This is not necessarily a post about running, but more of a general health post. To some extent it definitely applies to everybody.
With regard to the Coronavirus and our continued lockdowns, I think re-opening society now is the right decision, even though I am certain a new dangerous wave of COVID-19 will hit the world in the fall or winter. And I don’t think it will make much difference how much we’re outside our homes during summer. Though instituting lockdowns was probably a smart decision, staying locked down now isn’t benefitting us.
We are actually a lot safer mingling in hotter conditions, especially given most will want to do so outdoors. As with most illnesses, the public exposure risk of Coronavirus is largely tied to people being confined together in close quarters for extended periods of time.
While the virus is continuously mutating and other strains of the virus are spreading now, these current mutations are not as substantially dangerous as the wave that forced our lockdowns in March. Our immune systems are equipped to handle it. However, I do believe a new wave will come later this year that probably will be dangerous and kill many.
Your health is the key
I also realize that the vast majority of the people who have died from the Coronavirus carried a variety of other health problems:
- Many were of elderly age
- Many are overweight or obese
- Many have other contributing health problems that led to COVID-19 killing them
Some health problems aren’t necessarily curable or preventable. Obviously, you can’t avoid getting old. Of course, some chronic health conditions are not preventable. Immuno-compromising conditions make getting any illness or health issue a potential grave danger.
However, a lot of health conditions stem from obesity, poor diet and poor lifestyle habits. All of the above are avoidable and (at least over a long period of time) curable.
Anyone significantly concerned about the Coronavirus, whether they feel personally at substantial risk or believe that loved ones are at substantial risk, needs to approach this summer as their one opportunity to safeguard themselves against a likely 2nd wave of Coronavirus this winter.
If you’re out of shape… if you’re overweight… if your diet is poor… if you have health conditions stemming from any of the above… now is the time to tackle your personal health and improve these issues as best you can now, before the next seriously dangerous wave of the virus strikes later this year.
The 10 Things That Can Help You Survive A 2nd Coronavirus Wave
- Start consuming coconut oil regularly.
Coconut Oil has a variety of positive effects, its most notable being that its key fatty acid, lauric acid, is an anti-fungal… which will kill off candida overgrowths and other fungi in your mouth, gut and bloodstream that negatively, insidiously impact your health.
This and other medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil also break up lipids in the molecular envelopes of viruses. This breaks viruses up and destroys them.
I’m not going to go as far as to outright claim that coconut oil kills or cures the coronavirus. That would be amazing, but I don’t believe that to be completely true. I do believe, however, that any virus the acids contact in your gut, mouth or incidentally in your bloodstream can be broken up, which will help slow the development or spread in your body of any virus, let alone coronavirus. Your body’s immune system can more easily catch up to the reduced quantity it’s exposed to.
Some are understandably concerned about coconut oil’s high saturated fat content. Unlike other cooking oils (which are a mix of saturated fat, omega 6 and omega 3 compounds), coconut oil is mostly saturated fat. Obviously, no one wants to have a stroke or a heart attack.
A lot of the previously researched links between poor cardiovascular health and saturated fat overlook the quality of subjects’ diets, which is often poor and highly processed. We so take the presence of many harmful processed foods for granted that medical professionals eat them, and hospitals continue to serve them to patients and employees. Many of these packaged foods should not be consumed long-term by anybody, and certainly not by hospital patients who are ill.
Previous research also overlooks the negative effects of the oils typically consumed by subjects (soybean, canola, sunflower oils, among others), which contain other, more harmful compounds such as Omega 6 oils and toxic byproducts from production, preservatives and high heat.
Coconut oil’s saturated fat is far safer for your heart that most other oils and fats out there. A crappy processed food diet is far more dangerous.
- Clean up your diet, as completely as possible.
Many of you have talked about ditching processed foods. Now is the time to clean your diet up. If you start in the fall, it will be far too late. The Reaper could already be on his way to your home by then.
And, of course, if you’re overweight (a key factor behind most Coronavirus deaths), especially if you have struggled to lose weight… improving the quality of your diet may surprise you in how effectively it helps you lose weight… even if you eat the same number of calories per day! Cleaning up the quality of food eaten has a variety of effects on weight management beyond the mere calories in or out, or the macronutrients consumed.
Your diet should be built around (omit whatever items clash with your diet of choice): Fresh meat, vegetables, tubers, grains, legumes. If you can handle eggs or basic dairy like milk or cheese, great, go for it. But you want foods in as close to their natural form as possible. No processed anything!
I realize it’s not always practical to eat completely fresh. Sometimes you prefer canned or packaged forms of whole food that you can freeze or put away for a while. Of course, some packaged items are close enough to their whole food form and are okay to eat.
Anything that is packaged should be as close to its original form as possible, with few to no added ingredients. Hint: If the package has an ingredient list longer than a line, don’t eat it.
Example: A bag of raw frozen chicken breasts is probably fine. A branded box of chicken breasts covered in some kind of sauce probably isn’t fine.
Example: A can of tuna is probably fine, even if it’s in olive oil or something. A package of some kind of weird tuna salad concoction is not.
Example: A can of beans, rinsed or canned in just water and oils naturally occurring from preparation, is probably fine. A can of flavored or seasoned beans is probably not.
Those who eat a heavily processed diet may find these foods to be rather bland. Consider your palate “infected” by a long-term addiction to sodium-rich highly processed food. These foods are engineered in labs to taste so much better than actual food, and to addict you to them. Consider yourself a sort of drug addict that needs to “de-tox” and get clean and sober.
In time, these foods, with natural spices added, will begin to taste better to you as your palate recovers.
What spices to use? Most single-ingredient spices off the supermarket’s spice rack are fair game, stuff like salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, basil, parsley, etc.
By the way, overdoing the salt a little bit is not a death sentence, especially if you’ve cut out processed food… which contains far more salt than you could possibly shake out of a shaker onto a plate. Season your food to taste, and just drink a good amount of water after the meal. Over time, as your palate changes, your need for salt to improve the taste of cleaner food may subside some.
I would avoid sauces, since they obviously are processed foods. If you must indulge now and again… the thinner the sauce the better. Example: Hot sauce like Tapatio (which is mostly cayenne pepper and vinegar) is probably better than a thicker hot sauce like sriracha (which gets its texture from a variety of synthetic ingredients).
Side note for men: Soy is another ingredient you should avoid using much, and this includes the popular soy sauce. Soy’s estrogenic effects can actually be harmful long-term for men’s hormones and inhibit recovery, as well as men’s immunity and long-term overall health (women obviously have more estrogenic hormones and thus soy doesn’t cause them these problems).
Also, most soy sauce producers use MSG to give the sauce its salty taste. We’ve known for decades that MSG is an ingredient you shouldn’t consume much.
A bit of soy now and again won’t hurt, but consuming it regularly can cause unforeseen long-term health problems.
- Regularly include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet
Many of our health problems stem from or produce inflammation throughout our bodies, our organs, muscles, etc. If this inflammation doesn’t outright cause illness or health problems, it can certainly exacerbate them. Most of all, it taxes and weakens your immune system, regularly occupying it to the point that, when an actual illness comes along, your immune system is stretched too thin to effectively combat it. Boom, now you’re sick.
Along with eating a cleaner and healthier diet, certain foods (typically, plant based foods) have an excellent anti-inflammatory effect. While you could probably read up from the legion of material out there on good natural anti-inflammatory foods to consume, I would recommend focusing in on foods rich in Beta-Carotene, the vitaminesque pigment compound found in a variety of fruit and vegetables.
Beta-Carotene is considered a producer of Vitamin A, which largely supports the immune system as well as key body functions like your vision, and is basically considered safer than pure Vitamin A (which we can overdose on) because only a portion of beta-carotene is turned into Vitamin A.
Along with bolstering your immune system, beta-carotene also actively fights inflammation in your body. In a way, it’s an accelerated version of the cellular cleanup your body undergoes when cleaning up and improving your diet.
An obvious source of beta-carotene is carrots. Of course, people find eating carrots cumbersome, as they take more time to cook, and while they can be eaten raw their harder texture makes doing so a challenge. Carrot juice can suffice as long as you’re drinking pure juice and not a store-bought concoction full of additives.
Other foods rich in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, spinach, pumpkin, and collard greens. That said, many colorful vegetables possess some usable quantity of beta-carotene, so if you just ate a wide variety of fruit and vegetables you’d probably get a good quantity of beta-carotene.
Tomatoes deserve a special mention because, along with some quantity of beta-carotene, they contain other needed inflammation fighting carotenoids that can (to a lesser degree) also produce inflammation-fighting, immune-system-boosting Vitamin A.
- Consume a natural source of Fish Oil
Fish Oil is another inflammation fighter. The fatty acids and Omega 3’s present in fish oil are especially useful to the repair and growth of cells in the heart, brain, and circulatory system. Omega 3 in particular is also a low-key, natural painkiller of sorts, as it actively fights the inflammation in tissues that cause us to feel pain.
Many will consume a highly synthetic fish oil supplement, and of course I discourage this. I encourage you to either spend a little extra on a fish oil supplement derived directly from wild-caught fish, as it will contain fewer additives plus the oil will be of better quality and your body will better utilize it.
Side note: Many fish oil brands will ask you to take several pills a day for a dosage. I would just take one pill a day. Fish oil is not an essential vitamin or mineral, and some exposure is really all you need. If you want to take the full dosage, knock yourself out. Just be mindful that any fish oil taken in excess will have side effects like gas and possibly bad breath. A partial dosage averts this situation.
If you’d rather not take a supplement, here’s also an obvious-under-your-noise alternative: Eat some fish! The oil is derived from fish, so of course you could cut out the middle-man of sorts and just eat the source. As with the supplements, your best bet is to spend a little extra and consume wild caught fish (which isn’t exposed to mercury and other hormones from a farm). Any standard serving of fish in a given day will probably do the trick.
If you’re overtly concerned about mercury exposure and want to limit your intake of fish (though, again, wild-caught fish typically doesn’t have the mercury present in farmed fish), then go ahead and take a wild-caught fish oil supplement. I would even take the supplement on days that you do eat fish. You won’t overdose on fish oil unless you’re eating buckets of fish a day or popping too many fish oil pills.
- You need to make sure you get enough sleep
Society has finally figured out in recent years that sleep is not overrated, that sleep is in fact very important to your health. At this point, it is now more important to your health than ever before.
I won’t rehash the legion of material out there on how to get effective sleep, e.g. the turning off devices before bed, developing a sleep routine, keeping electronics out of your room, not consuming things in the afternoon or evening that’ll keep you awake, limit alcohol, get some earplugs and a blindfold if you must, etc. If you’ve struggled with your sleep, you’ve probably already seen, heard or read any advice I could give you.
But get at least 7 verifiable hours of sleep per night. Spend at least 8 dedicated hours per day in a sleeping position in your bed or wherever you must go to get some sleep. Intervene with loved ones, colleagues, neighbors, employer, etc, as much as you need to in order to facilitate your ability to get and stay asleep, and go to the earplugs/blindfolds as you must.
Sleep is when your body recovers and rebuilds, from your bones and muscles to your brain to your immune system, organs and hormonal glands. Without good sleep, you don’t recover, and getting sick becomes easier.
- Get daily direct exposure to sunlight and outdoor air
Viruses are vulnerable to UV rays, and like the lauric acid above any UV light can in fact break up and destroy exposed viruses. You obviously can’t do anything about a virus in your body or bloodstream, but any viruses present on your body will not survive long in direct sunlight’s UV rays. Never mind the hand sanitizer. Get outside in daylight for a few minutes.
Also, illnesses spread easily in confined indoor spaces. While governments were smart to lock down businesses so people did not need to commute on crowded transit vehicles, or could not convene en masse in public spaces… they erred in also closing off parks, beaches and trails, not realizing that the virus cannot practically spread outdoors, especially in sunlight. The air is not contained and recirculating outside. The volume of available outdoor airspace is too vast for anyone to be exposed to enough molecules of a virus to get sick.
Thankfully, most world governments have removed their lockdowns on outdoor movement. US cities may have banned use of parks and beaches, but they mostly can’t ban you from going for a walk outside your home.
Take the opportunity to get outside every single day and expose yourself to virus-free air and virus-killing sunshine.
- Get an indoor air filter
Indoor air, virus exposure aside, is actually kind of toxic. The presence of dust and dirt that constantly gets stirred up anytime someone in the space moves, sits down, etc, gives the air a quality strikingly close to some of the worst air-polluted cities in the world. And yet we live in these spaces every single day.
This air not only affects your general oxygen intake, lungs, etc… but the central target of the Coronavirus is in fact the lungs. The better shape your lungs are in, the better air that it takes in during the day, the better your chances of warding off a Coronavirus infection.
(And yes, the central problem with Coronavirus is actually blood-clotting near the lungs rather than the damage its effects subsequently does to the lungs themselves… but the quality of the lungs affects how easily the clotting can damage your lungs.)
A cheap, simple electric air filter will solve much of this problem. The brand almost doesn’t matter. If indoor air passes through it, goes through a filter and comes out as clearer air, that is pretty much what you need.
Keep the filter on every day, unless of course you’re cleaning it or replacing its internal filters. And, obviously, you should clean the device at least every month or two. It does collect a lot of dust… which, of course, means it’s probably doing its job!
- Get regular outdoor exercise
Along with what I said about outdoor air, exercising in outdoor air will obviously expose you to more of that air per second, as well as help circulate air in your lungs plus body fluid and blood in your bloodstream.
Plus, obviously, a healthier, more active body is going to do better against an incoming illness than one that is inactive and out of shape. If you are trying to lose weight, then obviously exercise is a key component to kickstarting that weight loss.
You don’t have to bike 10 miles or run hard for 3 miles. Just a 20 minute walk, something you aren’t used to doing everyday or something more than what you do everyday, is totally fine. If you’ve got some physically demanding gardening or a project outside to work on, that will do the trick. Just get outside for a little while and be active.
We sit around all day and wonder why our health is bad. So go outside every day and do something more active than sitting around, and it will benefit you.
- Drink filtered water
In most locales, the tap water quality is poor at best. There’s a variety of chemicals, toxins, and whatever else in the tap water. If you drink or cook from water straight out of the tap, now is probably a good time to stop and (if nothing else) get yourself a water filter.
I drink distilled water for a variety of health reasons, but you need not go that far. Nor should you buy jugs or bottles of “spring water” or “alkaline water” at stores: These are basically just some other place’s tap water.
Buying a relatively inexpensive Brita-style filter jug can do the trick. Pour tap water into the jug and let the filter do its work. Replace the filter every few months as instructed.
You can also buy a slightly more expensive faucet filter to install on the kitchen sink faucet, which will filter any water that comes out of it.
(However, I don’t recommend installing a reverse osmosis system in your sink. This has a trivial effect on water quality, and over time it will have virtually no effect on the tap. It’s expensive and probably not worth it.)
As with cleaning up your diet, improving the quality of your drinking and cooking water will have a cascading variety of positive health on your health, your body, even your skin.
10. Consider undergoing a basic detox or cleanse of some sort
Most of us live with some volume of parasites or toxins in our gut and bloodstream. Most can go their entire lives in good health without ever addressing this.
That said, sometimes the volume of parasites in your system can have a subtle negative overall effect on your health. And it might not be a bad idea to undergo a cleanse that effectively doubles as a “spring cleaning” for your gut.
If you incidentally ever had to take antibiotics for an illness or condition, you may have inadvertently undergone a cleanse of sorts, since the antibiotics probably wiped out most of the prevailing bacteria in your gut. In fact, most doctors will recommend you take a probiotic in tandem with the antibiotic to ensure your gut restores any productive bacteria as well as prevent the overrun of any harmful bacteria or fungi such as candida. If so, then it may be especially useful for you to undergo some sort of parasite cleanse or body detox.
Health food stores sell bottles of parasite-ridding pills meant to be dosed daily for about a month or so. This can be a simple, effective cleanse, but note that if you do have the presence of bad stuff in your system it will make your digestive tract feel pretty bad: Stomach pain, diarrhea, etc. This means it’s doing it work, that you probably did have some parasite problems, and if you fight your way through finishing the regimen then you will feel a lot better in the long run.
If you’d rather not risk that, an alternative is to do a food-limiting detox of some sort. Basically, you cut out all foods except for a select healthy handful of items, typically vegetables and possibly a select few protein-rich meats and foods. This is useful for determining if you have an intolerance for certain foods you weren’t aware of. You will feel better, and then once the food is reintroduced you will feel worse again. You’ll know to avoid that food from now on.
But what this will do either way is help clean out your gut and help your body’s glands and organs reset, which in turn will fight off a lot of immune-suppressing inflammation and better equip you to ward off illnesses, including a 2nd wave of the Coronavirus.
Now is the time to clean your health up. You’ve probably been warned repeatedly over the years. Consider the rise of COVID-19 your final warning. If the fall and winter come, you’re still unhealthy in general, and Coronavirus comes to get you, nobody may be able to help you.
Give yourself and your family a fighting chance to survive. Consider and implement these improvements now, in the summer, while you have time to rebuild and fortify yourselves. I think you’ll be okay if you do.
Best of luck.