COVID-19 & PCOS: 5 Ways to Keep Your Immune System Strong

April 3, 2020

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that effects 1 out of 10 women. There are many symptoms that go along with this condition. Did you know that a lowered immune system is one of them? The low level of the hormone progesterone in PCOS causes overstimulation of the immune system. Our immune system is our defense against stopping germs and viruses.

From Costco toilet paper shortages to $100 eBay hand sanitizer bids one thing is crystal clear. The coronavirus (COVD-19) has taken the world by storm.

As I ventured out into the world this past weekend to purchase groceries, I made this observation. All of the canned, boxed and highly processed food was sold out however the fresh produce section was completely full!

Although it feels like the long-awaited Zombie Apocalypse is upon us it is important to do what we can to boost our immune system and stay as healthy as possible. Let’s chat about a few different ways that you can keep your immune system strong by eating certain types of foods and practicing good hygiene.

Rock Out Like an Oompa Loompa

Oompa Loompas are adorable and rock that bright orange color. Now I am not sure exactly how they maintain that fabulous color year round but I think this is a good reminder to maintain/increase vitamin C in your daily diet. Vitamin C is an excellent way to build up your white blood cell count. White blood cells help your body fight off infections. Our body does not produce and/or store Vitamin C so it is vital that we eat food with this vitamin daily.

Great sources of Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits like:

·      Strawberries

·      Grapefruit

·      Lemons

·      Oranges

Ward Off Vampires with Garlic

Garlic is one of those “superpower” foods. As a side benefit it was a great way to keep all those pesky vampires at away. Is it just me or has there been an increase in the number of vampires appearing in tv shows and movies over the last ten years? This seems like an essential must do item as the vampire population seems to be increasing.

Did you know that garlic was actually used in ancient times to help fight infections? In fact, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that garlic can also help lower blood pressure and put the brakes on hardening arteries. Garlic helps build up the immune system thanks to its sulfur-containing compounds, like allicin.  

Spice Up Your Life …… with Turmeric

In addition to rocking your 90’s platform shoes and channeling your inner “Spice Girl” try adding the spice turmeric to food. This bright yellow spice is an excellent way to reduce inflammation. This spice is traditionally found in different types of curry. However, it goes great with different kinds of poultry and in homemade salad dressing.  

Life will never be the same once you have tried the Honey Tumeric Chicken recipe!

Honey Turmeric Chicken

Get Crabby!

No, I am not suggesting that you get crabby with your loved ones during COVID-19 quarantine. Zinc is a mineral that is extremely important and helps the body to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Zinc is also not something produced and/or stored in your body. Just like Vitamin C it is important that foods rich in this mineral are part of your diet.  Shellfish is a great source of Zinc.

·      Crab

·      Clams

·      Lobster

·      Mussels

Have a fish allergy? Not a problem! Red meat and a variety of legumes (AKA beans!) are also great sources of Zinc. It is important that you follow the recommended guidelines on how much Zinc to include in your diet. Too much Zinc can have the opposite effect and actually lower your immune system.

Check out the recommended intake guidelines and work with your Primary Care Provider (PCP) to ensure that you are following the appropriate intake levels.

Intake Guidelines

Be a Hand Washing Aficionado!

In addition to eating all the healthy food to keep your immune system strong it is also important to remember to wash your hands. It has been proven through multiple studies over the years that washing hands does save lives. In these same studies it was observed that many infectious diseases can be transmitted from one individual to another by dirty hands.  

Here are some examples of when to wash your hands. Please keep in mind this is not an all-inclusive list.

·      Prior to eating.

·      After sneezing/coughing into a tissue/directly into your hands.

·      After handling any type of contaminated item. (Dirty diapers, cleaning the yard etc.)

·      Before, during and after handling food.

·      When providing care to a sick loved one.

·      Handing animals.

Need a refresher on hand washing? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has you covered.

Check out the step by step instructions and handwashing statistics here

I know that this is a challenging time for many people as we face a new world and adjust our lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Especially as women with PCOS it is important to continue making every effort to stay as healthy as possible.

Sending Well Wishes to you & your family!

Rosalyn Chachula, LPN

Founder , Living PCOS Free


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