As we enter another year of the pandemic, building our body’s natural immune system has never more important. When dealing with invading pathogens, our body’s natural immune system is critical at every stage—to avoid getting sick, to fight illness off, and to recover more rapidly afterwards. Even the effectiveness of the vaccines being developed will depend on and build upon the body’s natural immune system. This area of immune function is called immunogenics.
In our busy lives, it’s easy to lose sight of the common sense daily habits that keep us healthy, balanced, resilient, and strengthen our immunity. The healthier you are, the more proactive steps you take, the more you minimize your chances of catching the virus and suffering serious illness. Incorporating strategies to build our immune system is where this blog will focus.
Our immune system really kicks into action when we sleep. So getting sufficient sleep, 7, 8 or 9 hours is recommended. Less or poor quality sleep can dramatically undermine our health and immunity.
Are you drinking enough water? Seven to eight glasses of water per day is good. Coffee, tea and fruit juices do not count. Increase your pure water intake and skip sugary and caffeinated drinks.
Diet is a crucial building block. It’s best to eat organic nutritious, fresh foods and avoid processed foods which are often high in processed sugar, salt, food coloring and chemical additives. Dark leafy greens, carrots, vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, proteins, nuts, seeds, lentils, oatmeal are good.
Vitamins that can help boost the immune system include: Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage and maintain health; Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight infection; Vitamin A, Vitamin D; Zinc, to control inflammation; Tumeric; Echinacea; Elderberry.
Probiotics help boost the immune system by inhibiting the growth of harmful gut bacteria and by providing the body with good bacteria, promoting antibodies that help fight inflammation and infection.
It’s a good practice to rinse your nostrils out with warm, mild salt water evening and morning, because viruses, especially Covid, often lodge in the nostrils and can be rinsed out with water before it goes into the sinuses and lungs. You can use a neti potty or just fill a cup with warm salty water, even less salty than ocean water, so it doesn’t sting. Pour or sniff it in through one nostril while gently holding the other closed, spit it out and let some of it flow back out through the same nostril. Then do the same on the other side, 8-10 times.
Cleansing. The healthier you are, the more you minimize your chances of catching and/or dying from the virus. Supporting your complex immune system now can also help you fight off other pathogens, like colds or flu viruses later.
Exercise regularly. Get outdoors, walk, run, bike. Get creative with how you move your body—stretch, bend over, move your spine in different directions, gently. Dance to your favorite tunes, exercise to videos, create a daily practice. The Pedometer app on your phone is a simple way to measure and increase your steps. It can be surprisingly motivating. Research has found that 2,000 steps a day will benefit health and reduce your chance of early death by 30%.
Pay attention to your breath. Slow, deep breathing strengthens the lung life force. Breath through your nose instead of your mouth. Breathe in to the count of 5 and out to the count of 5. Reduce your stress, practice yoga, meditation, calm down and find your balance and serenity within. Consciously cultivate the activities, thoughts and practices that increase feeling calm. When you feel angry or fearful, notice what triggers it and breathe into it and release it.
Smile more. Smiling not only offers a mood boost, but helps our body release cortisol and endorphins that provide health benefits including reducing blood pressure, pain and stress, as well as increasing endurance, and ….strengthens the immune system!
These actions may seem simple but they are powerful supports to all the parts of your complex immune system. Practicing these habits can keep you healthier and also help you fight off pathogens you encounter in the future.
Adapting to Change
We are living in uncertain and turbulent times which cause stress. These challenges can feel like things are unraveling in our lives. How we mentally frame this disruption and change will determine how it affects our body, mind and spirit. When we recognize this disruption has elements of needed change, that old unsustainable habits and institutions are crumbling, we can let go of fear and look for new ways to live that are more sustainable. The Covid pandemic is calling us to reexamine our lives and our assumptions and expectations. It is an opportunity to build more grounded, sustainable, life affirming systems as a society, and it begins with each one of us.
How we frame these changes, either optimistically or with fear or anger, will have an impact on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. We are privileged to be alive at this time, part of this Great Turning. The coronavirus may be a catalyst to shake up humanity, forcing us to remember who we really are—children of the living earth—forcing humanity to change our ways, examine and cease destructive actions, and come back to living in harmony with the natural world; to live simply, so that others may simply live.
Are there ways that you are staying healthy and strengthening your natural immune system, that you would like to share? We’d love to know what you’re doing.
Here are some related articles Harriett found interesting:
Edgar Cayce’s precautions against covid-19
About the writer
Harriett Crosby, Founder of Fox Haven
Harriett was trained at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland as a Jungian psychoanalyst and set up practice in Washington DC. During the Clinton administration, Harriett worked in the White House Office of Environmental Policy and the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. She invited innovative thinkers, including Father Thomas Berry, David Brower, Joanna Macy, Fritjof Capra to speak at brown bag lunches. She was a speech writer for Vice President Al Gore on Native American Indian issues. Harriett was a Sundancer on Pine Ridge Reservation in S.D. for four consecutive years. While fasting on a four-day vision quest in the Black Hills, she watched the approach of a thunderstorm, was drenched in rain and felt bolts of lightning striking all around her. She had a vision of the earth being alive, intelligent, expressive and Mother Earth became her teacher. She has been guided by this vision and it is foundational to Fox Haven’s mission. She currently serves actively on the boards of Friends of the Earth, the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, as well as Fox Haven.