Published on May 31st, 2020 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Seven Strategies for Coping with COVID-19
Much of the news surrounding COVID-19 can make us feel powerless against the virus, but the fact is that we can make certain lifestyle changes that help us take back control of our health. These seven strategies can help empower our immune system, enabling it to ward off or fight back against disease so that even if we do contract COVID, the chances are it will not be a severe case and we can recover.
Anti-inflammatory diet: An anti-inflammatory diet is an important component in achieving and maintaining a strong immune system and healthy gut microbiome. While there’s no one diet that’s right for every person, the Mediterranean diet is a good place to start, and can be used as a basis for establishing healthy eating patterns. It has many of the elements that help fight inflammation: it’s plant-based, high in fiber and includes healthy fats like olive oil, fruits, legumes, vegetables and fish. Cutting out processed foods and added sugars also goes a long way toward reducing chronic inflammation.
Moderate exercise: Exercise boosts nitric oxide levels, which improve blood fl ow and brain function and lower blood pressure. To put the importance of good nitric oxide levels in perspective, less than optimal levels are associated with diabetes and heart disease. However, during the pandemic, moderate exercise is preferable to intense exercise, because intense exercise causes cortisol and endorphins to surge, which stimulate the immune system. An overactive immune system can create a cytokine storm, which is thought to be at the root of COVID-19 deaths. In fact, many of the medications that are being considered work to calm the cytokine storm. Keeping the immune system calm, but strong is
Sleep: Getting seven to none hours of sleep regularly helps the body defend itself against infection through increased immune system functionality. Good sleep boosts T-cells (specialized immune system cells), which essentially attach to and attack harmful foreign bodies in the system. Sleep has been shown to enhance T-cell response efficiency.
Stress management: Stress creates cortisol, which becomes a problem when stress goes on for extended periods of time. Chronic stress creates inflammation and lowers our white blood cell count, both of which reduce the immune system’s ability to fight off infection and makes us more prone to viruses.
Sunshine: Getting outside into the fresh air and sunshine is vital for a healthy immune system—not only does the sun drench us with all-important vitamin D, it also activates key immune cells. Sunlight also increases the production of serotonin in the brain, which helps lower stress and anxiety.
Laughter: Laughter has a positive effect on the immune system; it increases antibody production and activates protective
cells, including T cells, proving the old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” By decreasing stress hormones and increasing
immune cells, as well as infection-fighting antibodies, the body becomes more resistant to viruses and diseases in general. In
addition, laughter triggers the release of endorphins that make us feel good and has been known to temporarily relieve pain.
Get a pet: There’s been a surge of pet adoptions during this pandemic, and that’s a good thing for both these lucky animals
and their new owners. Studies have shown that pet ownership can lower blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol, alleviate
loneliness and encourage exercise, not to mention bring laughter and happiness into the home, which lowers stress levels.
Dr. Doug Pucci is an expert in functional medicine and was recently awarded for his work by the 2020 Best of Awards for Oradell. In practice for 30-plus years, he provides advanced biomarker testing for brain/body health. For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com.