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How To Stay Safe And Build Immunity Amidst Coronavirus Threat

A professional nutritionist's top tips on how to keep your body strong in a time of virus outbreak

I’ve never regretted living in Central Makati more than now, being surrounded by POGO employees, fresh from Chinese New Year in the Mainland. The moment I step out of my apartment around Greenbelt, I’m immediately surrounded by masked men, I think to myself, 'so this is what everyday life looks like in Beijing' (a place where air pollution is so toxic everyone wears a mask as protection).


I also took note that most of the ones in proper protective face shields are Chinese nationals, which I think is very responsible of them. As I made my way to the park for my usual doggie-walk duties, I started noticing that a lot of Expats are also wearing N95 guards; suddenly everyone looks like Batman!


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What a lot of us don’t realize is that the Coronavirus from Wuhan, China can be prevented with rigorous hygiene, strict contact avoidance and consistent environmental sanitation. Surprisingly, masks though helpful, are not guaranteed compared to OC-level cleanliness. Not unlike every viral infection, the next best defense during a contagion is still to build the body’s offense: Strengthening your immune system.



Hydrate.

Two to three litters of infused water (lemon, calamansi, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, tarragon etc.) to add more minerals and better alkalinize depleted city water will ensure that you’re constantly eliminating toxins and other bacteria that may cause illness.


Get eight hours of sleep every night.

Nothing recharges and regenerates your army of white blood cells than a good night’s sleep. The moment you start feeling under the weather, cancel all after dinner plans, turn off all your gadgets and get yourself a full uninterrupted eight hours of rest!


Get your share of ZZZs every night! Get your share of ZZZs every night!


Add probiotics.

As I am writing this, I’m snacking on pickled onions on gluten-free bread, with fermented tomatoes. Our gut houses about 70 percent of the cells that makes up our immune system so be sure to take your probiotic supplements and add a small plate of cultured vegetables as appetizer to every meal such as kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled cucumber, or even sugar-free atchara. You can also drink live Kombucha and Kefir or mix Apple Cider Vinegar (with the Mother) on your water. 


Drink kombucha! Drink kombucha!


Skip dessert.

Your sweet tooth is making you sick. Yes, and were not just talking weight gain and dental cavities. Processed sugar literally depresses the immune system. About 20 teaspoons of refined sugar leads to a fifty-percent drop in the ability of our white blood cells to engulf bacteria. That’s you slashing your chances of warding-off viruses in half just by indulging on milk tea. Read that again. 


About time we cut down our sugar intake. About time we cut down our sugar intake.


Supplement on antioxidants.

Whether you’re downing 1000mg of non-acidic vitamin C, taking Acai supplements, Camu-Camu superfood powder, or even munching on fresh organic blueberries and strawberries, upping your antioxidant intake is one of the best natural food support you can tap into to ward off the flu!



Lay off alcohol.

So remember when we said sugar depletes 50% of your immunity? Think that plus killing-off good gut bacteria and causing inflammation and jeopardizing your sleep. Yep, that’s what booze does. Don’t even get us started on cigarettes. Let’s just say if you’re drinking and smoking, you’re ripe for Coronavirus taking. 


Less meat, more veg.

Animal foods are acid-forming so it’s best to limit servings sparingly when you want your immunity strong. Fiber in vegetables feeds good bacteria which breeds the body’s immune defense. Whole, plant-based foods being alkaline-rich reduces inflammation so that disease cannot fester in the body, while the natural sugar in fruits and complex grains curbs any cravings for dessert that can derail your the immune system. 


P.S. Processed vegan options that contain hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, GMOs, and chemicals are not considered Plant-based whole foods.


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Sweat it out.

Working out flushes bacteria out our airways. This significantly reduces our chances of catching the cold, flu and yes, viral infections. Exercise improves circulation which allows antibodies to detect disease faster. The abrupt rise in the body’s temperature after a physical activity also prevents bacterial growth.


Take a chill pill.

Stress compromises our immune system, making us more susceptible to pathogens. The stress hormone cortisol suppresses antibodies, increases inflammation and spikes acidity. This is why panic and hysteria can very well cause you to get sick more than actual physiological factors. 



Weizel Gulfan is a Lifestyle Nutritionist who is accredited in Plant-based, Macrobiotics and Raw culinary nutrition from different international institutions. Follow her everyday wellness advise and recipes on Instagram @weizelgulfan 

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Lead photo via China Reuters