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Good practices to strengthen your lungs and immune system to prepare for covid19 / corona virus

As cities around the world begin to brace themselves for the uncertain months ahead due to the coronavirus (covid 19) we have been asking ourselves what can we do above and beyond the recommended hand washing and social distancing.

DISCLAIMER: We are not doctors and by writing this article, do not claim to inform you better than a healthcare official. Rather, we aim to remind you of some good practices and tips for strengthening your lungs and immune system.

As cities around the world begin to brace themselves for the uncertain months ahead due to the coronavirus (covid 19) we have been asking ourselves what can we do above and beyond the recommended hand washing and social distancing.

What can we do now additionally to government recommended practices to better prepare for the possible infection of COVID-19?

  1. Breathing exercises
  2. Strengthen your immune system 
  3. Self-care

BREATHING EXERCISES 

  • this is a respiratory disease – the best thing we can do is strengthen our lungs by spending 10-minutes a day doing some breathing exercises. Which not only improves the quality of your lungs but also de-stresses you and increases oxygen in your body.
  • a previous sufferer of pneumonia, pleurisy infection and yearly bronchitis (in my early 20’s) the one treatment that was always prescribed was breathing exercises and lung percussion as a way to increase lung capacity, strength and recovery.

 

    1. DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING / BELLY BREATHING
  • is an easy and effective exercise. You can practice this technique sitting upright or lying down.
  1. Close your eyes and place one hand on your belly, just under your ribs (This is your diaphragm) and the other hand you can place over your heart.
  2. Breath in deeply through your nose, focussing on pushing the air into your belly (your belly should expand and not your rib cage).
  3. Hold the breath for 2 seconds and release, slowly through pursed lips.
  4. Repeat 3-10 times
breathing exercise

This technique strengthens your diaphragm which is an important muscle that helps you breathe. (This is the most common breathing technique practised in yoga).

This breathing technique is calming, encourages deeper inhalation, stretches the lungs and is very effective in aerating all parts of the lungs.

 

ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING (NADI SHODHANA PRANAYAMA)

This technique should be practised sitting upright or standing up straight.

A great tool for easing stress, improving cardiovascular function, improving lung function and respiratory endurance, lowering your heart rate and promoting general well being.

  1. First start by taking a few deep belly breaths through your nose to regulate your breathing. 3-5 breaths
  2. Place the thumb and ring finger of your right hand on either side of your nostrils. (thumb on right nostril and ring finger on left nostril). Your index finger will be lightly touching your forehead just above your nose, known as your glabella / ajna chakra.
  3. Gently close your right nostril by pressing down with your thumb.
  4. Then, breathe in deeply through your left nostril.
  5. Seal the left nostril with your ring finger. Pause.
  6. Remove your thumb and exhale through the right nostril and immediately inhale through your right nostril.
  7. Seal the right nostril and exhale through the left. You will then inhale on the left before moving to the right side again.
  8. Repeat the cycle five to 10 times.

Stronger lungs means we will more effectively be able to cope with the direct attack of this pesky virus on our respiratory system.

To combat this virus we rely heavily on the strength of our immune system to do so. (There is currently no cure or vaccine available.)

FOODS TO BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

PHYTOCANNABINOIDS

Cannabis sativa has been consumed for health and  nutritional resons for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations from Chinese to the Greeks included this plant species in their pharmacopoeia. Recenet stduies suggest that THC and CBD are immuno-suppressants which explains the the relief experienced by users of medicinal cannabis with automimmune diseases and chronic inflammation. A study done in 2014, shows that regular cananbis use can increase white blood cell counts – which suggest an immune boosting effect. These effects are mediated by our naturally occuring endo-cannabinoid system present in all mammalian species. The main function of the endo-cannabinoid system (ECS) is to maintain homeostasis – complete biological balance.  

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PLANT-BASED DIET

Eating a low-fat, plant-based diet may help give the immune system a boost. Our immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies to fight-off bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Studies confirm that people following a plant-based diet have a higher white blood cell count compared to those on an animal and plant based diet.

Fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients that is needed to maintain and boost our immune system like beta-carotene, Vitamin-C & E

Beta-Carotene: a powerful antioxidant which reduces inflammation and boosts immune function in the body. ( Carrots, leafy/cruciferous green vegetables, sweet potatoes).

Vitamins C and E: antioxidants that strengthen the body’s natural immune response. (Vitamin C – Broccoli, kale, red peppers very high in Vitamin C, oranges, strawberries, lemons).

(Vitamin E – nuts and seeds, spinach, and broccoli).

Zinc: to boost white blood cells. (Nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, chick-peas, tofu and lentils).

Garlic – stimulates white blood cells, anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory and help fight off infection (always fresh if posisble).

Ginger & turmeric: Anti-microbial properties and powerful anti-oxidants

Chillies – Vitamin C (for improved immune fucntion), B6

Green tea – Polyphenols which are potent anti-oxidants and catechins for immune boosting

SELF CARE

Make sure to use this time of self-isolation to get enough rest, do some light exercise and yoga. Take a walk in the fresh air and sunshine, this is how our bodies generate Vitamin D – when our skin is exposed to sunlight, Vitamin D also plays an important role in our immune system.

Stress less – stress leads to a weakened immune system – so be kind to yourself.

Watch a movie, read a book or take a long relaxing bath. Its often the small things that have a huge impact

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We wish you and your families good health and strength in this trying time.

DISCLAIMER: We are not doctors and by writing this article, do not claim to inform you better than a healthcare official. Rather, we aim to remind you of some good practices and tips for strengthening your lungs and immune system.

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