[The Foolish Couple are founders of the Foco Academy, nutrition specialists and success coaches. We focus on teaching Jack Canfield’s Success Principles and applying the principles to the 3 areas of life that money can’t buy, that is, Health, Time, and Love Relationship.]
Talking about Health. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are that you have at least heard about the CORONAVIRUS or COVID-19. And most likely, your life has somehow been impacted by this latest strain of the coronavirus. For us, we’re on to day 4 of our ‘Shelter In Place order’ which basically means we’re supposed to stay at home all day. When you go out stocking up to stay at home you may have noticed that you have trouble buying toilet paper.
Why toilet paper? I don’t know for sure, but from what some psychologists are saying, it is because we want to feel like we are doing something that will be helpful for us preventing the virus. And toilet paper, well, it is cheap, it lasts for a long time, and eventually you’ll use it up anyways.
But let’s step back a little bit. This pandemic is putting us into a fight of flight mode. That is exactly what the media loves. The more panic, or defensive we become, the more we are glued to the latest news and updates. But high stress levels essentially raises our cortisol levels, which is bad for our immune system. So, just try to chill as much as you can.
In the next few weeks we are going to produce a series or mini episodes on how to boost your health, immunity and mindset in these crazy times. Especially for those that are at higher risk for the covid -19 such as the older generation and those that are immunocompromised.
Yes the virus can be fatal, but not to everybody. This isn’t zombie apocalypse. The fact is, most people that actually caught the virus do recover. Unless you are in the high-risk category.
Now I know what you’re thinking. The older you are, the higher risk you are. While that is statistically true, your age is not the root cause. The strength of our immune system doesn’t automatically go down with age. If that’s the age, all the older COVID-19 patients would have died. But that’s not the case, latest statistics in US show that 40% who are infected are between 19-40 years old. So, what is it that makes a person more or less likely to be affected by the virus?
There are actually many factors that affect your immune system, and quite honestly, age is not one of them. If I have to put one word to the cause of why your immune system deteriorates over time, that one word would be ‘Lifestyle’. Your lifestyle directly affects our health. For example, parents have been telling their young kids that eating too much candy would rot their teeth. Eating candy is a lifestyle choice. What they don’t tell their kids is that eating candy may also cause them to be diabetic later in their lives.
I actually do remember that as a kid, I loved to eat candy. And my grandmother would actually encourage me to eat candy. In her words, it’s ok for me, a kid, to eat the candy, because I can handle it. But it’s not ok for adults to eat the candy. For some reason, they think that children have higher metabolism and that’s all that matters. But that’s not the case. Is it?
Kids may have higher metabolism, but it actually doesn’t mean that they should be eating the processed carbohydrates and refined sugars. The problem is, you get instant gratification now by eating that piece of candy, but it may lead to worse sugar cravings in the future that may lead to chronic problems years from now. And because the punishment is delayed, by human nature, we tend to ignore it until we can’t ignore it anymore.
I know that at some point, a couple years ago, I was actually pre-diabetic. My doctor said it was too early to prescribe me medication and there was nothing she could do for me. Her recommendation was to go back and see her when I became diabetic. For me, that was enough for me to change my lifestyle and really learn to study what I ate. But I realized that for many people, they would really just do nothing about their blood sugar levels until they become diabetic and can get medication from their doctors. But it isn’t that simple, is it?
That’s the problem. People rely too much on their doctors for their health. What they don’t understand is that doctors are responsible for sick care and not preventative care. They are great for acute conditions, dealing with trauma and prescribing medicine but they don’t have the time or the training for preventative care and nutrition. Treating diabetes is not as simple as taking a pill. And the consequences can be fatal.
Take the latest COVID-19 for instance. This virus can infect anybody, but those with diabetes or any other chronic condition that are infected has a much higher fatality rate. If you have a chronic condition and you are in your 20’s-50’s, you are at the same risk as a sickly 80 year old. My own brother had been on diabetes medication for the past 20 years. What he didn’t realize was that his diabetes would eventually cause severe damage to his kidneys and high blood pressure problems. And because he is diabetic, he is at higher risk and he really has to be extra careful not to get infected because if he get infected, he could get really really sick.
So, let me just clarify. It is not your age that makes you more vulnerable to the virus. The fact is that chronic diseases increases your risk regardless of your age and diseases such as diabetes, takes time to develop inside your body. It is not like the poison from a puffer fish that kills you right away. But it is a slow poison that slowly makes you sick and eventually kills you. So can you expand more on how chronic conditions raises are risk?
When you have a chronic condition or disease which include diabetes, cancer, heart problems, asthma, high blood pressure, Celiac, Crohn’s, Hashimoto’s, obesity, prediabetes, skin problems(eczema and psoriasis), anxiety, depression, dementia, Parkinson’s, you are immunocompromised.
What does immunocompromised mean? I hear that term being floated around lately by CDC and health officials and how they raise the risk of infection and death with the Covid-19.
Immunocompromised means that your immune system is compromised. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and the many others I talked about causes inflammation inside your body. And since your body is constantly fighting inflammation inside your body, it lowers your immune system giving you less resources to fight off other infections such as the Covid-19.
If you are diabetic or even pre-diabetic, you blood sugars are extremely high, which suppresses the production of your white blood cells. Your white blood cells are like little pac-mans’ that attack any foreign intruders inside your body. They are your body’s innate ability to protect itself. Also, diabetes causes worse blood circulation which lowers the number of white blood cells that can circulate in your body to protect you. Diabetes over time also causes damage to your kidneys and over taxes your liver, the two organs that help fight toxins in your body and can lead to gut problems, which is also part of your immune system.
So it sounds like it is important to know if you have a chronic condition or disease, as that will lead to a lower compromised immune system putting you at higher risk for the covid-19 regardless of your age. Is this something most people should be worried about? How many people actually have chronic conditions in the United States and how would they know if they are even developing chronic conditions.
According to the CDC, 6 out of every 10 adults has one chronic condition, and 4 out of 10 has 2 or more chronic conditions. What that means is that 60% of the US population is at risk of getting the Covid-19 regardless of how old you are. The scariest thing is that most of this 60% either don’t know that they have a chronic condition or have not done anything about it in the past.
Yes, that is so true, my mom has signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s and she blames that on genetics and old age because her dad, my grandfather had Alzheimers. I hear all the time that your brother that has diabetes is blaming it on his genes because his mother had it. So if it is in your genetics, are your doomed to have that chronic disease?
That is just excuses people make to blame on conditions of their health. Your health is not pre-determined by your genes alone. You Genetics are only one of three parts that determine how healthy you are. Genes actually only account for around 20% towards you getting a chronic condition such as diabetics, cancer, heart conditions, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and all the many other chronic conditions. And that is assuming that gene is turned on.
So just because your parents or grandparents have a chronic conditions such as diabetes or Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean you will. That the gene has to be ‘turned on’ for you to have that chronic disease.
As for the other two parts that determine your health most people would think that it is exercise and diet right?
Actually that’s what everyone thinks, even your doctors. They always tell you to eat better and exercise more for a healthy life right? How many times have you heard that from your doctor? But those are not the other two things that govern how healthy you are.
Imagine your health as a three legged stool. You got one leg with genetics, the other two legs is your digestive health and the last leg is inflammation.
If any of the legs are compromised, like sawing off a leg on the stool, the stool or your health will crumble and fall. So your lifestyle is how you manage these three legs, what you eat, how you handle stress, how much rest, how hydrated and how you move and exercise. The problem is most of the population does not know how to balance or care about these lifestyle activities and develop chronic conditions that can in time turn to chronic diseases in the future.
Let me visualize that as I sit on this stool. If it had three legs supporting it, my genetics, my digestive system and inflammation. If I have any of those compromised, my chair will fall and my health will incline. Got it.
You mentioned earlier that 6 out of every 10 adults has a chronic disease. If it takes years for a chronic condition to develop to a chronic disease, why aren’t people being more proactive about their health? Are there ways you can monitor and track your current health to see if you may have a higher chance of developing chronic conditions? It seems the key to preventing a chronic condition is to know the symptoms and do something about it before it becomes a problem.
As a Functional Nutrition Coach and consultant I am very big on measuring your metrics or the performance of your body. Like a sports coach for a basketball team that measures your agility, coordination, balance, speed and power to assess where you are weak on to help you improve your skills to be a better player. I have my own non-negotiables Metabolic efficiency list on what to track for your best health.
So like when we go in for our yearly doctor’s visit?
Not at all, seeing your doctor only once a year is not enough to track your health. A lot can happen in one year. Depending on which metrics you track, some you track daily, others weekly and some monthly. These numbers become your statistics and like a basketball player tracking his skills, this is the only way you can track which direction your health and wellness is heading.It can only get better or get worse. And like a professional athlete that track metrics down to the millisecond, we are very strict in tracking our numbers. Our numbers are tracked for optimal health and not just the normal range that doctors use.
From my understanding the normal range that doctors use account for 95% of the population and looks like a bell curve starting with 3-5% of really healthy people going up and then back down to 3-5% of really sick people. If you fall inside anywhere in this 95% range, you are considered normal.
That is correct and that is where the problem lies, It is too broad of a range. They have to include people that are already having problems in that range so that they would be considered normal and if your health falls out of that 95% range, guess what they have a drug for that! Also some of the data they use to measure does not take in account of your athletic or sports ability if you are more active.
That is so true, when I was pre-diabetic my doctor just told me to eat better and exercise more, he didn’t really explain to me what the numbers of my blood glucose were except that they were high and that it should be below 100. Mine was like 110-115 during the time.
That’s right the normal range for fasting glucose is anything below 100 you are good, 100-125 you are pre-diabetic and anything over 126 you are diabetic. They usually don’t prescribe you medicine till you are over 135 just to be safe that you are in full blown diabetes. But they seldom give you steps to slow down or prevent you from becoming slightly high as a pre-diabetic to a full blown diabetic. They just tell you there is nothing to treat you until you have diabetes.
So what are your non-negotiables that you track?
You will be able to download the Metabolic Efficiency List here from our blog. These are my non-negotiables regardless if you are feeling well or if you are facing a Pandemic like the Covid-19 now.
There are two groups of metrics, one is for general wellbeing and the other is for metabolic efficiency of how your body performs under stress, exercise, infections and also your body’s ability to use different sources of energy for fuel to power through your activities.
For your general wellbeing, I track your weight, body fat %, waist to hip ratio, sleep, and hydration.I don’t track BMI like doctors do, because if you are an athlete you can have a high BMI and that will give doctors a false positive for obesity. Your waist to hip ratio is way more accurate in determining if you are overweight and obese.
For tracking your performance, I track your blood pressure, fasting blood glucose test, cellular inflammation and ketones. Tracking these metrics is sort of like how many 3 pointers a basketball player can throw in a row or if you are a car guy, how fast your car goes from 0-60miles. These tests will tell me how metabolic efficient your body is, how well you use fat and carbohydrates as fuel and how much inflammation is inside your cells.
You can download my Metabolic Efficiency list to start tracking today here. On the list you will find optimal numbers, the numbers you strive to be to have optimal health and the tools you will need to order to track these numbers if you already don’t own them. Stop being normal and strive to be optimal because being normal is just boring right?
As a bonus during this boosting your immune system series, we are giving away free, our GUT Matters ebook which will start you on the path of better digestive health and also our informational video on how Inflammation of your cells can cause or start chronic conditions and diseases. Remember our health is like a three legged stool, and digestive health and inflammation is 2 of those three legs!
Coming next in our boosting your immunity series, we will give you tips on handling the mental and physical aspects of working at home as most of us may be encouraged to stay at home with the “Shelter in place “. We will also dive deeper into your Digestive system, inflammation and your genetics to boost your immunity not for only this crisis we are facing now but any crisis that may come up later, because you know there is always another one every few years.
So make sure that you click here to download the Non-negotiables Metabolic efficiency list to start monitoring where your state of health is at this moment and let’s work together to improving it so we are all the healthiest people on earth.
Don’t forget to download our free e-book “Gut Matters“ on digestive health and watch our free video on inflammation provided here with the link.
Stay tuned for the next episode about how fear and anxiety may be causing more inflammation and lowering your immune system and what you can do about it.
Until next time, love what you live, and live what you love.
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We are not medical doctors. This blog is not intended to diagnose medical condition, or replace your health care provider. The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only. Statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your personal physician before starting any fitness or exercise program or changing dietary habits. The content of this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is not a substitute for a medical exam, nor does it replace the need for services or counsel provided by medical professionals. However, we do hope to inspire you to become healthier, more self sufficient, and more aware of options.
Watch this webinar to learn how high toxicity in your body causes inflammation and lowers your immunity against viruses, making you sick and Tired. Learn about the three simple tests to measure how toxic your body is.