We have always known that eating well and exercising is important for our health. We’ve all heard that nagging voice in our head telling us to eat better and exercise more. This voice was easy to dismiss in the past because there didn’t seem to be an imminent threat lingering; however, that has since changed. As we all tirelessly try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through hand washing, sanitizing, and wearing our masks, we must not forget the essential role our immune system plays in all of it. This is no longer something that can wait. The threat is here now, but the good news is that we can mitigate that threat and transform our lives.
Seldom reported as such in mainstream media, the most powerful medicine with life changing health benefits is exercise. We have to keep our immune system strong and our body in a state of optimal health because that is our #1 defense against illness and disease. Some of the most important things we can do to stay healthy come from simple changes to our everyday lifestyle.
Doing what people have been doing over the past several years has not worked. In fact it seems that we get more unhealthy every year! A paper published in 2018 in the Journal of Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, showed that only 12% of the U.S. population is metabolically healthy. That is frightening! According to the CDC, 100 million U.S. citizens have prediabetes or diabetes and of those who are prediabetic, over 80% don’t know it. Heart disease is the leading cause of death with 647,936 per year in the U.S. alone, and cancer close behind with 599,108 deaths. Dr. Mark Hyman, MD., Head of Strategy and Innovation for the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, in his latest book ‘Food Fix’, claims 11 million people die each year from processed foods. Yikes!! There will never be one pill that will “cure” our chronic health problems. Let’s focus on what we can do to take control:
Exercise – The benefits of exercise are numerous. It’s one of the only interventions that can make a difference in a whole host of health-related conditions. From weight loss to decreasing stress to improving overall health, it’s very clear that exercise is the magic pill 🙂 Here’s more information on all of the benefits.
Nutrition – We can make a big difference in our immune system by just cutting out sugars and processed foods that cause inflammation in the body. By just making a few healthier choices each day, your inflammation will decrease and your immunity will improve. Please read our blog post on inflammation for more on this topic.
Eating a lower carbohydrate diet or a ketogenic diet will also help to keep your blood sugar regulated. This is extremely important as it relates to outcomes with COVID-19. Here is an article that discusses the increased risk in Type 2 diabetics with poorly regulated blood sugar.
You can also consider intermittent fasting to promote cellular autophagy, improve mitochondrial health, increase immunity and improve metabolic flexibility so the body basically learns how to use glucose and fat in a way that is most beneficial and least deleterious. For more on fasting and the many benefits, please read our blog post.
Vitamin D – Especially in the time of COVID-19, vitamin D seems to be a big factor in mortality rates for those infected. In this paper, the author discussed a study from the Philippines that showed that patients with a vitamin D deficiency had a 72.8% chance of becoming severe or critical with COVID-19 versus only 7.2% with adequate vitamin D levels. Dr. Rhonda Patrick had discussed this topic extensively. Click here for a deep dive into vitamin D. If you’re looking for a supplement, we highly recommend Thorne’s Vitamin D/K2, but we also love the idea of getting out everyday in the early morning sun – go for a walk to get your exercise and your vitamin D at the same time. Our California weather could not be more perfect for this!
Other small changes you can make now – Get more sleep so your body can repair itself, add sauna bathing a few days per week to help increase immunity, decrease inflammation and lower blood glucose levels. Read more on the sauna here. Take the magic pill! Move more, cut out sugars and processed foods and make a firm decision to focus on your health so you can weather this storm and be ready for anything that comes your way!
*Disclaimer: The information in this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult your doctor before considering any new diet, supplementation, or other changes to your normal nutrition and exercise routine.