Top three immunity-boosting takeaways from my latest webinar
I always love the opportunity to share my knowledge with people who are hungry (no pun intended) for information…and in these coronavirus times, webinars and Zoom calls are the new seminars!
Last week, I had the unique opportunity to ‘meet’ (via Zoom!) thirty incredible women who work as flight attendants for a private aviation company. With the physical demands of their job, as well as the unusual schedules they often keep, staying healthy and energized, and keeping their immune systems humming, are top priorities always. Even more so now during the coronavirus pandemic and as they prepare to go back to work sometime soon!
We covered a lot of territory in the 60+ minute virtual hang out. They had so many great questions about so many important topics. In the end, it all boiled down to how they can continue to feel and look their best and inspire their clients to do the same. I thought I’d share the top three takeaways for staying strong and healthy during the coronavirus pandemic (and beyond) as they apply to us all.
Eliminate the 'bad guys (or girls!)' from your diet.
While I am a big proponent of many things in moderation, these are the three foods that I generally suggest trying to avoid to keep you feeling your best:
With no nutritional value, sugar in excess can have many negative effects on your body. Relying too heavily on foods and beverages with added sugar (think cookies, candy, processed foods, and soft drinks) can lead to weight gain, fatigue, blood sugar issues, and an increased risk of heart disease.
What should you eat instead? Plant-based foods containing natural sugars are better for you, since they also contain high amounts of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants. When it comes to sugar substitutes, opt for natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, stevia, maple syrup, honey, or monk fruit.
Milk and dairy products (I'm looking at you, cheese, heavy cream, butter) are the top sources of saturated fat in the American diet. Dairy products can also be difficult to digest—it is estimated that 70%+ of the world’s population is lactose intolerant.
What should you eat instead? Lucky for us, there are so many wonderful dairy-free products on the market. Walk into your neighborhood grocery store, and you’re likely to find several kinds of plant-based alternatives for milk, yogurt, and cheese made from food sources like coconut, oats, almonds, or cashews.
A protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley, and rye, gluten is another common source of inflammation and gastrointestinal issues, including bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
What should you eat instead? More good news! With the heightened awareness about gluten intolerance and sensitivity has come the easy availability of some amazing options. Quinoa, brown rice and sweet potatoes are all satisfying carbs that are gluten-free. There are also a variety of pasta alternatives, made from food sources like lentils, mung beans, and even cauliflower!
Introduce the 'good guys and girls' to your diet.
Eliminating the bad stuff is only the first step…next you need to fortify yourself with the good stuff! Did you know some of the most powerful immunity-boosting superheroes can be found right in your grocer’s produce aisle?
- Foods that fight bacteria, germs, and viruses naturally, including garlic, ginger, dark leafy greens like kale and spinach, and Vitamin C-loaded citrus, red bell peppers, strawberries, and goji berries.
- Sources of zinc, which helps to maintain your body's immune system, including walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, seafood, and even dark chocolate!
- Natural detoxifiers, including lemons, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and leafy greens.
- Antioxidant-rich foods, including mushrooms and all types of berries.
- Healthy Omega-3 & -6 fatty acids, like salmon, flax seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds.
- Foods containing Vitamin E, which boosts the immune system's ability to fight off invading bacteria and viruses, like almonds, beets, asparagus, and avocados.
Go from deficiency to sufficiency.
I am not a huge advocate for too many supplements or multi-vitamins. I prefer that my clients get the ‘medicine’ their bodies need from the foods they eat as much as they can.
However, there are certain nutrients most people are depleted from nowadays that cannot be sourced from food alone. And as more and more research is being done on how the coronavirus affects us all, we know that low levels of the following four key nutrients can be correlated to a higher risk of getting COVID-19. These are my recommendations (for pre-exposure to the virus):
- Vitamin D. The suggested dose can go from 500 to 20K IU daily so it’s important to have your levels checked before you go for higher than 2K IU. Too much of this vitamin can be toxic!
- Melatonin. My clients often turn to this supplement when they are having trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Now we know that melatonin also offers immunity-boosting benefits. My favorite brand is Herbatonin. I usually recommend that clients start out with 0.3 mg per day or as needed, with a higher dosage (3+ mg) for specific cases.
- Selenium. I usually recommend 100 mcg per day of this powerful antioxidant.
- Zinc. To reduce inflammation and boost the immune system, I recommend clients take 15 mg per day of Zinc.
I hope this info has been helpful! Stay healthy, strong, and positive. I'll do the same.
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