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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mel Tavares

5 Protective Steps To Ward Off Viruses

Stop living in fear and be pro-active this cold and flu season! Not to minimize the epidemics that are hitting us locally and globally, but you need to shift your focus. Living in fear, eyes glued to the news feed is not being pro-active.

My stance is this. I am going to do all I can to be pro-active and build my immune system. If per chance I then end up ill, I will be much better positioned to recover than if I'd done nothing at all.

These 5 steps aren't rocket science. They are basic common sense. The problem is that although we know what we ought to do, we often do not do it. It's an age-old problem. Even Paul of the Bible struggled, writing in Romans 7:15 "For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate." We must discipline ourselves, particularly during virus outbreaks, including the Corona Virus.

1. Don't Eat Processed Foods.

Why? Because all of the toxic chemicals add zero nutrition to our health, but cause inflammation and poor gut health and knock down our immune system. I could (have) write books on all of the science behind the reasons why it is important, but the bottom line is most highly processed foods are loaded with artificial chemicals, including flavors, texture enhancers, colorants and preservatives.

2. Skip all sugars.

Why? There are so many reasons to skip using sugar, sugar substitutes, and to definitely skip anything that contains High Fructose Corn Syrup. It's empty calories, eating it causes an insatiable desire for more, and will lead to long-term diseases. The most prominent reason to me is that sugar messes with our metabolism, which we need stable to be in optimum health. Recent studies are showing high glucose levels in patients diagnosed with the flu.

3. Eat plants.

Why? When viruses are attracted to the body, they settle in acidic cells. Eating foods that create an alkaline environment will offer much higher protection against viruses. In short, processed foods create an acidic environment and plants create an alkaline environment. Eat plants. Salads, smoothies (no sugar!), ancient grains such as quinoa, nuts and seeds are all great options. Fruits high in vitamin C are also excellent go-to snacks.

4. Get Plenty of Sleep.

Why? Less sleep weakens the immune system. A lower immune system means the body is challenged to ward off viruses when attacked. Our body is made up of a vast network of cells and tissues that are constantly on the lookout for invaders, and once an enemy is spotted, a complex attack is mounted. Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on sleep. Strive for 7-9 hours a night, especially during the winter months.

5. Wash Your Hands with Real Soap.

The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because hand-washing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. If you don’t have access to water or soap and are in need of sanitizing or washing your hands, hand sanitizer is a great option. When possible, wash your hands with soap and water, rubbing for the recommended 20+ seconds. Pro Tip: Dry your hands with paper towels or air dry them naturally. Using electric dryers in rest rooms or multi-user hand towels only serves to spread germs you are trying to avoid.

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