Important Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. This is a fun challenge to help people support immunity through basic lifestyle, exercise and health habits. It's designed to give us something positive to focus on. It is optional to participate and in no way guarantees Covid-19 prevention.
Let's take this time of uncertainty and BUILD CERTAINTY together!
Overall Challenge Rules:
- 6 Week Challenge Focused on building healthy habits that can support immune function, all categories have links to studies/articles from credible sources.
- This is a completion based challenge, the goal is to maintain the habits you pick for at least 4 out of 7 days of the week.
- Get your friends and family involved so they can focus on something positive!
- More details on the options for each category below.
SUPPORT IMMUNITY (PICK 1-3)
More Fruits and Veggies
The high end of the daily recommended fruits and vegetables serving is 12-14 servings a day. Focus on green vegetables and berries which are lower in sugar than fruits. Vegetables impact immunity, according to the WebMD article:
“Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. Go for a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Other foods particularly good for your immune system include fresh garlic, which may help fight viruses and bacteria, and old-fashioned chicken soup. If you do come down with a cold or the flu, a bowl of chicken soup can help you get well faster, one study shows. Some mushroom varieties -- such as shiitake -- may also help your immune system.”
Fermented foods have a rich history as a staple in traditional cultures. Both Kimchi and Sauerkraut are well known for their nutrition. Incorporate fermented foods into your day. According to this article “It has long been known that eating fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi can offer many health benefits but exactly why this is the case has remained something of a mystery. Now, researchers at the University of Leipzig in Germany have found that the beneficial effects may be due to the bacteria found in fermented foods boosting the action of the immune system.”
Here is a list of 8 fermented foods (Kefir, Tempeh, Natto, Kombucha, Miso, Kimchi, Sauerkraut) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-fermented-foods#section8
According to WebMD “Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks.” Avoid sweeteners and sugars on THIS LIST as your single focused rule. Sounds easy -- but this alone can be a big challenge (but it’s a lot easier when you’re not out socializing as much).
Drink half your bodyweight in oz. of clean, filtered water per day. According to this article: “...drinking water boosts the immune system through the production of lymph. This fluid runs throughout the human body, with a very simple job – collecting bacteria from the body and transporting it to the lymph nodes, where that bacteria is destroyed like the unwelcome and unhelpful parasite that it is.”
A metabolic disruptor, alcohol consumption can seriously affect your ability to burn fat and get high quality sleep. According to this scientific study “Clinicians have long observed an association between excessive alcohol consumption and adverse immune-related health effects such as susceptibility to pneumonia.” - With the current COVID-19 pandemic being a respiratory illness, it’s best to avoid alcohol.
A simple addition to your daily routine to add a massive hit of nutrition, and without having to spend 30 minutes chewing. Here is a recipe you can use:
There are 6 Ingredients:
Here's the full, EXACT list
Macros: 8g Protein, 58g (36 net) Carbs, 29g Fat
Base, from Trader Joes:
1 bag power greens 1 bag organic mixed berries
1 scoop of green vibrancy (this is my favorite, but any greens powder will do, like athletic greens)
(I get the REALLY big one -- which is over 80 servings)
¼- ½ scoop of https://amzn.to/30j37Il
1-2 Tbsp Fish Oil - Carlson's is the best and not gross at all, even though it's easy to think it would be.
6-8 Tablets of Systemic Enzymes But these will drastically increase nutrient absorption if you blend them in, and they're flavorless.
PRO TIP: Put the Greens in your blender FIRST,
(not the berries) it doesn't blend as well.
Hopefully you have a blendtec or vitamix... worth
their weight in gold.
If using frozen greens, and frozen berries, add ~24oz of water.
If using fresh greens, and frozen berries, add ~20oz waer.
Blend, and add more/less water depending on desired thickness.
MINDSET / STRESS (PICK 1-2)
Perhaps the single most important element to reduce stress, decrease body fat, recover/build muscle and feel overall energized. This is a tough one to get in today’s world, but one of THE most powerful tools in the quest for true Vitality… although, the upside is this should be easier with all the time you’ll be spending at home. Aim to get 8 hours of sleep every night.
According to this WebMD article: “You may have noticed you’re more likely to catch a cold or other infection when you’re not getting enough sleep. Studies help bear out that well-rested people who received the flu vaccine developed stronger protection against the illness.”
5 min Journal every night. It’s broken up into 5 parts each day:
- A quick day summary -- running through what you did. “Ie woke up around 6, breakfast and did morning routine before getting kids read and headed to work. A bit overwhelmed at first, but settled into some productive sessions…” Keep it BROAD. Just to give you a high level picture of the day.
- 1-2 Wins - What went well, what are you proud of?
- 1-2 Grateful Fors - What are you grateful for?
- 1-2 Moments - these are special moments you’d like to remember.
- General Reflection/Insight
This is one of the most powerful habits for the times we’re living in. While the whole world is freaking out about things they can’t control, a journal offers stability and an opportunity to focus on gratitude and what’s going RIGHT. The whole journal process above shouldn’t take much more than 5 minutes. The hardest part can be the THINKING. BONUS: At the end of your week, read through all your Wins, Grateful Fors, and Moments and COMPILE them in a list. At the end of a month, compile into a month list. This equals POWER. (Also, SHARE THEM WITH US)
5-20 minute meditation in the morning or the evening. You can approach this in a lot of ways. Simply sit quietly… Use an app like Calm or get an EmWave2 which is a biofeedback device that helps you quantify coherence. According to this scientific study: “This comprehensive examination included data from 1602 participants and revealed tentative evidence that mindfulness meditation is associated with changes in select biomarkers of immune system activity.”
5-20 minutes of breath work - you can learn everything you need in this short course we created. There is also a good explanation and video of Wim Hof breathing here. A breathing practice will increase peace of mind and oxygenate your system, as well as fight off endotoxins. This Scientific Study here proves the techniques that are mentioned in that course (Cyclic hyperventilation with retention, also known as Wim Hof breathing technique) support immunity. Subjects were able to fend off flu-like symptoms when injected with an endotoxin, after doing this breathing technique.
5-15 minute of getting outside, in nature, in the sun, or going for a walk. This is DISCONNECTED time, no phones. No Social, no obsessing about things not HERE. Stay PRESENT. Listen to the sounds -- the birds, the wind. It might sound like a hippy thing to do, but it’s highly regenerative. Getting sun also provides Vitamin D, which supports immune function according to this scientific study - Vitamin D and the Immune System
According to WebMD, “It curbs the levels of stress hormones in your body and boosts a type of white blood cell that fights infection.” - Watch a comedy special on Netflix, or find other ways to have fun. You could even try forcing yourself to laugh (aka faking it), especially if you are around other people it will catch on and be contagious. Watch this video of an exercise you can do that might work for you. Don’t laugh until you try it.
FITNESS (PICK 1-2)
Use a fitbit or smartwatch and track your steps. Alternatively walk at a moderate to brisk pace for 20-40+ minutes aiming for a HR around 120-130bpm (if you can track it). Double up this time and listen to a favorite audiobook, or make phone calls and connect with people you’ve been missing. OR simply focus on the sound of your breath. A brisk walk can help lower stress and have the same benefits of working out listed below.
Home workouts are king & queen for this challenge. Soon everything will be back to normal, you’ll be able to be back in the gym like before! But for now we’re focusing on HOME workouts. If you’re a member at the gym, we’ll send them directly to you. The goal is 30 minutes (or more if you need a little extra). But DO NOT Overdo it because we have to keep you RESILIENT! Running very long distances, and doing other highly strenuous lengthy workouts can actually suppress immune function. According to this Harvard article: “Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.”
Do 10-30 minutes of mobility.
Try doing 20 to 40 minutes of Yoga. According to this article,Yoga for immunity is a thing. A consistent yoga practice – along with certain poses in particular – can support the immune system. ... This is due to the fact that yoga reduces stress systemically in the body, which reduces inflammation overall.