How to Boost Your Immune System During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Simple methods to take care of your body and business.
The following article is written by Ben Angel. Author of the book, Unstoppable: A 90-Day Plan to Biohack Your Mind and Body for Success. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound. And be sure to order The Unstoppable Journal, the only journal of its kind based on neuroscience, psychology and biohacking to help you reach your goals.
As we all grow accustomed to life in the age of novel coronavirus COVID-19, and scientists continue working on antivirals and vaccines, many experts are suggesting the public take a holistic approach to general health maintenance. And as biohackers know better than most, positive immune response can be essential to staying healthy. While the following suggestions are not ways to prevent you from contracting the virus, they are easy ways to keep yourself as healthy as possible.
As noted in a recent study from the Sleep Foundation, "Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond."
Çonsequently, the study advises taking two 30-minute-or-less daily naps to help mitigate sleep deprivation's effects on the immune system. But if you're having a difficult time getting to sleep, you can try the many binaural beats found on YouTube (Jody Hatton’s Power Naps is a good place to start) to help grab some winks on your coffee break.
Getting rid of sugar biohacks your immune system by removing a food source for the “bad” bacteria in your gut that can kill off your good bacteria. Autoimmune problems and digestive issues are telltale signs of gut imbalance. Ideally, your gut should be 85 percent good bacteria or probiotics.
You can check for gut dysbiosis through gut-microbiome tests from companies like Thryve Inside, as well as take stock of what you’re eating on a daily basis. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi can all help repopulate the good bacteria in your gut as well, leaving you with more energy and vitality.
It’s been known for centuries that fasting has been used as a health protocol. Paracelsus, a great healer in the Western tradition, wrote 500 years ago that, “Fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within.” In 2014, Dr. Valter Longo of the University of Southern California discovered that fasting for three days (having nothing but water) could essentially reset the immune system. As summarized on Humann.com, holding off on eating for at least 16-18 hours after your last meal allows your body’s attention to become "focused on the current immune cells, recycling them and getting rid of the damaged cells. This means that during the fast, your body is running lean and mean with its white blood cells."
This practice, of course, should only be done if you’re already healthy. But provided that's the case, who wouldn’t want more time to complete projects at work and get healthier at the same time?
Mindfulness Meditation to Reduce Stress
Stress causes an inflammatory response within the body that can greatly affect your fight-or-flight response by releasing too much of the stress hormone cortisol. It also leaves us more vulnerable to infections and disease, both in and out of the office. That's why mindfully meditating has become a must for any biohacking entrepreneurs. There are various forms of mindfulness practices, ranging from the slow-moving poses of yoga and tai chi to myriad breathing techniques. And a recent study in Translational Psychiatry adds that "there seems to be something intrinsic about meditation itself that can shift gene expression and even boost mood over time."
Many airlines are now monitoring travelers's health before and after flights. According to the CDC, those with no respiratory symptoms do not need to wear a medical mask. The CDC also recommends the use of masks for people who have symptoms of the virus and for those caring for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever.
In his book, Cockpit Confidential, author Patrick Smith states that in an airplane, “Between 94 and 99.9 percent of airborne microbes are captured, and there’s a total changeover of air every two or three minutes — far more frequently than occurs in offices, movie theaters or classrooms.”
This is all the more reason why taking your vitamins during stressful times is important, since many of our essential minerals and vitamins can become depleted during stress. Vitamins C, B and D, as well as zinc, all support your immune system. Research shows that zinc alone can help keep inflammation at bay so that your immune response is better supported.
Although we are in uncertain times, we don’t have to wait to see if we are healthy enough to overcome any type of sickness or disease. By implementing some of these holistic steps to boost your immune system, it will inevitably be a win-win situation for not only your health and well-being, but for keeping your business running like a well-oiled machine. Bottom line: Don’t panic, and take advice from the medical professionals who are specialists in this area.
This article solely reflects the opinion of the author and is not intended as an alternative to recommended official government guidelines. For more updates and information about the novel coronavirus, visit the CDC's website.
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