The COVID-19 Pandemic has revealed the importance of many comforts that we were taking for granted in life. Who knew that toilet paper would be the most important item to possess when faced with a pandemic? I certainly was not prepared. Now, my husband has placed a 24 pack of tissue in every cabinet in our house. The next step in preparation was to stock up the pantry and freezers with food. And we all saw how quickly the store shelves were striped clean. And, of course, we stocked up on antiseptic cleaners, latex gloves, hand sanitizers, and masks.
Were these efforts really going to protect us against the COVID-19 virus? Initially, the recommendations were so contradictory. Did we need to wear a mask or not wear a mask? Did we need to isolate ourselves completely at home or just keep a safe distance in public? Could our children go to school? Could we attend church? Could you go to work and support your family? Were you categorized as an essential or non-essential worker?
Just the stress alone has impacted our physical and mental health. In addition to all the above challenges, we have been required to developed new virtual technology skills which we never could have imagined two years ago. And who was ready to homeschool their children? Our elderly relatives have been isolated in assistant living facilities. Access to your medical professionals has also changed with virtual telemedicine taking the place of physical assessments.
Despite all our efforts to protect ourselves from COVID-19, we had friends and family members who contracted COVID-19. Some of those infected had very mild cases and recovered quickly, while others, developed severe symptoms, difficulty breathing, high fever, admissions to hospitals and ICU’s requiring mechanical ventilators to sustain life, and some tragically experienced death.
Initially, there were no actual treatment recommendations other than supportive care. What was the key factor determining the difference in COVID-19 outcomes? As our medical knowledge grew about the COVID-19 virus and the risks factors for poor outcomes became more evident. Medical co-morbidities became the determining factors for patient outcomes. These medical co-morbidities included age over 65, obesity, diabetes, pregnancy, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung disease, smoking, immuno-compromise, and auto-immune diseases. Studies even revealed that different blood types carried different risks for outcome.
So, the state of your health has become a major determining factor in your resistance to and recovery from COVID-19.
Your health is your most precious gift. And our bodies are designed to be healthy and stay healthy. As we age, however, the mechanisms in place to protect our bodies from illnesses and cancer continue to decline over time. This decline in immunity with aging is thought to be related to a decline in antioxidants which are found in fruits and vegetables. The Lord designed us to be healthy and disease free. And what did the Lord provide for our health? In Genesis 1:29 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”
Our bodies are designed with a complex defense system, called the immune system, which protects us from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Our immune system also protects us from cancer and promotes healing. The immune system consists of millions of cells within our bone, our blood, and our gut which act as sentinels, standing on guard to attack foreign bacteria, viruses, fungus, and foreign materials.
A healthy immune system does require the proper nutrition. Unfortunately, our diets have become less nutritious over time which, in turn, have diminished the effectiveness of our immune system. Vitamin D is a good example. Vitamin D helps maintain a healthy immune system and, unfortunately, a vast majority of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D due to decreased consumption in our diets and decreased exposure to sunlight. Vitamins D is just one component of the thousands of nutritional vitamins, minerals, glycoproteins, fatty acids, and amino acids that your immune system and body requires, daily, to perform at 100% capacity.
Many clinical studies have been performed to evaluate the impact of nutrition on a human immune system. A study by the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida revealed that daily intake of concentrated fruits and vegetables, compared to placebo, increased levels of phytonutrients and antioxidant capacity in the blood stream¹. Levels of vitamin C, beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein increased significantly, along with circulating immune cells. Levels of inflammatory cells decreased. And DNA Strand Breaks, which contribute to the development of cancer, were reduced.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, study in Berlin, Germay²concluded that dietary supplementation with concentrated fruits and vegetables was associated with a 20% reduction in the days of moderate or severe common cold symptoms. The number of days with symptoms were not significantly reduced, but the severity of symptoms was attenuated with fewer days missed from work.
In the United States, nutritional experts recommend 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables daily for adults³. And we know how difficult it can be to encourage children to eat their fruits and vegetables. Just the expense alone is prohibitory. And trying to eat all the purchased fruits and vegetables before they begin to decay in the refrigerator is quite a challenge.
Whole food organic concentrated supplements of selected fruits, vegetables, and berries are available to close the gap between what you are currently eating and what your body requires for proper health and function. Illnesses result from poor nutrition and unhealthy lifestyles. So, we all need a little help, guidance, and prayer to obtain optimum health.
Our health is our greatest gift and determines your quality of life. “If you do not make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” – Hippocrates. And who wants to spend their time and money on medical appointments, tests, and prescriptions.
Who knows what health pandemics we may face in years to come? Unfortunately, I doubt that COVID-19 will ever be eliminated. New strains of corona viruses will continue to develop over time. And we do not want to remain isolated, quarantined, wearing masks, and living in fear indefinitely. Your best defense is a healthy immune system.
So, I recommend that we become as physically and mentally healthy as possible to protect ourselves from illness. And it is never too late to begin a program. We need to improve our diets. We need to eat more fruits and vegetables, eat less meat and fatty foods, exercise more, limit alcohol consumption, stop smoking, and drink more water. “If someone wishes for good health, one must first ask oneself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness. Only then is it possible to help him.” – Hippocrates. Are you ready for help?
J. Nutr. 1362606-2610, 2006.
British Journal of Nutrition (2011), 105, 118-122.
J. Nutr. 137: 2737-2741, 2007.