As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to rise and create fear, I have noticed so much confusion as to what precautionary things can be done to help reduce the rising numbers of infected individuals. It has been very uneasy to watch as the infected states begin to get closer and closer to home. Living in Idaho, and being one of the last states to have infected citizens, has made me hold my babies very close and pray for their health more than ever. Unfortunately, it has now closed in around us, so we are preparing to stay in isolation until the hysteria subsides. In the meantime, my family and I are planning on making the best of this situation. I have listed 5 ways to stay healthy during this quarantine season!
One of the worst things anyone can do in a health crisis is start stockpiling processed foods and disregard normal health routines. If anything, your overall health should be a top priority right now! Viruses seek and thrive in immunity compromised individuals. The elderly, diabetic, those with autoimmune and lung diseases, and adolescents are the most affected and in some cases, have the highest mortality rates.
As I was forced to go to the grocery store this week to stock up on our essentials making sure we were fully prepared for food outages, I noticed that most of the “sold out” items were processed food. There appeared to be fully stocked vitamin aisles, tons of basic fruits and vegetables, select meats, and basic carbohydrates still readily available. As a nutritionist, I was partially relieved because we were able to get every single item on our list, but at the same time, I was very disappointed to see what our community was consuming. It motivated me to start educating!
The absolute best tricks to staying healthy during a pandemic is to isolate, stay nutrient conscious, supplement, hydrate, and practice proper hygiene. It will greatly increase your odds of staying healthy and avoiding the virus while also protecting other fellow members of the community at the same time. The less victims who fall ill greatly decreases the chance of you contracting it yourself. We complain that we wish we had more time to spend with our family, so now is that chance to really soak in those cuddles!
No one has to tell me twice to stay home and rest! Isolation isn’t scary or hard for me; whereas, I can see how those who thrive in social events and settings may find this to be extremely difficult. I view it as extra time to cuddle my babies and soak in some fresh air. I always appreciate downtime as a chance to catch up lingering chores or tasks and work on my social media and blog content. Let’s not even mention the pure joy of not being forced to take my hair out of a pineapple bun or take my jumpsuit off. Take the time to schedule yourself an at-home spa date, do a face mask, paint your nails, soak in some Epsom salt, and recover from all the daily stress. Go read that book that has been sitting on the shelf for far too long or binge on a Netflix series. If you haven’t watched ‘Love Is Blind,’ please go do yourself a favor and thank me later for the much needed belly laughs.
Isolation is important for the entire community’s health. It confines the virus to run its course in those infected and it protects those who could potentially be the next victims. Some may not see it as a visible threat, but we must remember there are those who do not have strong immune systems. Our elderly population are especially affected by it along with those who have chronic diseases. Let’s also not forget our fragile babies. Some have extremely weakened immune systems due to cancer, heart issues, or premature births. Those who cannot fight it like most of us can face the possibility of the virus being fatal . The best solution is to practice good hygiene and stay home as much as you can, especially if you have been infected.
- Spring clean
- Make memories
The number one way to boost your immune system is to eat optimal amounts of nutritious and whole foods. It is extremely important to continue to eat nutrient dense foods and consume all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help fight off infections. The hysteria brought on by sheer panic has encouraged most of our communities to stockpile food that holds a longer shelf life. I do understand the concern, but in reality, it is not going to help fight the actual virus. Your body needs nutrients to perform their daily duties and prepare for when the time comes to respond and fight.
Nutrition is the ultimate key to life, especially when the immune system is being threatened. Some of the most important vitamins we need during an illness are found abundantly in the food we eat. Vitamin C, B6, and E are found to be really beneficial while fighting off invaders. Foods such as oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, kale, spinach, broccoli, nuts, seeds, and humus are especially packed full of these amazing micronutrients and antioxidants. Nuts and seeds have a great shelf life, so they would make a great snack food while you are catching up on your favorite series or playing board games with your family as well.
Gut health can greatly impact your immune system, so I always suggest a daily probiotic. There are several ways you can balance out the natural and healthy flora, or good bacteria, within your digestive system. My favorite way is to supplement with a decent and potent probiotic. You can find them at most grocery stores. Chilled is considered best, but right now we may not be able to be too picky. The probiotic I consume is from AMPD Nutrition, which is shelf stable with 10 billion CFU, making it a wonderfully effective product. You can also consume yogurt with live cultures adding them to your daily meal routine. There are many ways you can get creative with yogurt such as adding them to your protein shakes, layer with fruit, or even make overnight oats. Here is my all time favorite overnight oat recipe, Vanilla Raspberry Almond Overnight Oats.
While stocking up on macaroni and cheese, ramen noodles, and boxed food seems sensible, it could actually increase the odds of you weakening your own immune system and contracting the actual virus. It is a great time to stock up on lean meats and fish and start trying new cooking techniques or methods. Air fryers and crockpots are fun ways to add in variety to healthy meals, especially in isolation when you have the free time to try out new recipes.
Immune Boosting Nutrition:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Try new recipes
- Snack on healthy nuts and seeds
- Choose whole foods over boxed
- Increase protein intake
- Take probiotics
As health facilities prepare to shut down and quarantine for a safer environment, many are worried that they will not be able to continue their typical exercise routine. Staying active is especially important when you are trying to remain healthy and strong as it improves your overall health. There is no reason to stop all activity because you are isolated and unable to make it to the gym. There are tons of virtual options available now, so there is not a good excuse to be a couch potato unless you have been infected or are recovering from a current infection! YouTube, Daily Burn, and Yoga Glo have some awesome content to check out if you are unsure as to what you should be doing or need modifications to your routine. Nature also has the best source scenery and options, so take the family for a walk, a hike, or even a bike ride. I am one who can’t stand moving in confined spaces, so I move my workouts outdoors on the patio and utilize the freedom to achieve all of my cardiovascular goals. My son especially loves scooting around and burning off his extra energy since he isn’t able to socialize at school. There are many exercises that can be done with minimal equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, and an exercise ball.
At Home Activities:
- Involve the family
- Try a new online workout
- Meditate with yoga
- Take a hike
- Utilize nature
- Invest in new equipment
Staying hydrated can greatly reduce the risk of infection, especially during cold and flu season. It naturally rids the body of toxins, bacteria, and invading viruses, acting as an immune defense. Water ensures that our body is functioning correctly, especially in our natural defense mechanisms. We are equipped with many back-up systems to aid in attacking pathogens, some of them being mostly composed of water! The mucosa in our digestive and respiratory systems especially trap debris and unwelcome visitors from entering our stomach and lungs.
The recommended daily fluid intake for men and women is roughly 3 liters, but most do not consume this much. My advice is to get a big jug full of water, leave it out on the kitchen counter, and drink water from it every time you see it or pass by. It also helps you track your daily intake and ensures that you reach your goal by the end of the day; otherwise, you will be spending most of your night in the bathroom rather than resting.
- Drink around 3 liters per day
- Invest in a large jug
Unfortunately, you will most likely come into contact with many pathogens, but if you practice good hygiene in and out of the home, then you can greatly reduce the risk of spreading or contracting viruses. Practice washing your hands, staying on top of disinfecting bathrooms, countertops, doorknobs, and vehicles and avoid touching your face. I keep hand sanitizer on my counter and in our vehicles to quickly disinfect as needed. Also avoid heavily populated areas and wear a mask if you are forced to go out in public while infected.
This pandemic will hopefully be over as soon as the weather begins to heat up and the country has had the opportunity to contain the virus at best. Just remember it is only temporary, so making the best of the situation will create a more positive environment in the meantime. You don’t have to quit your healthy lifestyle, and you may even find that you like some of the peace and freedom you get to experience. There will be memories made, and with precautionary steps, you can greatly increase the odds of bypassing the virus. Keep your community within your prayers, protect those who cannot protect themselves as easy as most, and lend a hand when the opportunity arises. There is no need to panic. Educate yourself and ride through the moment with more ease.