How we can choose to stay strong and be healthy?
A viral infection, such as the flu and the coronavirus we’ve been hearing so much about, is the effect of a virus having breached our body’s defense system. These infections are not treatable with antibiotics and the vast majority can be effectively fought by the body’s own immune system.
The immune system is set up like an old castle you’d expect to find in a Harry Potter book.
Like a moat around the castle, the body’s first line of defense is a physical barrier, consisting mainly of bacteria, mucus, tears, and stomach acid. The bacteria lines our skin, our mouths, and our esophagus to our stomach and intestines.
A breach in this physical barrier brings us to the second line of defense inside the bloodstream where macrophages and neutrophils are like the sentries who stand guard to destroy invaders. Other mechanisms such as fevers and inflammation are used to heat up the body making it rather uncomfortable and difficult for the pathogens to survive.
Similar to soldiers, the third line of defense comprises T cells and B cells. The white blood cell B cells are in charge of secreting antibodies that bind to foreign substances that have invaded the body, while the killer T cells locate the virus-infected cells and destroy them.
It is when these three lines of defense have been compromised that we get sick and diseases can take hold. Is it possible then to keep this castle strong and responsive to invasion?
Let’s focus on a few things that may help to increase our odds!
Just like you may enjoy devouring sugary treats, so do viruses. A body without sweet treats is like a bee without honey, a dog without a bone, a paperboy without newspapers… it’s less attractive to any pathogen.
Sugar is known to completely halt the immune system for a matter of minutes or even hours giving these unwanted microbes a clear entry into our bodies while we indulge in some sweet snack.
Limiting or eliminating sugar from your diet is a hugely rewarding step toward keeping healthy intestinal gut bacteria. Lowering sugar intake can also contribute to lowering inflammation in the joints and of course weight loss.
Sauerkraut (the kind made without vinegar and found in the fridge), miso, kimchi, and yogurt, as well as kefir and kombucha, are all rich in probiotics and help keep your internal ecosystem strong. Additionally taking a quality probiotic can be extremely valuable especially when warding off infection or planning to travel.
If you are especially concerned and want to boost up your prevention tactics, chop a clove of garlic, add it to an ounce of juice and toss it back before bed. Garlic has powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties and has been known to ward off evils!
Emotional stress has a physical impact in many areas of the body, for most people. It can increase our blood pressure, create sugar imbalances, place undue pressure on the liver, slow down our digestive process, cloud our thinking, and halt our immune system in its tracks!
Awesome and easy ways of keeping the stress levels down:
- Focus on what brings you joy: It has been scientifically proven that those who experience joy and happiness frequently are less prone to illness and disease. And it’s way more fun than worrying!
- Go to a yoga class: Yoga gets your body and mind working together, almost like a meditation, it creates expansion in the body and gives the nervous system a reboot. Plus you’re going to feel grounded and refreshed afterward.
- Meditate: It has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to control the physical bodily processes and calm the mind chatter, leaving you more grounded, clear-headed and happy. If you don’t know-how, download a free app and plug-in your headphones.
- Go for an hour walk: Focus on your breath and being present, and your brain and body will thank you. Going into nature is proven to get the creativity flowing and a little exercise moves and cleans the blood and the digestive system.
And for a little added prevention to keep our minds at ease…
- Wash your hands when you enter the house
- Use essential oil blends: Many essential oils have antimicrobial properties that can be sprayed on our yoga gear, used as a safe hand sanitizer, put in a diffuser and washing machine, and certain ones can even be added to our water to drink (check the label or company). Some blends can even attenuate virus infections!
Remember to breathe. While there is mass media coverage on the Corona outbreak, and a near toilet paper shortage, things can seem quite scary and bleak, so it’s especially important to trust well-respected agencies and their facts.
The World Health Organization’s latest report indicates Canada to have 138 people who have been infected across the country, that’s a 0.0003% infection rate, with many complete recoveries.
Be happy, eat healthily and with purpose, and get some exercise 🙂
BY: Renee RHN @SweetSerenityYoga
For more reading:
Yoga for Anxiety and Depression
Essential oils as complementary and alternative medicines for the treatment of influenza
Protective essential oil attenuates influenza virus infection: An in vitro study in MDCK cells
Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports