3 Tips for a Healthy Immune System – and What’s in my Covid Box
When you support a healthy immune system, your body can prevent and fight Covid easier.
Jessica here – I just got over Covid. It’s a beast. I was born with asthma and every cold seems to end up in my chest, so I was nervous about my body over-reacting and I wanted to make sure I did what I could.
I had a “Covid Box” filled with all the things I knew I’d need (list below), and turned out I was glad to have all of it.
When I got my positive test after a sore throat started the day before, I grabbed the Covid box, reminded my family that I’m the sick one so they should remember to be nice to me, and burrowed in to my yoga office for 10 days.
The next day I got a notification on my phone saying I’d been exposed – I didn’t even know I was being tracked! Whether you have an iPhone or Android, it’s in Settings right under Emergency SOS – its called Exposure Notifications. Mine was turned out so I was told exactly when I was exposed – on my red-eye home from Costa Rica. Kind of helpful, if you’re ok with being tracked…
Anyway, I figured it was probably when I woke up in a haze on the plane and pulled my mask off my nose.
I felt lucky that I didn’t get Covid until Paxlovid was available. After the five day course the symptoms came back but it felt like it gave my body a little extra time to gear up for the fight.
Even after the symptoms went away I felt super fatigued, but now a couple weeks later it’s gotten significantly better. Still – post-Covid fatigue is REAL.
Below are my three top recommendations for helping your body prevent Covid and fight it if necessary. A healthy immune system is of course the key.
* Always reach out to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements, and of course immediately upon getting a positive Covid test.
**If you’re pregnant, check with your doctor before changing your eating rhythms.
Healthy Immune System Tip #1:
Listen Inward Lovingly
Each day, turn inside and listen to your body the same way you’d pay attention to a child you love.
Call it meditation, conscious breathing, or turning nurting energy inward – whatever works for you.
When you check in with curiosity, you’ll receive valuable information about what your body is needing and wanting in that moment.
Ayurvedateaches us ways to translate the body’s language and respond accordingly using the five elements by recognizing their unique qualities.
But even with zero training you can sense into what’s going to support a healthy immune system. Tired? Hungry – or wait, is that thirst? Do I need to move energy through with some vigorous exercise? Is that seemingly unending desire for food really because my body is just wanting some healthy veggies and healthy fats, and hasn’t been getting truly satiated?
Plus, stress hormones make us more susceptible to viruses, and decrease our body’s ability to create antibiodies to fight them.
This is also really important in the weeks after you recover from Covid, as one theory of Long Covid is that we get back to the crazy pace of life too quickly before our bodies have time to fully heal.
Try it now: exhale nice and long, allow your energy to settle down through your pelvis, turn your attention inward lovingly and ask yourself: “What are you needing right now, love?”
It’s ok if you don’t sense anything – it might take time.
When you do – follow it. : )
Healthy Immune System Tip #2:
Allow Your Body to Both Feast and Fast
Another powerful way to create a healthy immune system is to have both feasting and fasting times each day. If your body isn’t busy breaking down food, it can be breaking down foreign and uneccessary cells, or “autophagy”.
A fast is considered to be at least 12 hours between meals, which you can easily do between dinner and breakfast.
It’s not recommended to make any majpor changes in your eating rhythms when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
It’s optimal to be done with dinner at least three hours before you go to bed.
But if you eat dinner late, you can still get a fast in. The word “breakfast” simply means breaking your fast, and can be taken at any time.
Fasting isn’t just about getting rid of extra fat (although it does help that too, especially when combined with low carb eating) – it’s about giving your body the time it needs to clear out viruses, inflammation, even white plaque on the brain according to Alzheimer’s research.
In one study, women who fasted for less than 13 hours per night had a 36% increased risk of breast cancer recurrence compared to those who just fasted one hour more than 12 hours. After 12, your body goes in to what’s called “autophagy” – literally, eating itself – that is foreign entities, mucous, fat and other unecessary cells.
Make sure your “feasting” times help prepare you physically and emotionally for your fast. Sugar will cause cravings and make fasting harder. Have lots of vegetables, healthy fats like avocado, and protein that will satiate you on the deepest levels.
Healthy Immune System Tip #3
Focus on the Best - Be Prepared for the Worst
Of course it’s important to focus on health and ease. But it’s also essential to have support in place in case you do get sick. Take some time to label your own “Covid box” and fill with items that will help you should you ever need them.
Below is what seemed effective to me – obviously, do your own research, listen to your own body, and check with your healthcare team.
Click the green links for more info, including how-to’s and studies showing Covid benefits:
GENERAL HEALTHY IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT FOR PREVENTION:
Neti pot– Keep your nasal passages clear – mucous can be a breeding ground for germs
SUPPLEMENTS & MEDICINE THAT HELPED ME FIGHT COVID:
Zinc chewable tablets or pills
Half melatonin each night (liquid is good because it crosses blood brain barrier) – there is some NIH research that melatonin can be part of a supplemental treatment
Extra strength Tylenol – control your fever as it can cause problems. Every 6 hours.
Niacin/pantothenic acid – reduces inflammation, possibly helps prevent long Covid
Sugar-free menthol cough drops for dry cough, and also to mask the terrible taste you get from Paxlovid. Try not to take cough medicine that makes you drowsy – you need to be alert to what your body is telling you.
Paxlovid – anti-viral – talk to your doctor. It gives you a TERRIBLE taste in your mouth so suck on those cough drops. Prepare to get symptoms again once the 5 days are up, but if you take it early it really reduces the symptoms, and gives your body time to figure out how to fight. According to the Biden administration, this is now free and available at your local pharmacy without a prescription.
FOR CLEARING MUCOUS:
Your body surrounds germs in the body with mucous and then sometimes it gets stuck. We sneeze, we cough, all to get rid of it, but it’s great to give the body a little assist.
Every hour on the hour, move and breathe deeply.
Purposely cough to clear the phlegm from your lungs.
Keep lungs expanding. Do a sun salute or cat/cow.
Neti pot twice daily – some recommend adding alkolol, a mixture of essential oils
Drink spicy tea – hot water with black pepper, ginger, and/or cayenne
IF YOU HAVE ASTHMA, ASK YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT:
Checking your own oxygen with pulse oximeter (BA-5 replicates in the throat and doesn’t seem to go into the lungs as easily as previous variants, according to a Professor of Immunology at Georgetown).
EAT HEALTHY & LIGHT:
Choose easy-to-digest foods like soups and sauted veggies
Eat super healthy so you don’t have to eat that often, and your body can focus on getting healthy (starve a cold, feed a fever has some truth to it). My preference was OMAD – one meal a day – organic free range chicken broth, Lawrys spice, cayenne, spinach, chicken and veggies.
Drink ginger turmeric tea when you’re dry. Minimize honey as sugar has been shown to suppress the immune system.
Covid definitely makes your brain fuzzy at a time when you really need to follow what’s happening and when, so I kept a spreadsheet to track both what you do to support your healthy immune system as well as your symptoms, morning and night. I referred to it often whenever I had to talk to a doctor.
Did I forget anything? I’d love to hear what worked for you – please email me at Jessica@MaYoga.com.
What can you do right now to help create a healthy immune system for yourself?
Reset your stress hormones.
We can’t live a stress-free life, but we can have some time every day when the body experiences getting back to its calm, steady center.
In a Ma Yoga class you’ll move prana (“life force energy”) in optimal directions, settling your lower body and expanding your upper body.
Wherever you’re at – pregnant, a busy mom, or anyone wanting to find your “Inner Ma”, you’ll find a class dedicated to helping you strengthen your muscles, relieve aches and pains, and support a healthy immune system.
Jessica Jennings, MS, ERYT, RPYT, founded Ma Yoga® for Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond in 2009 and loves that it's now a growing, global community of yoga teachers, birth practitioners, and busy nurturers of people and projects. A Certified Anusara Yoga Instructor, Certified Feminine Power Transformational Group Facilitator and Alignment Therapist for more than 20 years, she's passionate about providing wellness practices for moms and moms-to-be through online yoga classes, and teacher training to the people on the ground supporting them.
https://youtu.be/FSouFMCz7Io Christina is a prenatal and children’s yoga teacher and is currently studying to become a yoga therapist and integrative wellness counselor. She works with clients of all backgrounds, but
https://youtu.be/to0ASeo_XG0 My name is Jamie Russo. I was born and raised in southern California. I love the sunshine, mountains, ocean, and everything in between. I have worked in elementary education