Everywhere you look, people are wearing masks. They are, in experts’ opinions, one of the best defenses against the spread of the coronavirus. But Dr. Deepali Kashyap believes there are everyday practices that can help boost one’s defense against COVID-19, as well.
“What we consume as food is a major determining factor,” Kashyap, of Galleria Women’s Health in Henderson, said. “Our gut and our respiratory system are great defenses. What we eat, what we breathe, what we think and what we eliminate are very important.”
A few immune-boosting practices she suggests:
- Daily consumption of nutrients. Kashyap named herbs like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola as good additions. Rhodiola is commonly used to increase energy and mental capacity and fight the effects of stress and depression (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health), and Ashwagandha is used to reduce stress, inflammation and blood pressure (WebMD). Herbs can be bought at whole food stores, and some pharmacies offer pharmaceutical-grade herbs that are tested and approved. But Kashyap noted that herbs can be strong and have pharmaceutical effects on the body, so those wishing to work them into a daily regimen should consult a doctor.
- Pranayama, the practice of breath control, strengthens the respiratory system, helping prevent and manage viral illnesses, according to Kashyap.
- Implementing meditation into a daily routine supports mental health, which is important to overall health. “We live in a constant sympathetic-fight or flight system,” Kashyap said. “We need to let our parasympathetic system take charge more often and slow down the pace and enjoy what we are doing.”
- Building physical strength through movement/exercise creates stronger defenses. Whether it’s a stroll in the park, high-intensity workout, pilates or a sport, physical activity can only benefit our health.
- One especially helpful activity Kashyap suggests is yoga. As a practice that unites the body, mind and soul, yoga helps practitioners to slow down and focus on being healthy. She also emphasized Hatha yoga, which involves asanas, or postures, meant to slow down and stretch muscles a certain way.
Make 2021 a year where staying healthy means implementing practices like these that strengthen both mental and physical health.