COVID-19, Nutrition, and Self-Care

My friends in health, we have entered a period in our lives that will challenge us to be creative, connect in innovative ways, and uphold our health for the benefit of all. Let me challenge you to take this as an opportunity to nourish your spirit, mind, and body for the collective health of our nation and the world. The threat of COVID-19 is real. As you read, please digest this information on the facts about the virus, how to maintain good nutrition for immune health, and ways to manage stress. If you internalize one message from this blog post, it is that you understand your actions WILL impact the people who surround you, the people who surround them, and beyond. Consider yourself as one piece of a whole, just as your heart is integrated into your entire body. 

Facts about COVID-19

  1. Coronavirus disease 2019 is a novel viral respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Anyone is at risk, but those who are at highest risk include people with multiple existing medical problems, healthcare workers, or people who have traveled to at-risk areas. 
  2. The virus is believed to have started with an animal to human transmission but now spreads by human contact. COVID-19 can be spread when people are within 6 feet of one another through the droplet, such as sneezing or coughing. It is possible to pick up this virus from surfaces in the environment, and then touching the eyes, nose, mouth, or face. 
  3. Primary symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. For those who become severely ill, they can develop pneumonia and respiratory failure. 
  4. To protect yourself: 
    1. Avoid close contact with others: practice social distancing.
    2. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. 
    3. Avoid touching your face and mucous membranes. 
  5. If you become sick: 
    1. Stay home!
    2. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if coughing or sneezing. 
    3. Clean and disinfect frequently used objects or touched surfaces. 
  6. There is currently no vaccine or specific treatment other than supportive care. 
  7. We must all do our part to protect one another. 

Good Nutrition Principles and Food for Immune Health 

  1. Energy Balance: The bottom line, the calories you eat should match the energy you expend if your goal is to maintain your weight. Fewer calories than energy expenditure lead to weight loss. However, the QUALITY of your calories is vastly important, as we will discuss in #3. 
  2. Protein is Priority: when creating your eating plan, focus on protein intake. This will maintain your muscle mass or help you to BUILD muscle. It is even more important for a weight loss program, in which the goal if fat loss with muscle maintenance. 
  3. Eating Whole Foods: processed foods contain chemicals, are more calorie-dense, and are less nutrient-dense than whole foods. Think of the acronym “JERF”: Just Eat Real Food. This way, you consume more fiber, more vitamins and minerals, more water, and more diverse nutrients. Eating this way can also help you stay fuller for longer! 
  4. Fruits and Vegetables Decrease Disease Risk, Boost Immunity, Reduce Inflammation: they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber. This is a beautiful recipe for a healthy gut, stronger immune system, and reduced inflammation. More fruits and veggies also protect against heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. So, load up!! 
  5. Sleep Affects What You Eat: lack of sleep increases hunger cravings. Fatigue leads to less movement and exercise. Sleep-deprived people eat about 300 more calories than those who get adequate sleep. Ensuring you get 7 hours of sleep per night will help you to make better choices in movement and nutrition. Not only that, but sleep also helps strengthen your immune system!
  6. Supplements: great supplements options to boost and protect your immune system are: 
    1. Vitamin C
    2. Vitamin A 
    3. Zinc
    4. Collagen
    5. Protein intake
    6. Probiotics
    7. Elderberry 
    8. Oregano
    9. Basil
    10. Reishi mushroom
      Please reach out to me for great brands and natural strategies to incorporate these into your daily life! 

Stress Management

The body does not differentiate physical stress from emotional or psychological sources. Implementing stress management practices will boost your immune system by improving your mental health. The mind-body-spirit connection is vital. 

  1. Find a daily gratitude practice. Numerous studies have shown that gratitude can lift spirits over time, and even decrease the need for antidepressants. 
  2. Get outside. This is being published on the first day of spring! Take advantage of social distancing by being in open spaces and breathing fresh air. Sunshine helps to promote wellness, increase endorphins, and convert vitamin D to usable forms. 
  3. Connect with others in new ways: write emails, FaceTime or video chat, create group texts… Participate in virtual meetings for workouts, coffee, or happy hours! 
  4. Learn something new! YouTube is just waiting to teach you something. 
  5. Get organized. What an opportunity for spring cleaning!
  6. Knock out those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off.
  7. Meditation and yoga, breathing practices. 
  8. Spa day: masks, essential oils, partner massage, bubble baths. 
  9. Get intimate with your partner. 
  10. Read! Podcast!
  11. Craft… 
  12. Journal…
  13. I mean, we could go on forever here. 

Share with us how your life is adapting as we continue to thrive together during this time. We are here to support you at Arsenal Strength. I’m happy to chat with anyone over video conferencing about any of your concerns, or simply to share a happy exchange between friends. Stay up to date with our emails and Instagram stories, posts, and videos. 

Keep Thriving!