Posted in health and wellness, loreeebee.ca

Uvlizer Destroys Invisible Pathogens

I’m sure you’ve heard that UV light destroys those invisible pathogens that the COVID virus is spreading around. While sunlight is the best source of UVB rays and a great (and free) way to keep your immune system healthy, UVC is the most effective at cleansing.

What is Ultraviolet (UV) Light?

In a medical dictionary, ultraviolet light is defined as:

denoting electromagnetic radiation of wavelength shorter than that of the violet 

end of the spectrum, having wavelengths of 4–400 nanometers.

ultraviolet A (UVA): ultraviolet radiation with wavelengths between 320 and 400 nm, 

comprising over 99 per cent of such radiation that reaches the surface of the earth. 

Ultraviolet A enhances the harmful effects of ultraviolet B radiation and is also 

responsible for some photosensitivity reactions; it is used therapeutically in the 

treatment of a variety of skin disorders.

ultraviolet B (UVB): ultraviolet radiation with wavelengths between 290 and 320 nm, 

comprising less than 1 per cent of the ultraviolet radiation that reaches the earth’s surface.

Ultraviolet B causes sunburn and a number of damaging photochemical changes within 

cells, including damage to DNA, leading to premature aging of the skin, premalignant and

malignant changes, and a variety of photosensitivity reactions; it is also used 

therapeutically for treatment of skin disorders.

ultraviolet C (UVC): ultraviolet radiation with wavelengths between 200 and 290 nm; all 

of this type of radiation is filtered out by the ozone layer so that none reaches the earth’s 

surface. Ultraviolet C is germicidal and is also used in ultraviolet phototherapy.

ultraviolet rays: electromagnetic radiation beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum;

they are not visible to humans. They are produced by the sun but are absorbed to a large 

extent by particles of dust and smoke in the earth’s atmosphere. They are also produced 

by so called sun lamps. They can produce sunburn and affect skin pigmentation, 

causing tanning. When they strike the skin surface they transform provitamin D, secreted by

the glands of the skin, into vitamin D, which is then absorbed into the body. Because 

ultraviolet rays are capable of killing bacteria and other microorganisms, they are 

sometimes used to sterilize objects in specially designed cabinets, or to sterilize the air in 

operating rooms and other areas where destruction of bacteria is necessary.

photo credit

What is Ozone?

Wikipedia offers the following information about ozone:

Ozone or trioxygen, is an inorganic molecule with the chemical formula O3. It is a pale blue gas with a distinctively pungent smell. It is an allotrope of oxygen that is much less stable than the diatomic allotrope O2, breaking down in the lower atmosphere to O2 (dioxygen). Ozone is formed from dioxygen by the action of ultraviolet (UV) light and electrical discharges within the earth’s atmosphere. It is present in very low concentrations throughout the latter, with its highest concentration high in the ozone layer of the stratosphere, which absorbs most of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Ozone is a powerful oxidant (far more so than dioxygen) and has many industrial and consumer applications related to oxidation. This same high oxidizing potential, however, causes ozone to damage mucous and respiratory tissues in animals, and also tissues in plants, above concentrations of about 0.1 ppm. While this makes ozone a potent respiratory hazard and pollutant near ground level, a higher concentration in the ozone layer (from two to eight ppm) is beneficial, preventing damaging UV light from reaching the earth’s surface.

wikipedia

What is a Uvlizer?

The uvlizer was created based on the germicidal effects of UVC used in healthcare combined with the oxidizing powers of ozone. Germicidal UVC light produces ozone during the cleansing process which also disinfects the areas where ultraviolet light cannot reach. The Uvlizer is natural and safe, leaving no chemical smells or residue on the surfaces in your home when used properly. It does leave a faint chlorine-like smell in the air, but that dissipates quickly, well within the 40 minutes indicated in the instructions.

The Uvlizer is very portable and easy to use; you simply turn it on and leave the room. After the required wait time for the smell to disappear, move it to another room and repeat the process. As indicated, you must leave the room and remove plants from the room while the uvilizer is working as the ozone is toxic to humans and plants. When turned on, a timer counts off 30 seconds to permit you time to leave the room. There is also a remote for this purpose. The unit shuts itself off after the time limit you set based on the size of the room.

Where can I get a Uvlizer?

Currently you can purchase a Uvlizer online for $80USD or $102CDN with free delivery worldwide! Shipping from Wyoming in the USA, delivery takes 6 to 10 days within the USA or Canada and longer elsewhere.

Protect yourself and your family; get your home sanitized from Covid and other bacteria, viruses and pathogens you are not even aware of. Reviews are all very positive for sanitizing homes (including pet odours), offices, businesses, hotel rooms, and even the masks we have been wearing.

Posted in health and wellness, loreeebee.ca

Sitting is the new Smoking

Have you heard? Sitting is the new smoking, in terms of what is bad for us that is. What is really ironic is that this advice comes to us in the midst of a pandemic lockdown where we have been told to sit on our couch and stay at home.

We (should) all know why smoking is bad for us by now, that is nothing new. Although many people continue to smoke, research has been telling us for years of the damages smoking causes to our bodies.

Why is Sitting Bad for us?

Harvard Medical School reports that sitting is unhealthy for the following reasons:

it relaxes your largest muscles. Even if you’re reasonably active, hours of sitting—whether reading a book, working on the computer, or watching TV—tighten the hip flexor and hamstring muscles and stiffen the joints themselves. Overly tight hip flexors and hamstrings affect gait and balance, making activities like walking harder and perhaps even setting you up for a fall. Plus, tight hip flexors and hamstrings may contribute to lower back pain and knee stiffness, scourges that many people suffer with every day.

So, how can we Flex our Muscles Instead?

We can flex our relaxed and tightened muscles by consciously adding more activity into our daily routines. Many of us working from home are expected to spend the day on our computers. If you cannot remember to do so, set a timer to remind you to get up and move around more. Here are a few suggestions of things you can to to ensure those muscles are not stiffening up:

  • Answer or make your phone calls while standing up and walk around while you talk
  • If working from home on a computer for extended amounts of time, get an adjustable computer desk so you can stand up while working.
  • Sit on a stability ball, instead of in an armchair while watching TV. This activates your core muscles as you try to stay upright. You might not want to try this while using your computer.
  • If your joints are aching, find exercises to keep the joints loose. Aching joints are a viscous circle, the less you move them the achier they get, but the achier they are the harder it is to exercise them.
  • If you have multiple levels in your home, make a point of using the stairs as you walk around. I used to leave stuff on the steps to take upstairs in one trip, now I go up every time. Sometimes I forget why I went up, but I do go up!
  • Find online exercise routines to follow if you are used to going to the gym.
  • Take up yoga, starting with beginner poses (find them online too) working your way up to the more complicated (flexibility required) ones.

My personal in house exercises are planks, high knees, squats, lunges and yoga poses, all of which I do on a regular basis in the winter months when my garden business is under snow.

Of course, if you can, get outside for your exercise, even in the winter. Fresh air and sunshine are more than just good for your muscles, they are good for your mental health, immune system and more.

Posted in current events, family, grandkids, health and wellness, loreeebee.ca, mental health

Introverts still have the advantage

photo credit to Andrea Piacquadio on pexels.com

This article was posted way back in April when the COVID pandemic lockdowns were new to us, reposted today in frustration that most of it still applies…

Introverts have such an advantage in this COVID-19 turmoil and the isolation, quarantine, and social distancing guidelines it has spawned.  So much so that I find myself wishing I was more introverted.

I never realized before just how much of an extrovert I am.  Or perhaps it’s the strict rules we have been instructed to live by that I bristle at.  I never have been good at someone telling me what I can and cannot do, or when I can do them.  I am getting lots done, things I have been procrastinating about forever, but not on my own terms.

I am missing the social interaction we take for granted that enriches our daily lives.  Whether it’s chatting with neighbours, meeting friends for lunch or coffee, or stopping into our favourite stores.  I miss the actions and all of the people that make them so special.

I miss my grandchildren so much, and their parents too of course.  The sunny smiles, hugs, and laughter from the children and the amusing anecdotes their parents share with us are what makes my world go round, usually.  My world feels like it has turned upside down, with me holding my breath until it rights itself.

Compared to others, my life is relatively good.  My family is safe and healthy. My landscaping business may get a late start this season, but my freelance writing can fill in the extra time.  And, my own gardens may get some extra TLC.

This extrovert is just impatient for this nightmare to be over.  In the meantime, perhaps I should try channeling my inner introvert so I might enjoy the few things left we are allowed to do.

As an update, my gardening business did resume in May, although I lost several clients as they were either working from home and able to tackle their gardens themselves, or had to give up my services due to budget constraints. My own gardens did indeed benefit from the extra attention as suspected, although they generated more expenses than income. I was not able to pick up as many freelance writing projects as anticipated, again mostly due to clients’ reduced budgets.

Nine months later, memories of 2020 became a poem in a recent post. Many things remain the same or have evolved, been reinvented, or reinstated, but some have changed. Some in a positive way and others not so positive.

The judgement, finger-pointing, blaming, and ugliness has ramped up to an all-time high. Family get-togethers are still taboo, especially since our immediate family members total 12. As one son stated, “he can work with his brother, but cannot have Christmas dinner with him.” Where is the logic in that?

As for the positives, a hot summer meant more time in the lake at the cottage. Socially distanced from our neighbours, it was the place to be. Family members came to visit, but not all at once.

In July, when it seemed like we had “flattened the curve,” we were able to gather for at least one birthday celebration this year when our second grandson turned one…

Introverts still have the advantage

Sadly, it was only the second time these five cuties were able to see each other since March.

Also on the positive side, we (as a family of 12) have decided that since I have been assisting our 7-year-old granddaughter with her online school and allowing our almost 3-year-old granddaughter to visit weekly to give her mom a break after the birth of their new baby, (our 5th grandchild, a celebration in itself) that we would continue this support system by allowing the grandchildren to visit. This decision was made despite the fact that Ontario residents have been told not to permit anyone outside of their household into their homes as of December 26. As a support system for my family members that are considered essential services, I feel it my duty to do whatever works for them, and I take great pleasure in the visits.

In fact, I believe my mental health and that of my precious grandchildren rely on these visits.

After all, I am still an extrovert. That will never change.

Posted in health and wellness, loreeebee.ca

Essential Oils for Fragrance, Health and Skin Care as Nature Intended

If you are not aware of what essential oils can do for you, it’s time to learn. Current research is revealing the presence of many harmful toxins in perfumes, air fresheners, cleaning and laundry products. I am not surprised as have had reactions to anything scented for years now.

What exactly are essential oils?

Essentially (pun intended) essential oils are concentrated aromatic compounds made from plants. Each plant has its own unique scent or flavor known scientifically as its essence. They are to be inhaled or diluted to rub on the skin, but never ingested. Research claims they have the power to control our emotions and moods and even our health.

As you can probably imagine, essential oils come in many scents. Just think of all the unique scents in nature. You can buy them individually or in sets of many different aromas.

How do you use essential oils?

Essential oils can be purchased in bottles or rollers for easy application to your skin. My personal favourite scent is called Citrus Kiss for a subtle sweet lemon scent. I also love the Skin Envy combination of essential oils on my face.

I get both online from Vitality Extracts.  Check out their website for all the different options, there are tons!

Essential oils can be used as perfume to be worn in jewelry that diffuses the scent of the oil as you wear it. Bracelets, necklaces and rings are very popular, and quite elegant worn as casual jewelry. They contain either lava stones, semi precious stones or glass beads that you rub the oil onto.

These versatile essential oils can also be used to scent your laundry by adding a few drops to dryer balls or a damp facecloth in your load as it goes into the dryer. Another way to use them around the house is to put drops on a cotton ball or tissue to deodorize garbage cans and other smelly spots. I add a few drops to cotton balls and stick them in the filter holder of my vacuum cleaner. Or add some to a misting or spray bottle with water to spray on carpets, rugs, furniture, etc. A few drops of lavender oil on our under your pillow is reportedly a great way to ensure a relaxing sleep.

If you don’t wear jewelry, an even more convenient way to use essential oils is with a room diffuser. Like a vaporizer, you add drops of oil to water in the diffuser, plug it in, and turn it on so the aroma spreads through your room. With many colors, shapes and sizes available, you can be sure to find one to suit your décor in any room. You can even get a diffuser for your car instead of using the old fashioned, tree shaped, smelly things of yesteryear.

Conclusion

Get with the times. Throw out all your Febreze type air fresheners that are loaded with toxins affecting your nervous system. These wonderful, natural perfumes can be mixed together to create your own unique or signature scent.

Prices are amazingly low right now, be sure to take advantage of the sales!

Update

As this post is modified from an older one, an update is in order. I have tried most of the options for incorporating essential oils into my life. In fact, I recently became an influencer” with Vitality Essentials. That should tell you how much I love essential oils!

My personal favourite method of use is the room diffuser of which I now have two in my home. The roll-ons are the most convenient method; I keep a few in my purse and lying around the house for a quick application. I still love the lemon scented Citrus Kiss the best too. I’m also still relying on the Skin Envy combination of frankincense, sandalwood, and myrrh oils to keep my skin hydrated and smooth, especially during these drier months.

Posted in health and wellness, loreeebee.wordpress.com, ontario

Finding Them Homes Fundraiser

This post is in support of a wonderful fundraiser my niece Jillian is currently involved with. The text was copied and pasted from the Finding Them Homes (FTH) Facebook pages. Please check them out yourselves.

Day-timers/planners

What’s CUTE and FUNCTIONAL? Proudly Presenting the 2021 FINDING THEM HOMES Daytimer! With month and week views it’s the perfect way to keep you organized and with sooooo many cute smooshy faces!

Contactless Pickup Locations

Shipping

Shipping is also available within Ontario! Due to Covid we are asking for orders to be paid for by e-transfer. Please send a direct message to Trista Lawless to arrange shipping (costs on the poster, above) or pickup at the location most convenient to you. As always, thank you all for your support.❤️

Support Team

Do you know how many awesome people and businesses support the work that Finding Them Homes does ? Well, to be honest, we’ve never tried to count them because there are SO many ! And without them, hundreds of dogs wouldn’t be rescued from hunger and cold (3,203 to end of September 2020 including 329 in 2020).

Support comes in many forms. Among them are the beautiful FTH calendars and daytimers (aka dayplanners). Our talented designers use photos of adopted dogs, made by our equally talented photographers, to design these useful keepsakes. FTH is able to use all the proceeds from the sale of calendars and daytimers to pay for transporting rescued dogs to Barrie, find foster homes for them, get them the vet care they need, and finally, find them a forever home. And that’s because we have business partners that cover the cost of producing and printing the calendars and daytimers by way of sponsorship.

You can also support the work FTH does by patronizing our business partners when they offer a product or service you need. Each month during 2020 we will feature one or more of our partners.

October’s Featured Partner

For October, we are featuring KM Repairs. “By providing good, old-fashioned customer service over the years, many hundreds of area residents have come to depend on owner Ken Matheson, and to rely on the technical expertise of his friendly staff, to keep their family vehicles in peak running condition. You too can entrust all of your vehicle’s service and repair needs to the team of automotive professionals at K.M. Repairs. Call (705) 458-2266 today and find out what good customer service is all about!” You can also check out their website.

How can you help?

You can support the dogs and puppies at FTH by:

  • purchasing day-timers or participating in any or all of their other fundraising events.
  • hiring the services of FTH’s business partners if you are local to the areas indicated above.
  • making the commitment to adopt a dog or puppy! These are the sweet faces currently available for adoption. FTH contact information is on the Facebook page.

Posted in health and wellness, loreeebee.wordpress.com

A smoothie a day keeps me healthy

I have modified the ingredients of my daily smoothie to include turmeric, celery, cucumbers, broccoli slaw, collagen powder, ginger, avocado, lemon juice (fresh) blueberries, hemp hearts and green tea. Same principle though, makes a great hydrating, nutritious, pre-garden drink. Twenty-five years later, with five grandkids to keep up with, I still make one (almost) every day!  The following is reposted from my own blog; one of my earliest posts back in 2012…

Loreeebee on health & wellness, nature, gardens and grandkids

Many years ago, when my twenty year old son was in grade two, I began to notice that his “bad days” at school were the days I couldn’t persuade him to eat breakfast.  He didn’t, and still doesn’t, like to eat breakfast soon after waking up.  He didn’t like school to start with; it was a constant struggle to keep him focused.  While researching learning disorders, (his teachers suggested testing him for several of these) I found several articles on the correlation between brain function and food.  Basically, without food (the fuel) in his body, my son’s brain (the furnace) wasn’t able to function at full capacity!  I started making him (and his brothers) a smoothie (they call it “milkshake”) every morning, and have kept up this routine ever since!  His teachers and I started noticing a difference almost immediately; he has now graduated high school and college and is out…

View original post 300 more words

Posted in health and wellness, loreeebee.ca

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

This is a repost from my own blog; one of the very first way back in 2012. I have been eating gluten (wheat) free for 9 years now, and feel better than ever. Good thing, because I now (2020) have five grandkids to keep up with!

Photo credit to Pexels

Loreeebee on health & wellness, nature, gardens and grandkids

For the past year or so I have noticed a significant decrease in my energy level and suffer from constant “brain fog”.  I can’t seem to concentrate on anything for very long and get distracted very easily.  Most people I complain to shrug and laugh saying “its just age” As I just turned 50, I find that hard to swallow!

After a complete physical from my G.P. I was told my iron stores or ferritin levels were very low and I was put on an iron supplement.  My ferritin level is climbing back up, but still has a long way to go to “normal” levels.  My hormone levels are within the normal range; so I am classified as perimenopausal.  It was also suggested by two different doctors that I am suffering from depression. I also found that hard to believe, so I started digging deeper…

I found a naturopath online and…

View original post 340 more words

Posted in health and wellness, loreeebee.wordpress.com, weight management

Eating Plant Based: A Crash Course

This article was originally published on Pyure Organic’s Blog Sweet Talk, and modified slightly to become a guest post here on my blog.

Nearly ten million Americans follow a plant-based diet for health, ethical, or preference reasons. Yet, there’s some confusion around the term plant-based – it’s not the same as vegan or vegetarian, though those terms sometimes get used interchangeably. We’ll break down what it means to eat a plant-based diet, as well as how sugar fits into a plant-based diet for weight loss. 

What is a plant-based diet?

People who follow a plant-based diet mostly or entirely eat plants. The majority of what they eat is fruit, vegetables, legumes – rather than animal products such as meat, cheese, or eggs. 

There are many variations of plant-based diets, including: 

  • Whole-foods plant-based: This diet prioritizes eating whole, unrefined, or minimally refined food that comes from plants, without any animal ingredients (meat, milk, eggs, or honey). It excludes processed foods, like boxed macaroni and cheese or meat-free vegan chicken nuggets. 
  • Mediterranean diet: Named for the traditional eating habits in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, this diet includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, cereals, beans, nuts, and seeds, using olive oil as the primary fat and low amounts of animal proteins, usually fish over meat.
  • Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian: This diet also prioritizes fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, but as the name suggests, followers are flexible and incorporate meat and animal products sometimes. 
  • Pescetarian: This diet cuts out red meat, poultry, and “wild game” but permits dairy products (such as cheese and eggs) as well as fish and shellfish. 
  • The DASH diet: DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This diet aims to reduce sodium in your diet and to help lower blood pressure. Followers of the DASH diet eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, some fish, poultry and legumes, plus a small amount of nuts and seeds a few times a week.
  • The MIND diet: MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. This diet is a hybrid of the two diets mentioned above and aims to reduce the risk of dementia and the decline in brain health.

The health benefits of a plant-based diet are, unsurprisingly, varied depending on what plants each person chooses to eat. For instance, one study compared the effects of a plant-based diet that incorporated whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes as compared to a plant-based diet that included potatoes (fries and potato chips), sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, and refined grains. The first group had the lowest risk for heart disease, were more active, and weighed less than the second group. 

Plant-based vs. vegan diets

So, what’s the difference between a plant-based diet and veganism? 

Vegan diets abstain from all animal-based products. Often, veganism extends beyond dietary choices and into lifestyle habits. “Veganism is generally defined as living in a way that avoids consuming, using, or exploiting animals as much as realistically possible. While this leaves room for individual preferences and barriers, the overall intent is that minimal harm is done to animals through life choices,” reports Healthline. “In addition to excluding animal products from their diets, people who label themselves as vegan typically avoid purchasing items that were made from or tested on animals.” 

As it relates to eating habits, many vegans still eat processed foods. Vegans can certainly eat junk food – cookies, potato chips, and some candies are vegan. If you’re seeking to eat better to lose weight, veganism isn’t necessarily a silver bullet. It’s important to consider the quality of your ingredients in addition to where they come from (plants or animals). 

How does sugar fit into eating plant-based?

For those looking to eat healthier or lose weight, making the switch to plant-based is a good start – but only when you start to incorporate the right types of plant-based ingredients. “A plant-based diet sounds like it’d be inherently healthy, but that’s not always the case. Refined grains, added sugars, and vegan fast food are all plant-based—but not the healthiest. Fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and some proteins make for more nutritionally sound choices,” Kelly Plowe, MS, RD told VeryWellFit.

A whole-foods, plant-based diet will eliminate processed sugar, but be aware: alternatives like maple syrup, coconut sugar, and raw cane sugar can have the same effect on blood sugar as table sugar.

Research shows that Stevia is a healthier alternative to table sugar

Stevia is a key ingredient when trying a plant-based diet to lose weight. Stevia is a plant-based, zero glycemic (meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar), zero-calorie sweetener with a taste 50-350 times sweeter than sugar – so a little goes a long way. Stevia is also free from any of the chemicals used to create artificial sweeteners. Just by substituting stevia for sugar in your daily routine, you’ll be making a big difference in your nutrition. For many, stevia makes up an important ingredient in a plant-based diet. For others, this is your first taste of exploring what it means to eat plant-based.

Pyure Organic Stevia is one of the only organic stevia brands out there. Learn more about Pyure’s organic stevia products – and get some tasty plant-based recipes – on our blog, Sweet Talk. Pyure products are plant-based, made from organic stevia plants. This highly sustainable plant lets us create a high-quality, tasty sugar alternative – and helps you avoid the chemicals, additives, and artificial processes found in many artificial sweeteners, not to mention plain-old sugar. 

That’s lots of good information about an organic, plant-based alternative to table sugar. I admit, I have never tried Stevia, and did not know much about it until recently. I do believe that sugars in our food are the culprit when battling weight gain. I have never enjoyed the chemical taste of artificial sweeteners, but recognize that reducing sugar consumption is a healthy and effective way to control weight.

As Stevia is plant based and organic, I may just try it when baking (my main sugar consumption, especially now that my grandkids like to bake with me) to see how the taste compares to sugar. Stay tuned!

Posted in current events, education, family, health and wellness, loreeebee.wordpress.com

Covid and Kids, What are the Long-Term Effects?

I worry about the short and long term effects of this covid pandemic on our children. Social distancing does not come naturally to them. It is difficult enough for us adults, but we (most of us) can see and understand the reason behind the rules. We also do our best to explain these rules to our kids and grandkids.

When we were not allowed to hug or touch each other I would tell my grandkids that “grandma is sick and doesn’t want to make you sick.” This little white lie worked, but I could see the confusion on their sweet little faces.

The primary (pun intended) lesson learned in sending our kids to school at four years old is supposed to be the development and practice of social skills. You know, stuff like sharing, trading, empathy, taking turns and more. How can they do this if social distancing is their new norm?

What lessons are they going to learn instead? Don’t touch, don’t get too close, don’t care, and god forbid, don’t share. Will they learn anything beneficial? At what point are we doing them more harm than good?

Parents are facing a dilemma. Most families need two incomes to stay afloat financially, and cannot afford to have one parent stay home to look after young children. Single parents have even less choice. Daycares offer the same risk and discourage social skills as schools are doing.

So, what is the answer? Perhaps a Covid related, government issued benefit for a parent to stay home to care for, nurture and educate their young children. If we can pay any previously employed adults to stay home even though they could/should have returned to work, why can’t we pay parents to stay home? Of course, like a maternity/paternity leave, it would have to guarantee a job upon their return to work.

Posted in exercise, health and wellness, loreeebee.ca, mental health, nutrition

Making Good Choices in the Time of COVID-19

This informative article was originally posted on the Pyure Organic blog Sweet Talk and ties in nicely with a recent post of mine. It has been adapted for a guest post here:

At the peak of the pandemic, there were new guidelines seemingly every day to help us stay safe and lower our risk of catching and transmitting COVID-19. Today, the advice is clear. Wash your hands regularly, wear a mask and keep your distance from others. 

There are other ways you can make healthy choices beyond virus prevention: changes to your diet, exercise and mindset. These lifestyle changes may not completely prevent your risk of catching coronavirus, but they can boost your immune system, help keep your spirits high and make your body stronger for whatever life throws at you. Here are some simple changes you can make to stay fit and healthy in the midst of a pandemic. 

Focus on good nutrition

There are many reputable research studies that have found a link between a well-balanced diet and a strong immune system. As we head into winter, flu season is right around the corner; pandemic aside, it’s useful to start building healthy nutrients into your diet so your body is ready to ward off everything from the common cold to COVID-19. Here are some simple changes you can make to your diet. 

Switch to sugar alternatives

We know sugar can have negative consequences for our long-term health and is a contributing factor for diabetes and obesity. But some studies have shown that sugar can also decrease the effectiveness of white blood cells – a critical part of our immune system that fights infection. Eating lots of sugar can actually decrease your body’s ability to ward off the bad stuff. 

That doesn’t mean you should stop production on all that quarantine comfort baking! There are plenty of better-for-you sugar alternatives that can make your tasty treats even better. Stevia is one sugar alternative that we love – and Pyure Organic Stevia is one of the only organic stevia brands out there. Stevia is a sweetener that rates a zero on the glycemic index (meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar), zero-calorie and free from any of the chemicals used to create artificial sweeteners. Check out some of our favorite recipes that use Pyure Organic Stevia for some healthier at-home baking inspiration.

Add in a few supplements

In addition to cutting out the bad stuff, you can also add in some minerals and probiotics to make your immune system even stronger – and able to fight off threats. We get most of these minerals through eating a balanced diet, but many of us are deficient in the so-called “Big Four” that help our immune system: 

  • Zinc: This mineral is critical for the development and function of immune cells, yet 79% of us are deficient in zinc. Studies have shown that “80–92 mg per day of zinc may reduce the length of the common cold by up to 33%.” 
  • Magnesium: This so-called “master mineral” is involved in processes like producing energy and building important proteins like your DNA. Your body needs magnesium to function properly, and most people should aim to take 200–400 mg per day. 
  • Selenium: This mineral acts as an antioxidant to reduce inflammation in the body and improve immunity. You can get selenium through foods like fish, eggs and mushrooms.
  • Iodine: This mineral boosts your thyroid gland, which produces hormones that directly impact your immune system. Too much iodine can be a bad thing, so be sure to consult with a doctor before adding in an iodine supplement.

The more proactive you can be about building a healthy immune system, the better! Luckily, many of these minerals can be found by adding some new ingredients to your grocery list.

Eat your leafy greens

Feeding your body with the good stuff is an easy way to keep out the bad stuff. We’ve all heard that citrus is full of Vitamin C and can help ward off the common cold – these foods can also make a big difference in your health: 

  • Red bell peppers: These veggies contain almost 3 times as much Vitamin C as a Florida orange. 
  • Broccoli: It’s packed with Vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, and many other antioxidants.
  • Spinach: rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta carotene
  • Plain yogurt: Look for the unsweetened kind, which is packed with Vitamin D to help regulate the immune system (and add a little Pyure on top to make it taste great!). 
  • Kiwi: These little green guys are high in folate, potassium, Vitamin K and Vitamin C.

These are just a few foods that are great additions to your diet – there are many more out there that can give your immune system a little extra power. 

Stay active, even at home

With many gyms closed and workout classes canceled, it can be difficult to find ways to stay active – but every little bit counts. “Inactivity is an important risk factor similar to high blood pressure, smoking or high cholesterol,” reports the American Society for Nutrition

Regular physical activity supports your immune system and your mental health (more on that in a minute). It’s also a big part of protecting your health from long-term, chronic issues like heart disease and high blood pressure. 

If you’re not sure where to start with an at-home workout, think about what it is you would like to improve. Do you want stronger arms? Better flexibility? More aerobic capacity? From there, you can find a workout plan that works for you. Aim for 15 to 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise and build from there. Check out YouTube and Instagram for free at-home yoga classes, circuit workouts and bodyweight strength-training to keep your routine varied and interesting.

Don’t ignore your mental health

Mental stress can put your body in physical distress, as anxiety takes a big toll on the body. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and taking care of your mental health. “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body’s defense system,” says the National Institute of Health. Many of us are juggling working from home, caring for family and many other parts of life, but getting a good night’s sleep – that’s seven to eight hours for adults – should be a priority. 

There’s also evidence to support the idea that meditation can improve your immune system. Meditation can not only improve your sleep, but it can also help you manage stress and anxiety. Take 10 minutes out of your day to do some deep breathing, relax and calm down your nervous system. Your body will thank you!