All we are hearing about is COVID-19…it’s going crazy right now, and officially a pandemic. We’re hearing a lot about how it’s spreading, what we should be worried about and how to stop the spread and protect ourselves, our family and our community…
Wash your hands, use sanitizer, don’t shake hands, don’t hug, don’t go to big public gatherings, reconsider travel plans…
Sage advice for sure…
But NOBODY is talking about the most important thing you can do, which is…drum roll…
To strengthen and fortify your immune system.
It is no shock to us that some people will get COVID-19, and some won’t. 100% of people would believe that the healthiest people are less likely to get it. We already see that those at risk are folks that have underlying health conditions.
I don’t want to get into the whole ‘but flu kills X more people per year anyway’ debate: but the same assumption exists there – the general public would have the same belief: healthier people are less likely to be impacted by flu than unhealthy people.
Yet the media, Government advice – nobody is talking about it.
People are stockpiling toilet paper. That’s weird. But as a culture, aside from vigorous hand washing and social restriction, we feel helpless. Like sitting ducks, hoping that we’re the lucky ones that the virus doesn’t hit.
This isn’t the case, and today I want to empower you.
There is SO Much We Can Do To Protect Ourselves from COVID-19
Today I want to give you my quick-start guide to boosting, strengthening and fortifying your immune system. It’s based on my deep-dive training I delivered to my Alkaline Base Camp members in our Immune Boosting Month of training (the Alkaline Base Camp is my monthly coaching membership group – it’s closed to new members right now, but you can join the waiting list here).
Today you’ll learn:
- The absolute basics you have to start today
- The most immune-boosting foods to add IN
- The most immune-supressing foods you have to CUT OUT
- FIVE of my fave immune-boosting recipes to start using today
- The Super-Immune SHOT that will knock the virus cold out (Tyson Fury style – elegant and powerful)
Let’s get started and get your body protected as much as possible!
[Note: obviously following the steps in this guide is not a guarantee in any way, shape or form. Please do still follow the suggestions on hygiene, follow your common sense, and make sure you follow your country’s protocol for what to do if you do feel sick. Listen to your body, listen to your doctor.]
COVID-19: Foods to Support Your Immune System and Protect Yourself the Best Way You Can
Your immune system is powerful. It’s intricate. It is so essential to so many functions in your body, and most importantly – what you eat, drink and how you live directly impacts how well it functions, and how well it protects you from foreign invaders – i.e. COVID-19.
When you are run down, have been eating a crappy diet, getting poor sleep, you’re stressed, eating too much fast food and sugar – you know you’re more likely to pick up a bug, cough, cold…the flu. And the same goes for COVID-19.
Coronavirus is a virus. It will attack your body and your immune system will try to defend it. If your immune system is compromised then you stand more chance of getting sick. If it’s strong, it will have a better chance of fighting it off. Simple, right?
So let’s start now with…
The Absolute Basics: Boosting Your Immune System to Protect Against Coronavirus
These are the steps I would make sure you have covered immediately, as the foundation. This goes for every flu season too, or if you just don’t want to catch every cold going around at your kid’s school and kindy.
Step One: Using Core Supplements: Vitamin C, Zinc, Curcumin, Vitamin D
These are the immune system basics and thankfully they can be largely procured quite affordably. Studies have proven all four of these to be effective in preventing, reducing the severity and reducing the length of colds & flu, because they directly support the immune system.
My recommendations are (both most affordable, yet still decent, and also if budget permits):
- Vitamin C: California Gold (affordable) | American Health Ester C (preferred)
- Zinc: Sogar Chelated Zinc | Thorne Resarch Zinc
- Curcumin: Now Foods Curcumin Phytosome | Thorne Research Meriva SF
- Vitamin D3: California Gold D3 | Nordic Naturals PrOmega D3 (also contains omega 3)
If you are finding adding these supplements to your regimen is too expensive, stock up on leafy greens, turmeric, and fatty fish.
Step Two: Proper Hydration
You cannot have a fully functioning, strong immune system if you are dehydrated. This is SO important in fortifying our immune system – but as ever with hydration, it’s simple, it’s easy, it’s cheap – so we don’t give it the importance it deserves.
You HAVE to be properly hydrated if you want to give your body the strength to help protect against coronavirus. Simple as that.
Two questions emerge…how much water is enough…and what ‘type’ of water/filter.?
First question: how much is enough? Let’s keep this really simple – for 90% of people, drinking between 2.5 – 4 liters (85fl oz – 135fl oz) is your goal. Aim for around 3 liters / 100 fl oz per day as a guide.
This may seem like a lot, to begin with, so build up. If you are drinking nothing but coffee and tea at the moment, don’t go from zero to 100fl oz in one day. Start by having 40 a day, then after a few days up to 80, then up to 100 and so on.
If you’re really dehydrated all the time now, you will need to pee a lot, but this will subside after a week, maybe less. You might also get MORE thirsty the more you drink – roll with it and keep drinking more!
…and what type of water?
Let’s keep this simple too. Here are some guidelines:
- Avoid Bottled Water: this goes for regular bottle AND ‘alkaline’ bottled water. No, it’s not alkaline-forming. So-called ‘alkaline’ bottled water simply has a pinch of magnesium added. It’s not a miracle, it does cost a fortune, it’s rubbish for the environment and is likely poorly filtered. Bottled water companies have less strict guidelines than tap water companies. Crazy.
Plus many bottles are not BPA-free, and even if they are – your water is still stored in plastic for months before you drink it, this is not good.
- Reverse Osmosis: very powerful filter. Removes absolutely everything. This is great because it removes fluoride as well as everything else. But it’s bad because it also removes all minerals and other natural compounds, leaving the water acid-forming, pro-inflammatory and causes oxidative stress (cell damage). Simple solution – add a remineralizing filter to your RO set up and the problem is solved.
- Alkaline water ionizers etc. are awesome, but expensive. If you’re going to get one, get a Chanson. But at this stage of the COVID-19 situation, the best thing you can do is…
- Simply focus on FILTRATION: you can start small – just a regular counter-top filter jug. Preferably one that is an ‘alkaline’ water jug. Again, not a miracle thing – but it will bump the pH up a little (ignore all other claims, this is all they can do). They remove chlorine, bacteria, some metals, and some pesticides. This is a GREAT start for under $60.
Something like this is totally fine:
Step Threes: Proper Sleep
Again, it’s free! So people ignore its importance. But sleep is ESSENTIAL to your immune system, so even if just during the COVID-19 high-risk time – focus on your sleep. I know it can be hard (have 3 kids, I get it, our youngest is 3 months old), but you’ve got to try. It’s too important not to.
A sleep-deprived immune system does not work well. In one study conducted in 2015, 164 men and women were assessed for their duration of sleep and susceptibility to the cold virus. Yep, strangely these 164 participants were happy to be given the cold! The results showed that not everyone got sick, but those who had less than 6-hour sleep a night were over 400% more likely to. The risk was even higher when a person slept less than five hours a night.
You need to get your sleep in order. Make it a priority. Put focus in this area. Take it seriously.
You need to try to do the basics here too: avoid caffeine after lunch, no screen time within 60 minutes of sleep, meditate (I love Headspace – they have amazing sleep meditations), and so on.
You know the drill – it’s one of those where you just need to do it!
The Most Immune-Boosting Foods to Focus On
There are MANY immune-boosting foods you can focus on, and all alkaline-forming foods (food chart of acid/alkaline foods here) are naturally immune-boosting. But these are my top five. It’s not that actionable to say ‘eat all healthy foods’. But if you focus on recipes that include these five, just focus on these, for now, you’re way more likely to do it 🙂
Food #1: Greens
Greens are the most potently nutrient-dense foods on Earth. Leafy greens make up the entire top 15 of the most nutrient-dense foods according to this study.
If you want to boost your immune system, add more greens. Leafy greens you can easily ramp up include spinach, lettuce, kale, Chinese greens…and other greens I recommend are broccoli and cabbage.
Broccoli for its sulforaphane content. Sulforaphane is quite amazing. It is so powerfully anti-viral, anti-inflammatory (and proven to help reduce aging and cellulite formation too, by the way). These recent studies (here and here) demonstrate sulforaphane’s capacity to reduce the effect of the influenza virus.
Cabbage stimulates the immune system, kills bacteria and viruses, inhibits the growth of cancerous cells, protects against tumors, helps control hormone levels and improves blood ﬂow. Like many leafy greens, it also gives a little hit of healthy fats and of course a good dose of chlorophyll.
Get leafy greens whenever you can. Add a side salad of greens to your normal meals, have a juice, a smoothie – just grab some whenever you can.
Remember: recipes below.
Food #2: Turmeric & Ginger
OK, this is TWO foods. I’m cheating! But they go hand in hand and are so powerfully anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and alkaline that they’re a massive boost. If you have these two every day, you’re winning.
The gingerols in ginger and curcumin in turmeric are probably two of the most anti-inflammatory compounds known to man. They also contain powerful antioxidants too and support the body’s stress response as a bonus (and in another topic, they are also cancer-protective, really they are miraculous).
There has been SO much research conducted into these two for their benefit, it’s hard to know where to start with it. They neutralize toxicity, protect from free-radical damage, fight viruses.
Again, as I keep saying – not a miracle cure that is a guarantee – but the research shows us it can help.
Food #3: Garlic
Garlic is a powerful immune-booster, largely because of the compound allicin. Garlic has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, it’s a powerful antibiotic and anti-viral (so great against coronavirus).
BUT, here’s the kicker – allicin is hugely present in RAW garlic, but disappears quickly once it’s exposed to air (and certainly once cooked). So you want to be aiming to get lots of RAW garlic to boost your immune system.
I love to chop or squeeze raw garlic into recipes, and it’s so powerful if you feel the onset of a cold or flu. You can shop it raw into salads and stir-frys, and you can blend it raw into the more savory green smoothies and soups.
It’s also delicious raw in pesto and other dips.
You can find lots of ways to get creative with it, and please do. I know it might seem like one of those suggestions where you think “yep, OK Ross, I get that one, sounds great, but I think I’ll skip it and do the others instead”…BUT DON’T – this one is too powerful to skip.
Food #4: Beetroot
Beetroot is fantastic for so many reasons, and it’s a brilliant immune-system-booster. Beetroot not only contains tons of vitamin c, manganese, and other common immune-boosting antioxidants, but it also contains betanin and vulgaxanthin which are proven to support the detoxification system too. The other huge benefit of beetroot juice contains a huge volume of nitrates, which the body easily converts into nitric oxide – a proven immune booster, that also supports circulation and protects cells from damage.
Nitric oxide was actually named ‘molecule of the year‘ in 1992 because of it’s importance to the immune system and it’s link to neuroscience, physiology too.
Food #5: Avocado
I suggest keeping up your intake of healthy fats (omega 3 and saturated fat from coconut) to support your overall health and immunity – generally, but aside from its healthy fat content, I want you to get LOTS of delicious avocado for your immune system.
Avocado contains the highest concentration of L-glutathione, known as the “master antioxidant”. Glutathione is essential because it enables all other antioxidants to function, protect cells against free radical damage and detoxifies the body of pollutants and other toxins.
Avocado also contains 18 of the 22 essential amino acids, which is another important factor in immune function. Have it raw, simply chopped in half with some lovely Himalayan salt, pepper, and olive oil on top. Use it in smoothies, soups, salads, wraps – get it in however you can.
Again, you don’t have to do all of this perfectly from day one. Just add some of these in as you can and commit to doing a little more each day.
The Most Immune-Suppressing Foods to Avoid
These two are the big boys. You need to try and limit these as much as possible. Of course, you can’t just say “THAT’S IT, NO MORE” and go cold-turkey, but you can look to the big handful of meals where you include these and look at ways to swap or reduce them there.
I call this the 20/80 – it’s the cornerstone of all of my training in the Alkaline Base Camp – the premise is that 80% of the outcome we desire will always come from just 20% (or less) of the actions we take.
So apply this to these two foods:
Food to Avoid #1: SUGAR
Sugar is the most acidic, pro-inflammatory, immune-suppressing, hormone-unbalancing substance on Earth. We are eating TONS of it. It’s literally killing us.
If you want to support your body to fight COVID-19 – quit the sugar as much as possible.
I don’t need to go too deep into the research and reasons right now (there is more on that here), you already know it’s shocking for your body, so today I’ll just remind you and give you a little tip.
I mentioned my 20/80 rule before – how 20% of the actions you take will lead to 80% of the result…well, with quitting sugar this is especially true.
If you make yourself a little food diary for the past 3 days, you will easily see how 80% or more of the sugar you’re consuming is coming from 20% of less of your meals. There is ALWAYS a tiny handful of foods that are massively over-supplying the sugar.
All you need to do is swap them. And they’re hardly ever foods you actually care that much about. It’ll be a sugary cereal, a Starbucks type coffee, a mediocre snack…jam, sauces, condiments.
The swaps can be so simple.
This is a short video which was part of one of my Alkaline Base Camp (ABC) trainings to my members late last year. Again, the ABC is currently closed, but I will open up a few spaces in the group in June – so if you want advance notice, click here.
Training: How to Remove Sugar From Your Diet
Sign up for early access to the Alkaline Base Camp (when it opens again in June). In the ABC you get my entire 14-Day Quit Sugar Success Program.
Food to Avoid #2: GLUTEN
Gluten-containing grains are the JOINT TOP WITH SUGAR most pro-inflammatory, acid-forming, immune-suppressing substance on Earth. Gluten also has the added whammy of directly leading to autoimmune (the breakdown of glutens two proteins, gliadin and glutenin in the small intestine leads to a third protein being produced, zonulin, which causes tears to appear in the small intestine (aka leaky gut) – which leads to food passing back into the bloodstream and there you have it – autoimmune).
These gluten-containing grains to avoid include:
And the easy swaps include:
- Coconut, almond, tiger nut (for flour etc)
- Sprouted grains – sprouted wheat etc. contains no gluten
And again it’s those 20/80 swaps. 80% of the gluten comes from just a couple of foods, which you can easily swap. Gluten-free cereals, pastas, bread are easy to get (sprouted bread is better than gluten-free processed bread).
You can use zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti…quinoa instead of barley, bulgur…
And oats are an easy choice at breakfast. They have the asterisk because people get confused over oats. Oats ARE naturally gluten-free, but they are often processed in facilities that also process wheat, etc. So if you are highly gluten-sensitive then get certified gluten-free oats. For everyone else, regular oats are gluten-free enough 🙂
Five Immune-Boosting RECIPES to Help Protect Against COVID-19
These are five of my absolute faves, and they will incorporate all of the foods we’ve talked about above. Note: you can get a TON more recipes like this in my book (that is super-helpful right now!) The Alkaline Reset Cleanse. Check that out if you want to get your body fully charged and ready to tackle ANYTHING (it specifically supports the immune system).
Here’s the recipes:
The Triple-A Juice
The Anti-Inflammation Smoothie
TWO Powerful Turmeric & Ginger Teas
Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup
Immune-Boosting Asparagus & Ginger Broth
Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Mint & Cilantro
Well look at that – it’s actually SIX recipes. Nothing wrong with a little over-delivering, hey?
Finally, The Immune Boosting SHOT that Packs More Immune-Boosting Support that a Tyson Fury Haymaker
This works a treat. If you ever feel a cold, flu or cough coming on – or if you just want to give your body massive COVID-19 support over the next little (hopefully) while, you can have one of these daily. If you come down with something I recommend 2-3 times daily (make one batch in the morning).
It’s as simple as:
– beetroot (feel free to inc. the green tops)
This combination is incredible. We’ve covered why they are so important above, and when you juice them you get a LOT of these nutrients, concentrated, and the effect is powerful.
In terms of a ratio, you can’t really go wrong, but I would juice at a ratio of:
1 beetroot (medium)
You can (and probably will need to, unless you’re hardcore) water it down a little, either with more beet, or you could use cucumber, or just water. But this shot will do wonders. I have had a hardcore ‘oh crap it’s coming’ type of flu totally disappear after having 3x shots of this in one day (alongside the suggestions above too). Again, not a guarantee, but why not give your body the tools it needs.
And that’s what it comes down to…
Your Body KNOWS What to Do, We Just Need to Give It the Tools It Needs to Thrive!
Your body is incredible. It knows how to protect you, and it will do everything it can with what it has got. Our ONLY job is to give our body the tools it needs. Mother Nature has given us these tools. Fresh, delicious, varied, colorful, beautiful foods. All we need to do is put these two together because I can tell you now, it’s powerful when we do.
Coronavirus, COVID-19, it’s scary, of course. We don’t know what will happen. Some models have it drifting off in a month or so, other models have 70-80% of the world’s population having it over the next 12 months…who knows.
But, you are not powerless. You can do something. On top of washing your hands, and practicing social guidelines to minimize contamination – you can strengthen your body. You can give your body the best possible tools to protect you.
It will help. It will make a difference. And it’s easy.
You don’t have to be perfect, but you can get started with something. And why not? It’s all delicious, after all.
Written by Ross Bridgeford, 12th March 2020 © Energise International Pty Ltd.