From Dr Sabine Donnai, Chief Executive of Viavi
Supporting the immune system is not possible through isolated individual actions. A combination of behaviours to support the immune system and an absence of behaviours that depress the immune system should be the key strategy for individuals at this time.
Nutritional Support to fight COVID-19
Our standard dietary principles still apply during this challenging time. Areas of increased nutritional focus should be:
- Avoiding alcohol where possible due to its suppressive role on sleep and recovery
- Eating whole foods with avoidance of processed / sugary foods
- Target 5-7 portions of diversely coloured vegetables
- Add a daily portion of either ginger, garlic or turmeric. Ideally all three each day
- Ensure you are drinking sufficient water for your urine to be clear/straw coloured
- Consider use of specific immune supporting juice daily (included at end of this summary)
- Adding a portion of fermented foods to your diet 3-4 x per week: Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha ideal options
- Restrict caffeine (tea, coffee, green tea, dark chocolate) after lunch
- Aim to finish your evening meal/snack more than 2 hours before bed.
Building immunity – Supplements
Consider taking the following immune supporting supplements:
- Vitamin C 1000mg daily
- Zinc 50mg daily
- Vitamin D 2000iu daily if not already on a corrective supplement
Movement and exercise
We strongly advocate to keep active daily during this period by walking for at least 30 minutes outside. This will also aid in cardiovascular health.
We recommend as a minimum one resistance exercise session and one 20 minute cardiovascular exercise session such as jogging, cycling, rowing or swimming each week.
…… yet avoid overtraining
There is a strong correlation between exercise volume and upper respiratory airway disease. Exercise is proven to be beneficial to the immune system and reduce respiratory disease. However, due to elevated stress hormones when you exercise too hard or too often, we also see a reduction of immunity when training volume is excessive.
Ensuring regular exercise is key but reducing the intensity of exercise sessions and the frequency is wise over high infection probability periods.
In a period of time when more disposable time may become available we suggest sustained training volume rather than a significant increase in training volume.
Stress and sleep – supporting resilience and immunity
The onset of the pandemic has naturally led to an increase in incidences of anxiety and a heightened stress level across the world. It is well understood that heightened stress will have a negative impact on your immune system. Controlling how global and local matters affect your personal stress levels will be critical at this time.
We advise to restrict yourself on the access of 24 hours news and watch this in deliberate pockets once or twice per day. In our experience, we find members gain benefit from restricted news flow and have lower anxiety levels as a result.
We also advise regular and effective meditation during this time. Use of Apps such as Calm or Headspace are the best introduction for those unfamiliar with this practice at this time.
- Turn off your WIFI router (not just the WIFI on your phone) before going to bed.
- Use the ‘flux app’ on your PC, tablets and phone to reduce your exposure to blue light in the evenings. iPhone/iPad have the ‘night shift’ function for you to use.
- Dim lights in the house in the build up to bed time.
- Avoid TV, film or tablet use in the last 90 minutes before bed.
- Remove any TV or tablets from the bedroom.
- Remove all phones and technology elements from the bedroom
- Ensure nothing is charging in the bedroom within sight of the bed.
- Include a hot bath one hour before bed (1-2 cups Epsom salts, 1 cup baking soda, 10 drops lavender oil).
- Make a list of things to do the next day before you go to bed.
- Keep a pad of paper and pen next to the bed for any big thoughts during the night. Note them down and leave them until morning.
- Aim to keep your bedroom around 21 degrees centigrade (if possible) as this is the optimum temperature for sleep.
- Aim to go to bed no later than 10.30pm to optimise your body’s release of the sleep hormone melatonin.
Immune boosting juice
Suggested juice Base:
1 cucumber and 4-6 ribs of celery
This combination alone is nutrient dense, supplying electrolytes and the right sodium to your juice. Great juice if you work out/perspire a lot.
Pick any of the below to mix with your base.
2 bags of kale and 1 head of broccoli
Or 1 bag of collard/spring greens, 1 bag of spinach, 1 bag of kale
Or 1 bag of kale, 10 to 12 sticks of asparagus, 1 red cabbage
Or 1 bag of spinach, 2 cucumbers, 1 white cabbage
Then, one thumb of ginger, ½ a lemon and a handful of parsley
To make it more interesting, add any of these optional items below to complete the taste, if they’re not already in your recipe. These items are somewhat strong and even pungent, so use sparingly, or just omit if you don’t like the smell/taste of them.
Turmeric root, mint, coriander, and basil
And if your juice is too bitter?
Add 1 carrot and 1/2 apple
These two items mix very well with almost anything. Even with greens, it adds a nice sweetness to it without being too overpowering. Very easy for beginners to transition to fully green.
Viavi:be – Supporting your resilience and immunity to the Covid-19 virus
If you have any questions or queries please do contact the Health Coach team who will be delighted to help.
Sending our best wishes to you and your family during this challenging time.
Dr Sabine Donnai