Posted By Miriam Campos Root
We are all making shifts in our daily lives during these uncertain times. Change can be a challenge for some and can cause anxiety and distress. Keeping healthy, now more than ever, should be one of our top priorities. Building stress resilience and a strong immune system can give you a better chance of withstanding the various environmental and emotional elements that you are exposed to. Quality nutrition and stress resilience go hand-in-hand because our brain (nervous system) is closely connected with our digestive system, with the gut playing an important role in mental health and behavior. When our behavior changes, our brain sends a message that changes the bacteria in our gut that can cause inflammation or distress and may often lead to depression, fatigue, confusion, and poor memory.
Eating primarily whole food plant-based meals offers the highest amount of nutrient dense food choices rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Choosing organic vegetables, and free range and grass-fed animal sources will reduce the work your body has to undergo in eliminating toxins and chemicals found in non-organic commercial and processed foods. Whole foods from our diet is the preferred way of receiving nutrients, but many times we need additional support with supplements. Choose fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C including berries, bell peppers, oranges, grapefruits, cantaloupe, pineapple, lemons, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, kale, chard, asparagus, celery, spinach, lettuce, and tomatoes. Vitamin D is also important for our immune system. So, either get outside in the sunshine or you can get vitamin D by eating dairy, eggs, or fish, or by supplement. Zinc is also essential for our immune system and can found in mushrooms, spinach, summer squash, asparagus, chard, collard greens, peas, and broccoli. Many herbs can help support our immune system including elderberry, astragalus, echinacea, goldenseal, and licorice. Other important antioxidants include selenium and lipoic acid which can be found in dark leafy green vegetables, broccoli, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, garlic, brown rice, oats, spinach, tuna, salmon, and eggs. Cinnamon is also beneficial to our immune system, and has high anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Remember, your gut needs healthy bacteria and adequate amounts of acid to be able to break down, absorb, and assimilate all the abundance of nutrients from the whole foods you just ate. So be sure to include fermented vegetables in your meals or prebiotic and probiotic supplements to support healthy gut flora.
In conjunction with strengthening your immune system, engage in various stress therapies to support your mental and digestive health. These simple stress therapies can be performed by yourself, doesn’t take a lot of time, are budget friendly, and provide immediate relief. Breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, mindful relaxation, journaling, daily positive affirmations, earthing, and forest bathing are all excellent ways to reduce your stress and promote relaxation. In addition to engaging in stress therapies, include physical exercise, call a family member or friend to stay connected, get enough quality sleep, and stay hydrated.
The one thing we do have control over in our lives is the power to make smart and healthy choices for ourselves and our families. By empowering yourself to take ownership of your own health, you are not only taking care of ‘you’, but also your family, and if we all followed the same lead, we can heal the entire world. Since time is more abundant now; devote it to your health! Become stronger, more resilient, and you will be better equipped to handle these stressful times and minimize your fears.
© 2018, Positively Whole