Hi! I’m Holly Bowen, a Holistic Nutritionist, currently pursuing my Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Certification. As someone with an autoimmune disease (I have Multiple Sclerosis), I know how important it is to take care of our bodies by eating right, reducing our toxic load and prioritizing stress management all while going above and beyond to not get sick, because the truth is, when we don’t take these things seriously, our body becomes more vulnerable to an attack on our immune system.
So, with the recent spread of COVID-19, I’ve been making sure not to skip on taking care of myself, ensuring that I do my best to keep myself healthy during this worldwide pandemic. Knowing that Inner Beauty goes above and beyond to put health first, I was so honored when they asked to me to share about the measures I have been taking to give me the best chance at avoiding the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
- Eat Whole, Nutrient-Dense Foods When Possible: This is my number one piece of advice. Nutrient dense foods in their whole form, like produce (I’ve been doubling up on my greens and orange/red/yellow foods for vitamin C) and high quality, minimally processed animal products are full of nutrients that support our immune system. Try to avoid packaged, processed foods as much as you can. Most of the time, these foods have very little nutrition to offer us, while containing inflammatory ingredients that can actually weaken our immune system.
- Avoid Processed Sugars: Not only is processed sugar a huge contributor to inflammation, but it also puts added stress on the body, which as previously mentioned, does not do our immune system any favors and should be avoided as much as possible, especially in times like these.
- Consume Healthy Fats Daily: Our body needs fat in order to absorb and properly digest foods. For example, our body needs healthy fats in order to absorb vitamins A,D,E and K, which are vitamins that are responsible for keeping us healthy! My favorite healthy fat options are avocados, whole eggs (we NEED those yolks!), virgin coconut oil, chia seeds, and high quality butter from pasture-raised cows.
- Reduce Our Toxic Exposure: Studies show that hormone disrupting chemicals—AKA endocrine disruptors—can weaken our immune system. So although avoiding these chemicals is always important, it’s even more important in times like these to find safer alternatives for things like household cleaning chemicals and personal care products. This is why I LOVE Inner Beauty Cosmetics so much; it’s a brand that I can feel good about putting on my skin everyday while also performing extremely well and making me feel my best!
- Prioritize Stress Management: While we often can’t eliminate stressful situations, it’s important to have strong stress management techniques that work for you. Being in a chronically stressed state wreaks havoc on our immune system, so having go-to management techniques are so important when it comes to staying healthy. Some of my favorite ways to do this are going for walks outside (at a safe 6’ distance from others!), meditation, yoga, having a morning gratitude journal and even just slowing down to take a few really deep breaths.
- Make Sleeping Your New BFF: 7-9 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep is always important, but even more so right now as it helps promote your body’s immune function.
- Get Outside: While this also helps with stress management, Vitamin D plays a big role in supporting our immune system and absorbing it from the sun is the ideal way to get it!
Support Your Gut: Studies have found that the majority of our immune system is in our gut, so taking care of it is of the most importance! Gut healthy foods include:
- probiotic rich foods (raw dairy, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi)
- prebiotics (bananas, onion and garlic)
- bone broth and collagen peptides
- grass fed meats
- grass fed organ meats like liver (the O.G. Superfood)
- while we all have bio-individual needs when it comes to supplementation, a high-quality probiotic can provide a lot of benefits to most of us (just be sure to run it by your medical provider).
- Understand That This Is Out of Our Control: Stressing about something we have no control over does us no good. I get it: Being confined to our homes is hard, canceling plans that we were looking forward to is really disappointing, and for some of us, we’re out of work for the time being. However, try to look at the silver lining in all of this. A lot of us have some extra time on our hands; use it to your advantage! For example, make a morning routine that sticks, learn to cook a few new healthy dishes to begin making on a regular basis, or frame this as a time to just slow down and spend quality time with your family or significant other.
Holly Bowen, Holistic Nutritionist
March 30, 2020
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