It’s been a while since I’ve written a nutrition-focused post, and the time seems right for a few words on how best to support the body’s immune system, so here goes …
The Lifestyle Basics
* Keep your diet healthy and clean—going organic and locally grown, whenever possible. (More on this below.)
* Get plenty of sleep—which is when the body goes into its “rest and repair” cycle.
* Exercise—to keep the blood and lymph fluids well-circulated. This doesn’t have to be anything extreme (and probably best if it’s not). A brisk walk around the block, a half-hour bike-ride or time on an indoor exercycle, shooting some hoops in the driveway, or a gentle yoga asana practice, are perfect.
* Spend time outside—communing with the natural world and getting some vitamin-D producing sunlight. Even if it’s just wandering around your back yard or sitting on the front porch, find a way to get up-close and personal with some trees, spring flowers, a meadow or a creek, at least once a day.
Love in the Time of Coronavirus
Stay connected to friends and family—even if this mostly means Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc. “Social distancing” recommendations have to do with the distance between physical bodies: It has nothing to do with hearts and minds. So far as I know, overlapping subtle bodies are not a mechanism for disease transmission 🙂
So feel free to offer energetic “hugs” to your loved ones, and even to strangers who you pass—at a safe and respectful distance—on the street or in the grocery store. Rather than contracting into fearful paranoia or suspicion, send your fellow humans an affectionate smile along with stealth blessings of safety, health, happiness, luck in procuring an endless supply of toilet paper, or whatever ….
The Dietary Basics
Okay, you know the drill: Lots and lots of veggies; high-quality animal and/or vegetarian protein; and healthy fats and oils (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil, almond oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, butter and ghee) as your dietary foundations.
Whole grains in moderation, and fresh or dried fruit to satisfy your sweet-tooth.
Plenty of water and other fluids to keep toxins flushed out regularly via sweat and urination.
And, of particular importance for bolstering immunity:
1. Fruits rich in vitamin C—such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, strawberries, papaya, acerola cherries. The rainforest fruit camu-camu is a rock-star in this regard.
2. Probiotic-rich food—which nourishes the microbiome (the “healthy bacteria” of the intestines) which directly supports the immune system. These fermented or “cultured” foods include: yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, sour cream, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha.
Remember to always look for the “live active cultures” label to make sure that’s what you’re getting. Many brands pasteurize their product in a way that destroys the healthy probiotics, in order to extend shelf life or make transport easier. But this removes a majority of the nutritional benefit, in relation to the immune system.
3. Bone Broth—for overall health and immune support. Whether you make it yourself or purchase a quality frozen both broth, it should be gelatinous at room temperature: that’s how you know it’s the real deal.
If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, here’s something to consider: Apparently certain Indian rishis consider colostrum as a substance in its own category—and hence allow it as part of their vegetarian diets.
May the Spores Be With You!
Given that there currently is no pharmaceutical vaccination or treatment for Covid-19, doing our best to strengthen the body’s immune system seems really wise. Toward this end, I’ve been relying in large part on our friends from the fungal kingdom: the medicinal mushrooms. Agarikon, Reishi, Chaga and Turkey Tail are all renowned for their antimicrobial prowess—and so can (at least potentially) nourish and support our natural immunity.
Agarikon, in particular, has proven effective against both RNA and DNA viruses—and its extracts already appear in various western pharmaceuticals. I recommend Host Defense Agarikon, which is produced under the auspices of mushroom-guru Paul Stamets.
You’ll need some combination of luck and persistence to find a place that has it in stock right now—but (imo) definitely worth the investment of time/energy! Second choice is from a newer company, that provides Agarikon with Turkey Tail and L-lysine in Vava Monad.
Helpful to know: It’s the Akarikon mycelium rather than the fruit-body that holds most of the antiviral potency. So look for a supplement that specifically lists the mycelium in its ingredients list.
For overall immune support, Host Defense My Community is also awesome.
Tea Tree Oil: Your Antimicrobial Cleaning Goddess
Did you know that, as an antimicrobial, tea tree oil is equally or even more potent than either bleach or vinegar? To clean surfaces in your house or car, simply mix a couple of cups of hot water with a half-cup of vinegar and 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. Voila!—an effective and non-toxic cleaner.
Tea tree oil is also excellent in bath soap: here’s the one that I use regularly.
Interesting tidbit: Tea tree oil is derived from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Australia. This tree is in the same botanical family as the one whose blossoms give us manuka honey—also renowned for its antimicrobial effects, particularly for the mouth and throat.
Resting In Our Indestructible Nature
As we do our best to protect and care for our bodies, let’s not forget to knowingly abide in and as our indestructible essence: the core of our being, the pure awareness within which flowers, trees and human bodies alike come and go, moment by moment.
This is the only “place” of ultimate safety, ultimate peace, ultimate joy—and what connects us all most deeply.