I have been asked recently by several people about magnesium and how important it is. I came across the great guide in one of my emails and thought I pass it along. Hopefully it can help shed some light on the very important mineral that many of us have a deficiency in.
Many of us have been wondering about our health with the recent threat of the COVID-19 virus. Wondering if we are healthy enough to recover if we get it, or are we healthy enough that we wouldn't have noticeable symptoms? Health and wellness are year round endeavors that are achieved through all of the aspects of our lives. One of the biggest overlooked factors is our sleep, the quantity and quality of it. Much of the body's repair processes take place while we are sleeping and a lack of it can have immediate effects but also cause long term issues as well. I came across a great article that covers the importance of sleep as a modulator of immune health.
Improve Your Sleep-Wake Rhythms for Immune Health
Amidst the novel pandemic of SARS-CoV2, we may find ourselves overwhelmed, confused, and scared. I want to assure you, there is plenty you can do, right now, in the comfort of your own home to support your body and immune system. In this article, we’ll cover the importance of physical distancing, proper hygiene, whole-food nutrition, movement, stress-reduction, and self-care.
The most powerful thing you can do right now is to stay home. Obviously, we’ll all need to get out of the house for grocery shopping and fresh air throughout the week, so it’s important that when you are around other people you maintain at least 6 feet of distance between you. Current research is showing that population-wide social distancing will have the largest impact on the reduction of COVID-19 cases1.
Equally as important as social distancing is proper handwashing! Washing with soap and water is one of the key public health practices that can significantly slow the rate of this pandemic and limit the number of infections2. It’s not enough to just wash your hands though, it must be often, and it must be done completely. Twenty seconds is the rule of thumb to go by in terms of length — so enjoy your rendition of “Happy Birthday” or the “ABC’s” to know when time is up.
Next up is whole-food nutrition. Now more than ever it is crucial to fuel your body with nutrient-dense, whole foods. Focusing on high-quality protein, healthy fats, and vegetables in every color of the rainbow will provide your body with all of the macronutrients and micronutrients it needs to support and balance your immune system. When grocery shopping, skip the processed foods filled with refined carbohydrates and sugars, as this will put even more pressure on your system. Instead, prioritize pasture-raised organic eggs and poultry, grass-fed beef, wild-caught seafood, nuts, seeds, and a variety of vegetables and fruits.
With all of the extra time being spent at home, it may become tempting to just relax all day on the couch. While this is a really important part of stress-reduction and self-care, this sedentary lifestyle must be balanced by exercise and movement. Studies show that moderate-intensity exercise reduces inflammation and improves the immune response to respiratory viral infections, like COVID-193. The best thing you can do right now is to head outside, get some fresh air and go for walk or jog, remembering to keep your distance from others. Take this extra time to smell the flowers and listen to the birds! If you can’t get outside, YouTube has thousands of free exercise classes from yoga to kickboxing and everywhere in between. There are also plenty of mommy/daddy and me classes to include your children if you have littles at home.
Stress-reduction and self-care may seem inconsequential at a time like this, but actually, it’s vital for your health and well-being. Stress has been shown to suppress the immune system, making it more likely that you’ll fall ill during times of high stress. To counteract this, practicing deep breathing can have positive effects on immune function in health and disease because of its ability to reduce stress3. Stress reduction is a personal process that can look very different for each of us. For some, it may look like relaxing in solitude, while for others it may look like gardening, running, surfing, painting, coloring, or sewing. Whatever it looks like for you, just make sure you prioritize the time and engage in the practice of self-care by committing to doing the things you love the most.
While this novel pandemic has never touched our lives before, the important immune-boosting practices listed above have always been foundational aspects of our health. Now more than ever the focus should be on nourishing your mind, fueling your body, and boosting your spirits.
1. Ferguson, Neil M, et al. “Impact of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) to Reduce COVID- 19 Mortality and Healthcare Demand.” Imperial.ac.uk, 16 Mar. 2020, www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/sph/ide/gida-fellowships/Imperial-College-COVID19-NPI-modelling-16-03-2020.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2u67e-V_OllF0AzhOXDP_EyNNHUL2EB40_8FCh0jD_6P1WR5AkE2g4v2U.
2. Jabr, Ferris. “Why Soap Works.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 13 Mar. 2020, www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/health/soap-coronavirus-handwashing-germs.html.
3. Martin, Stephen A, et al. “Exercise and Respiratory Tract Viral Infections.” Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Oct. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803113/.
4. Kox, Maltthijs, et al. “Voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans.” David R. Vago, Ph.D., 24 May 2015, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4034215/.
One of the common questions I get when working with clients is what is better when it comes to produce, fresh or frozen? There are benefits to both! In the end, it comes down to what works best for your budget and schedule, and what is most convenient for you. Let's be honest, for many of us, if it takes too much time or effort to prepare, we probably won't. I like frozen broccoli because of this very reason. Another benefit is I don't have to worry about it turning yellow in the drawer of my fridge because I didn't get to it fast enough!
Examine.com has put together a great article on the differences between fresh, frozen and canned produce that can help you choose if you aren't sure which one to pick. You can read the article here.
What I generally recommend to my clients is to find a few favorites, in whatever style, and keep those on hand because you know you like them and will eat them. Beyond that, I encourage people to try one different vegetable or fruit each week because you just might find a new favorite.
Is there a difference between fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables?
It is amazing what some of the little know organs in our body are truly doing for us. One that we probably don't give any thought to is the thyroid. Sure, we all know of someone who takes thyroid medication and truly benefits from that, but what if we could keep our organs healthy enough that they didn't need supplementation? I would like to think that we would all like that as our ideal scenario. I am endlessly amazed at the vital role that proper nutrition plays in the functioning of the body's organs and how even just minor deficiencies in micronutrients can have major effects.
To see a snapshot of how this delicate interplay can unfold, check out this article on how iron effects the thyroid.
Linking Thyroid Problems, Iron, Fatigue, and Cognitive Ability