A lot of our mental capacity is currently taken up by COVID-19; the impact this is having on our day-to-day lives and may have on our health.

It is important during this time that we take our information from valid sources and that we do our best to support our immunity and mental well being. Below I hope to offer you some tips and support during this time of uncertainty.

I am a member of The College of Medicine and Alternative Health, a great official source, who state:

“So far for most people this strain of coronavirus is relatively mild, especially if you are young and relatively fit. The main care focus should be for people with pre-existing conditions. The data from China indicate that the most risk is for people with heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease and cancer, who are also usually older. This makes COVID-19 different from flu.

The science is rapidly helping us understand why people in these categories are getting harmed by this virus. A key frontline in the defence against this coronavirus appears to be the cells lining the blood vessels (the endothelium). There is also new evidence emerging from Chinese clinicians that COVID-19 dangerously disrupts healthy bowel flora and so weakens the response to the infection: they recommend probiotics to reduce this impact.”

Further understanding of how the virus affects the lungs is beginning to come out of China. This is not fully confirmed, but there are easy measures we can take to support our hydration and general health, so they are worth following, especially with activities such as drinking teas that offer immune support. The suggestions below include some that help you to open and unblock your airways, as the virus predominantly attacks the lungs.

Ways to increase your protection against COVID-19

  1. Reduce your intake of the following:
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Refined sugars
  • Junk fats
  • Alcohol

Reducing these will reduce the stress on the endothelial frontline caused by higher blood sugar levels.

2. Increase your intake of the following:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Green, black and herbal teas
  • Other plant foods (see below)
  • Chocolate contacting at least 70% cocoa

These contain polyphenols and other constituents that protect the frontline. You also want to ensure you are keeping up your zinc levels, not just vitamin C levels.

3. For similar benefits, take the following spices:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon

You can use these in your cooking, herbal teas or as supplements.

4. Increase your vitamin D intake by taking in some sunshine, or a good supplement. This will add to your protection, especially if you suffer from high blood pressure.

5. Take a good probiotic to help maintain normal gut defences.

6. Drink lots of hot liquids – soups, teas, warm water. In addition, take a sip of warm water every 20 minutes because this keeps your mouth moist for good barrier protection against incoming viruses. It may also wash any of the virus that has entered your mouth into your stomach, where the gastric juices will neutralise it before it can get to the lungs.

7. Try to stick to eating and drinking hot food and liquid, rather than cold.

8. Gargle with an antiseptic in warm water, like vinegar, salt or lemon – every day, if possible.

9. If you feel any discomfort in your throat or a sore throat coming on, attack it immediately using the above methods. The virus enters the system this way and remains for 3 or 4 days within the throat before it passes into the lungs.

10. Wash your hands regularly, as well as surfaces, clothes and yourselves, especially after coming in from the outside world!

11. Don’t smoke

12. Increase the amount of exercise you are doing, and if possible, in fresh air.

13. Take stress-relieving measures – see more below.

Dr Michael Dixon, Chair of The College of Medicine and Alternative Health states that “The good news is that these changes could benefit anyone and most can lead to benefits in days.”

Reducing contamination

Great advice to add in that has been released by Richard P. Brown, MD and Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD of Breath-Body-Mind™ is:

“Food is something that other people have touched while harvesting, packing, unpacking, displaying, and touching while shopping. We recommend using a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water to wash everything you buy at the grocery store, particularly fresh produce and cans. Soak fruits and vegetables for about 3 minutes. Gently rub the fruit or vegetable in the solution. Rinse thoroughly and set out to dry.”

“Social isolation: The best way to protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your co-workers is to avoid situations in which groups, even small groups of a few people, are together in a room, sharing facilities, or touching things that may have been contaminated by the hands of other people. For example, when you use an elevator, push the buttons with your elbows, not your fingers.”

Stress and the immune system

It is commonly known that stress can impact our immunity negatively. I encourage you to focus on reducing stress as much as possible (I know that’s easier said than done!).

Movement to help lymphatic and heart function

One of the best ways you can support your immune system is to move daily, ensuring efficient blood circulation and the health of both your cardiovascular and lymphatic circulatory systems.

Breathing for respiratory health

Meditation is a wonderful practice for calming the body and mind but also allowing you to focus on the breath to promote your respiratory health. There’s some wonderful resources out there, and you’ll find recordings from me on Insight Timer and SoundCloud.

Mood support

To support you with your mental wellbeing, this blog has some helpful insights:

How to Maintain Mood Levels

You can also join my Facebook group Charlotte Watts Calm for regular support and resources.

Food Focus

Based on the recommendations I mention above from The College of Medicine and Alternative Health, I have various blogs delving further into the foods recommended to increase during this time. You can find these blogs here and in my Superfoods Directory.

If you are looking for ideas of how you can incorporate these foods into what you’re making, have a look at my Recipes Directory. A simple way of adding supplements into your diet is through tea, e.g. making a simple tea using slices of ginger, lemon, a sprinkling of turmeric and steeping in hot water. Stews and soups are also a great way to get as much nutrition as possible into your meal – add whatever veggies you want, as well as spices and herbs – have fun experimenting! Soups and stews are also incredibly soothing to eat, which can help promote that sense of calm we are wanting right now.

Supplements that may help support your innate immune capacity

Vitamin C – taking up to 3-4g a day can help your immune function optimally

Probiotics – support immune modulation via the gut wall

Medicinal Mushrooms – also shown to support immune modulation (appropriate response)

Lysine – supports the body’s natural ability to fight viruses

Cat’s Claw – a long-term traditional immune support

Olive Leaf Extract – a long-term traditional immune support

L-Glutathione – the body’s main antioxidant enzyme, works in the respiratory system

[check with your doctor if these are safe to take if you are on medication]

I hope this blog helps you to stay calm, safe and well,

Charlotte x