Okay, so by now we know the drill: wash your hands often while singing “Happy Birthday” a couple of times, avoid touching your face, wipe down surfaces (try this), maintain 6 feet distance (yes, the virus can hang in the air), and be mindful of the potential for mail, packages and shoes to bring the virus into your home.  These are all great strategies for protecting yourself from the virus on the “Outside”.

But did you know that you can also protect yourself from the “Inside”?

Recent research is making the connection between the immune defenses in the gut and the health of lungs in certain cases of COVID-19. They found the severity of hypoxemia was strongly correlated to the expression levels of immune cells, and additionally that the proportion of probiotics inthe gut was significantly reduced. See article link below.

Yes, I am talking about the immune system, which has strong connections to your gut and what you put in it (as well as your stress level, which is often driven by thought, but that is a topic for another blog. In the meantime).  While, I am well aware of the slew of supplements reported to “boost” your immune system, it is the food you eat that has a huge impact on creating a balance and healthy variety of gut microbiome.  Here is what the MDs recommend to maintain a healthy gut:

1.      Keep it cleanWash your fruits and veggies before you eat them – especially with “Rona” on the run.  Eat your produce while it is fresh for the highest nutritional value.  To reduce likelihood of pesticides in your food, eat organic when you can (especially: spinach, green beans, green onions, apples, peaches, pears, and berries)

2.      Eat a Rainbow – Mix things up with a variety of plant-based foods, such as fruits and veggies, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.  Check out the produce section and look for different colors. For long-lasting storage option, frozen fruit and veggies hold a good amount of their nutritional value, as well as canned beans and fruit (organic and without additives). Check out these recipes for meatless protein.

3.      Not all fats are created equal – Avocados, nuts, lean fish, high-quality olive oil, flaxseed oil are examples of healthy fats.  Steer away from hydrogenated oils

4.      Not a Vegetarian? – eat lean meats or fish with relatively low fat content (no skin and trimmed of the fat).  You might be surprised to know that trimmed pork chops and lean beef are included here.  Ideally, your diet should be heavy on the plant-based, with small amounts of meat.

5.      Make your Own — Avoid processed foods, white flour, sugar and artificial sweeteners.  And, when you prepare your own meals, the sights and smells give your gut the signals it needs to get ready to take in the delish dish you are making. The Instant Pot can make it a bit easier.

6.      Take in Live Microbes — also known as probiotics and come in the form of natural yogurt (don’t forget to check the sugar content! like Siggi’s), kefir, Kombucha, and fermented veggies such as kimchi and sauerkraut.

And manage a healthy balance of work, rest and play (aka: exercise — try this or this for old-fashioned fun)

Well wishes to you and yours!

Click her for the technical reading