The Best Nutrients To Combat Pandemic Stress
Have you been feeling the extra stress from the current government restrictions? You’re not alone. International research journals have reported the negative effects of stay-at-home orders and how self-isolation has left people unsure of how to eat in order to be healthy and prevent viral infection. When asked how to stay healthy, most of our clients are quick to point out chiropractic, exercise, and nutrition as foundational building blocks. But without guidance and specific tips, the sea of Google nutritional advice can be overwhelming and sometimes contradictory.
The major stressors our bodies deal with are inflammation and oxidative stress. Inflammation is the body’s intelligent response to physical or chemical injury as well as bacterial, viral, and fungal invaders. Inflammation is the result of the body sending blood, hormones, and immune reinforcements to an area in the body. This allows for immobilization of an area and healing. However, this can turn into a problem when acute inflammation sticks around past the point of helpfulness and becomes chronic inflammation.
Oxidative stress, like inflammation, is not inherently bad. Just like we need to eat regular meals for energy and then eliminate waste from our bodies, our cells function in a very similar way. Normal performance of our body’s cells requires taking in nutrients and then expelling toxins and waste products. In the process of metabolizing food into energy, cells create reactive oxygen species (ROS). When we are healthy and functioning well, these ROS are neutralized by antioxidants. When we aren’t in optimal health, with poor nutrition, lack of movement, and subluxations in our spines, our bodies have a harder time finding the balance of ROS and antioxidants. Thus we end up damaging our cells and potentially destroying our tissues. While this may sound like a small problem at a microscopic level, left unchecked, oxidative stress ultimately damages our DNA and reduces our quality and length of life by causing diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and respiratory diseases like asthma and COPD.
Recent research highlights the importance of getting adequate nutrients into the body now to create the best possible internal environment for preventing viral infections. Think about these nutrients as Personal Protective Equipment for your cells. If you can’t make a change in your diet, talk to your healthcare provider about supplementing these essential nutrients.
Here are seven essential nutrients for staying healthy and decreasing risk of infection during this stressful time: protein (especially glutamine, arginine, and BCAAs [branched-chain amino acids]), vitamin A, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, phytonutrients (sometimes labeled as antioxidants on supplement packages), vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and fibre.
Remember that inflammation is not all bad. We want our bodies to be able to send in the inflammation when necessary. It’s a matter of finding the balance and not letting our bodies become too dominant toward one side or another.