In the five months since the coronavirus emerged in the U.S., the response by government experts from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been nearly inept and completely incoherent.
Rather than focus on actual hospitalizations and accurate death rates—which is what really matters—they’ve chased ever-changing theories about risk factors, symptoms, and modes of contagion…basically pandering to the media and public fears.
The hysteria they created rather reminds me of Professor Henry Hill—the likeable con man played by Robert Preston in The Music Man—when he tried to whip River City, Iowa, into a frenzy about the dangers of playing pool. You may recall the memorable line from the song “Ya Got Trouble.” It went, “Trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for Pool.”
Yes, folks, we got trouble. But not just in River City.
So, today, as the coronavirus hysteria continues to grip the country, I thought I’d discuss some sensible ways in which you can support your overall wellness, starting today…
Five common-sense, science-backed approaches to good health
1.) Engage in sensible, moderate exercise. Dozens of studies over many decades demonstrate that engaging in regular exercise lowers your risk of developing cancer, dementia, heart disease, and mental illness.
But remember, moderation is the key, as we know too much exercise can damage your joints, heart, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, genito-urinary system, kidneys, mental health, and even your eyesight, as I explained on Tuesday.
So, don’t overdo it. Instead, just make sure to get 2.5 hours of light-to-moderate exercise each week. My favorite activities are the ones you can do outdoors in Nature—such as gardening, hiking, swimming, and walking.
Which brings me to my next point…
2.) Spend more time in Nature. Spending time in Nature—in green spaces (with plants) and blue spaces (with water)—is good for the body and for the spirit. In fact, studies show it improves cardiovascular health, allergies, respiratory health, mood, self-esteem, and your overall well-being.
Plus, you’ll get some healthy exposure to direct sunlight, which triggers your skin’s natural production of vitamin D. And a wealth of research shows that vitamin D plays a critical role in supporting your immune system—helping you to fight off any infection. Especially a respiratory infection, like the coronavirus.
3.) Safely resume your social life. For many months, people were forced to stay home and practice social isolation and distancing in an attempt to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. But, as I’ve reported, social isolation can be very hard on your brain.
In fact, researchers with the University of Pennsylvania, my alma mater, recently found that social isolation can actually cause profound structural changes, even shrinkage, to your brain after just a few months.
At the same time, you can still feel lonely and isolated even if you live in a big, crowded, urban area. In fact, as sociologist David Reisman (also at Penn) described in his seminal book The Lonely Crowd, crowded social conditions actually create or contribute to loneliness and isolation.
So, if you’re in an area where the caseload of coronavirus is low, I suggest finding ways to safely resume some social engagements. Whether that means enjoying an outdoor summer meal with friends or taking a walk at a safe social distance with a neighbor—science shows it will be good “brain-food.”
You can also begin to practice daily mindfulness meditation to counteract the effects of social isolation. Studies show it can actually increase the size of brain regions! Plus, short, daily mindfulness sessions can significantly help you deal with the stressors of daily life during the ongoing pandemic. For guidance, I recommend my book with Donald McCown, New World Mindfulness.
4.) Enjoy a healthy, balanced Mediterranean-type diet. As always, a healthy immune system is the best prevention against any type of virus. So, make sure to stick to your Mediterranean-type diet filled with plenty of:
- Full-fat dairy, including butter, eggs, cheeses, and yogurts
- Wild-caught fish and grass-fed and -finished, free-range meat, especially lamb, which has the best nutritional profile of any kind of meat
- Nuts and seeds
- Organic, fresh fruits and vegetables (don’t forget the olives and olive oil!)
- Alcohol, in moderation
Focus specifically on boosting your intake of fruits and vegetables—especially citrus fruits, mangos, berries, and chili peppers, which boost your vitamin C immunity.
This wholesome “prebiotic” diet also supports your microbiome, the environment in your GI tract where billions of healthy bacteria thrive. Experts now consider your microbiome “ground zero” for your health, your immune system, and your first-line of defense against germs.
In other words, ignore the popular, fad diets that forbid whole categories of healthy, wholesome foods—such as vegan diets. (Remember, a balanced diet with a variety of whole foods is the key to good nutrition and health.) And strive to completely cut out processed, hyperpalatable foods with added sugars and refined carbs—which impair immune function.
5.) Supplement wisely. In addition to adopting a healthy, balanced diet, supplementing wisely can help keep your immune system primed and ready to fight off any infection. So, I suggest making sure to supplement daily with:
- Vitamin B complex (with at least 55 mg of B6)
- 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily
- 400 mg of magnesium daily (but avoid magnesium glutamate, aspartate, and oxide)
- 100 mcg of selenium daily
In addition, echinacea, elderberry, and goldenseal are three effective herbs you can take at the very moment you feel like you’re coming down with any virus. I typically steep them all together as part of a hot infusion—along with honey, fresh lemon, and ginger. (But remember—don’t take the botanicals year-round, as they can keep your immune system in an unhealthy state of hyperstimulation.)
We will achieve a victory against coronavirus—eventually
I have no doubt the coronavirus will eventually fizzle out, as all respiratory viruses do. In the meantime, try your best to ignore the hysteria. And simply start taking some sensible steps to boost your immunity
You can learn more about my top immune health recommendations in my Pandemic Protection Playbook: How to become “immune ready” in every season. To gain access this essential guide, click here now!)
P.S. My daughter and her husband responded to the Corona-crisis by expanding their organic egg and produce business to include organic, homemade soaps. They also started a farm co-op on weekends to host other local sellers, where you can find homemade face masks, organic foods, baked goods, and arts and crafts. So, this weekend, if you’re in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area, or passing through, please consider stopping by. Details, directions, and updates are posted here: Cozzi Family Farm. Stay safe and be well.