psychological stress, the brain releases chemicals and hormones that circulate throughout the body and have an impact on our nervous system, gastrointestinal system and immune system, just to name a few. Through a cascade of chemical reactions, stress reduces our body’s ability to fight infections and to heal itself. It can manifest as headaches, stomachaches, back pain and many other unpleasant bodily symptoms.” Thankfully, physical health can be improved by investing in mental wellness and making efforts to reduce stress.*

Since anxiety can slowly take its toll, we aren’t always fully aware of just how much stress we’re experiencing. Consequently, we should be taking daily steps to maintain a sense of calm and balance — whatever that might look like for each of us, be it meditation, running, painting, journaling, or any other activity that gives us a chance to recharge and reset. “If we ignore stress or don’t take steps to mitigate it, it can make us more susceptible to illness, including viruses like the novel coronavirus,” says Dr. Verner. Stress can also make it harder to recover from illness, so prevention is the best defense. Dr. Verner says that lowering stress levels can be as simple as creating a daily routine, which reduces uncertainty and the need for decision-making, and offers structure, familiarity and comfort.

Self-care takes many forms, and it’s at the epicenter of our wellness. Be it getting enough sleep, focusing on proper nutrition, exercising, taking health supplements, or finding a daily stress-release, our overall health depends on it. As Dr. Verner says, “Prioritizing self-care allows us to focus on what we can control during the chaos of pandemic life, rather than what we cannot.”

*It’s important to note that stress can become unmanageable despite our best efforts. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, Dr. Verner recommends reaching out for professional help from a counselor or therapist. “Thanks to the pandemic, telehealth restrictions have been lifted, and counseling is widely available and accessible in a safe way to those who need it,” she shares.  

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7 Ways to unleash your God-given healing to fight COVID-19

7 Ways to unleash your God-given healing to fight COVID-19

  • July 18, 2020

Our immune system is front and center in preventing all diseases. Germs and bacteria have been with us since the Fall of Man. As U.S. states relax COVID-19 restrictions, there are seven ways we can boost our immune system to prevent further infections. These same changes allowed my body to return to vibrant health during and after my cancer treatments. They also enable us to unleash the power of our own God-given immune systems to fight COVID-19 as well as any other diseases.

Practice CDC guidelines.

Courtesy of Ginny Dent Brant

Continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask in public, wash hands constantly, isolate those who are sick, and be careful about touching what others touch. Those who are elderly or have underlying conditions may need to continue the quarantine.

Stay properly hydrated.

Every cell and every system in our bodies require plentiful water to work properly. The mucus in our respiratory system provides a crucial barrier against infections and is empowered by water. Half your body weight in fluid ounces daily is your minimal goal. Unfortunately, most Americans are living their lives dehydrated.

Keep moving.

Our bodies work best when we move during the day. Movement increases the production of our immune killer B and T cells. It also helps our lymphatic system take out the trash from our bodies. The sedentary lifestyle contributes to many diseases. Throughout our recent quarantine, my husband and I walked several miles per day in addition to our exercise routines. Following the quarantine, movement should continue to be a daily habit because it enhances every system in our bodies.

Eat a nutrient-rich, balanced diet.

If you binged on comfort foods during quarantine, stop now. We are what we eat. Our bodies can be strengthened through eating a nutrient-rich, more plant-based diet. Many fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals which also boost our immune systems. Highly processed foods, intemperate alcohol, excessive sugar, trans fats, and fried foods suppress our immune systems. Gluten, dairy and food allergies can suppress the immune system in some people. God gave us many natural foods that help our bodies heal. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that we increase our daily servings of fruits and vegetables due to the rise of chronic diseases in our country.

Nourish and protect your gut.

Did you know that 70 percent of our immune system is located in the gut? A healthy gut filled with good bacteria can often eradicate a virus that enters through the mouth. In addition to eating prebiotic fiber, we need to eat several probiotic foods daily such as yogurt and fermented foods. My husband and I also take a probiotic supplement each day. We can protect our gut by removing irritating foods that are highly processed and fried or contain excess sugar and alcohol, trans fats, gluten, and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). Many GMO foods are high in toxins from pesticides. Our gut lining, when properly nourished, allows the good nutrients to flow throughout our body and keeps the bad stuff out. It’s an important part of our God-designed, protective armor.

Allow your body to heal and repair with restorative sleep.

While you are reading this article, your body is performing miracles to protect you from disease. When you are in deep sleep, the miracles of healing increase exponentially. Our bodies heal, repair and detox when we sleep. Melatonin, a hormone created in deep sleep, is a major cancer fighter and immune builder. Your healing can be as close as your pillow — and it’s free. If you are exposed to COVID-19 and you engage in deep sleep on a regular basis, it will be less likely to activate in your body.

Use recommended supplements to support your immune system.
Many doctors are recommending vitamin D (2000 – 5000 IU), vitamin C (1000 mg two times per day), zinc (30 mg), and a good multivitamin and mineral complex (that covers all daily recommendations). Check with your doctor.

Thankfully, most infected people are fully recovering from COVID-19. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the top five deadliest underlying conditions for COVID-19 are heart disease (66%), diabetes (56%), neurological disease (30%), bronchitis/COPD (29%), and kidney disease (23%). COVID-19 is a wake-up call for all of us to get back in shape or stay in shape. This coronavirus is exacerbated by weaknesses in our armor.

In an interview with Dr. David Jockers on “The Fasting Transformation Summit,” Dr. David Perlmutter, a well-known neurologist, posed this question, “What do Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease have in common?” His response was, “They are all inflammatory conditions.” This information encourages us to lower inflammation in our bodies to prevent many chronic diseases. Addressing inflammation in my body by implementing these seven suggestions enabled me to beat cancer and return to vibrant health.

God created our bodies with an innate ability to heal and fight disease, and our immune system is our first line of defense. It stands between us and any chronic disease, cancer, flu or virus. These seven ways allow our immune system to work as God intended thereby allowing us to unleash our God-given healing to fight COVID-19.

Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, D.C., as the daughter of Harry S. Dent Sr., an American political strategist considered as one of the architects of the Republican Southern Strategy.  She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. Her book, “Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer,” was written with commentary by a practicing oncologist and medical researcher. Visit her cancer prevention blog and more info at www.ginnybrant.com.   

5 Ways To Take Care Of Your Team During COVID-19

5 Ways To Take Care Of Your Team During COVID-19

  • July 17, 2020

As a leader, there’s no bigger or more important responsibility than taking care of your team. This is especially true in these difficult and unprecedented times. After all, your teammates need your support to help them not only remain productive, but to also cope with the additional anxiety and stress that COVID-19 has induced. 

This has a bottom-line impact, too: Clinical studies have shown that anxiety and depression result in lowered productivity. That creates a catch-22 scenario for your business: People produce less, resulting in bigger backlogs. That can trigger overtime requests and lead people to feel less confident in their actual work, fueling the cycle of dampened productivity even further.

How can you take care of your team during COVID-19? Here are five areas to focus on:

1. Prioritize their well-being. 

Whether you have essential team members who are still coming into work, are planning to reopen soon, or are managing a remote staff continuing to work from home, it’s crucial you help them preserve their physical and mental health. 

The first place to start would be helping to prevent the spread of the virus; the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control is continuously being updated. Examples include conducting daily health checks, requiring social distancing and the wearing of masks, and improving your building’s ventilation system. Moreover, you should explore flexible sick leave and contingency plans if employees become ill. 

Additionally, suggest ways for your team to remain physically active; this boosts the immune system, decreases stress, and increases energy. Get outside for a walk or bike ride, try at-home workouts in lieu of the gym, or replace an old desk and chair with a standing desk. Besides physical activity, remind your teammates to eat healthy and get plenty of sleep. 

And don’t overlook their mental health. Beyond the isolation that many of us feel when working remotely, the pandemic has also taken a serious toll on our mental health. As noted in The Washington Post, “Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health.”

While there’s only so much you can do in terms of addressing others’ mental health, make it a priority to frequently check in with your team members to see how they’re doing. Listen to their concerns, and answer their questions. Ask about their workload; you may want to reduce it so they have more time to engage in self-care. You could also provide access to apps like Talkspace or Headspace. 

Finally, step up your morale-building efforts. For example, creating companywide challenges, hosting virtual team-building activities, and showing your gratitude can all result in people feeling calmer and more appreciated. 

2. Amplify communication. 

During a crisis, communication is key. If you want to see how it’s done, follow the lead set by Horizon Therapeutics.

In what the company calls “Virtual Visibility Therapeutics,” it’s heightened its communication methods through weekly messages from CEO Tom Walbert. These are followed by Q&A sessions, town hall meetings, or coffee chats. Furthermore, it hosts weekly webinars to support managers, sharing relevant information like how to stay healthy and engaged while working remotely. It’s also conducting employee pulse surveys.  

Share your calendar with your teammates so they can schedule one-on-ones with you. As long as it doesn’t disrupt your work, keep your Slack status “active” so they can reach you throughout the day. 

3. Relax stringent deadlines and fixed schedules. 

COVID-19 has drastically changed how we conduct business and rethink individual priorities. For example, prior to the pandemic, you had a team member who regularly put in a 50-hour workweek. She was also available during non-business hours. However, since she’s been spending more time with her immediate family, she’s realized her family is now her most important priority — not work. As a result, those harried work deadlines just aren’t important. 

While deadlines can be useful and sometimes necessary — like to get your taxes in on time — they’re no longer top of mind for your employees. If possible, adjust project deadlines so your teammates can focus on their priorities without worrying about a rapidly approaching deadline.  

In the same vein, offer more flexible working hours. In addition to changing priorities, you may have team members who have completely different schedules now. For instance, what if a team member has children and is homeschooling them from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.? It’s unreasonable to expect him to work or join a meeting during that block of time. 

Even more promising is that allowing employees a more flexible schedule leads to them being happier, healthier, less absent, and more productive. It can save your organization money in other ways because this also reduces turnover. 

4. Encourage growth and development. 

According to Harvard Business Review’s Monique Valcour, “Work groups in which employees report that their supervisor (or someone else at work) cares about them as a person, talks to them about their career progress, encourages their development, and provides opportunities to learn and grow have lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, and better customer loyalty than work groups in which employees report that these developmental elements are scarce.”

Moreover, learning leads to happiness, improves adaptability, boosts resilience, and keeps your mind engaged and body active. It’s also a simple way to counter the boredom some people are experiencing with their unprecedented downtime. 

How can you encourage your team to learn and grow during COVID-19? Suggest that people engage in professional development opportunities like Massive Open Online Courses  (MOOCs), learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Skillshare, or webinars. You could also recommend books, podcasts, TED Talks, or cross-training opportunities.

Most importantly, don’t forget to offer regular feedback. Both Millennials and Gen-Zers demand this. In fact, 60 percent of Generation Z employees want weekly, if not daily, check-ins from their managers. 

5. Foot the bill.

Finally, you can show your team that you care through cold hard cash. Workday did this by offering its employees a one-time cash bonus that equaled two weeks of pay to help them cover any unforeseen expenses that COVID-19 may have surfaced. Wynn Resorts kept its employees on the payroll, even though it had closed its casinos. 

What if you don’t have that type of money to spend? There are more affordable options. You could cover the cost of home delivery meal services; pay for their home work equipment, like a standing desk; or give them an Amazon gift card to use how they want. 

If there’s one last piece of advice to offer, it’s that you shouldn’t neglect yourself. Just like your team, you’re also experiencing a great amount of stress and anxiety. Take the time to attend to your own well-being and occasionally unplug so you can continue to support your team during these trying times. After all, together is how we’re going to get through this.

Ways to boost your immune system to fight infections during Covid-19

Ways to boost your immune system to fight infections during Covid-19

  • July 16, 2020

We as a country are moving along the Government’s roadmap for exiting lockdown at a faster pace than expected, and hairdressers, beauty salons, restaurants, pubs that serve food, hotels and a range of other services are now open for business. Capacity on public transport is increasing, gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed indoors, and up to 100 outdoors. 

It’s all good news, but it means a lot more close contact. This can be a source of anxiety, whether you’re in an at-risk group or not, as there’s always the possibility of another spike of Covid-19. It’s important to keep up things like social distancing, washing our hands regularly, avoiding touching our faces and wearing masks on public transport and in shops. But there are other steps you can take if you want to boost your immunity, stay well and protect yourself and your family during this worrying time. 

Stress

Life was stressful enough before Covid-19, but the virus has also resulted in a range of anxiety-inducing situations for people, from financial woes to childcare issues. Unfortunately, the stress hormone cortisol can suppress the effectiveness of your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to infection. Avoiding stress altogether is pretty impossible, but try to keep it under control by taking time out to relax and practising mindfulness and yoga. Resist the temptation to smoke or drink alcohol as a way to blow off steam – it will only harm your health in the long-term.



Beauty Sunshine Girl Portrait. Pretty happy woman enjoying summer outdoors. Sunny Summer Day under the Hot Sun on the Beach.

Diet

A good quality multivitamin containing a comprehensive range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and electrolytes is also a sensible way to supplement a healthy diet, to ensure maximum immune system support. Be sure to check that the multivitamin doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or sugar, which actually suppresses the immune system!

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s defenses. Dr Jenna Macciochi, an immunologist at the University of Sussex and author of the recently published book Immunity, told RSVP: “Our needs for vitamin C and zinc increase when we are fighting an infection so now is the time to be making sure you are getting enough of these powerhouses. Our immune cells have a high need for vitamin C when they are working hard to fight infection, so if you find yourself with symptoms, this is the time to start dosing up on vitamin C.”

Vitamin D 

Covid-19 has meant many of us have been spending more time indoors instead of playing sports in the open air or going to the beach for a day. This results in us not getting enough sunshine, which we need to produce vitamin D. A new study from Trinity College Dublin, published in the Irish Medical Journal, found that it is likely that vitamin D supplementation reduces serious Covid-19 complications. Professor Rose Anne Kenny, who carried out the research, said that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in Ireland, and called on the Government to recommend supplementation. “Whereas there are currently no results from randomised controlled trials to conclusively prove that vitamin D beneficially affects Covid-19 outcomes, there is strong circumstantial evidence of associations between vitamin D and the severity of Covid-19 responses, including death,” she said. “We call on the Irish Government to encourage all adults to take supplements during the Covid-19 crisis.”



Lovely young woman smiling while on the beach

Sleep  

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system, and studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep, or poor quality sleep, are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus. Not getting enough sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick. The Mayo Clinic explains: “Your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you’re under stress. Sleep deprivation may decrease production of these protective cytokines. In addition, infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep.” Try to get seven to eight hours of quality shut-eye every night – teenagers need nine to 10 hours, and kids may need 10 or more. 

Exercise

A study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science last year found that moderate exercise improves immune regulation and “mitigates the effects of ageing on immune function”. The HSE recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 are active for at least 30 minutes a day, at moderate intensity for five out of each seven days. 

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