Keeping Your Immune System Strong Post Natural Disasters (and at all times)

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by Yoli Ouiya on November 9, 2012

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If you missed last week’s tea chat at #wmnhealth about post hurricane health and keeping your immune system strong, here are some key takeaways.

Being a native NYer and living in Jersey City, I have been witness to some of the stresses and health issues via #Sandy.

Urban environments are already filled with pollution and stress but add a natural disaster and increase that 5-10 fold. Especially in areas that have flooding and bodies of stagnant water.

Issue 1 is gaining access to quality water.

Some cities have boil advisories and others have just added more chlorine to clean it. If you don’t have access to filter, let water sit in a container with ventilation for 24+ hours. Chlorine will slowly precipitate.

Issue 2 is emotional and mental stress.

Get the information you need and then stop watching the new 24/7. It is great to be informed but at some point you need to disconnect so you have time to regenerate. A stressed system is a system prone to illness.

Take moments in your day to meditate…be grateful for life, send healing energy to those recovering and keep pushing. If you have someplace .. a quiet space to
do yoga, please take advantage! Being limber is your asset.

Giving back is also good for your health.


When you do good it increases your endorphins which is the body’s natural pain killer. If you have the time, capacity and energy volunteer in your local community for #Sandy recover. It is good for your health.

People always wonder why those volunteering are smiling on tv? It isn’t just bc their on camera. They’re full of endorphins.

Let’s get into your immune system…

Some basic foods you can have that will keep you vibrant…
  • Fermented foods are your friend because they don’t need much maintenance and they have natural probiotics.
  • Cook with coconut oil! high in healthy fatty acids and also high in lauric acid which converts to monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin is also found in breast milk… and what have we learned about breast milk? Great for immune systems! You dont have to just cook with coconut oil.. use it as your lotion or if you can handle it, down a teaspoon for next few days. Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-vital. Use it.
  • If you can get access to fresh fruits and veggies do so.
  • If you only have packaged and prepared foods, be very mindful of sodium and sugar content. Too much of either suppresses.
  • Use spices in your food! Top of the list include garlic ginger peppermint turmeric. All have healing properties.
  • Medicinal mushrooms like shiitake are great to have if you have access.They activate your immune system.
  • For canned foods like beans and veggies, make sure to rinse them off before using to reduce salt content.
  • Calcium and magnesium are your champions. Bananas keep well during these recovery times. I’ve been cooking green plantains!
  • As much as it is tempting to down a bottle of alcohol, maybe a glass is best. Smoking and alcohol impair your immune system.
Stay out of flooded areas.

Waters are toxic and have been stagnant collecting more dirt and pollution.

Sleep is critical for a healthy immune system.


I cannot say that enough times. Poor sleep during these times will heavily impair your immune system. If you are without electricity, you can be your best rest. The best sleep comes when you are in a completely dark rooms sans any lights.

Your health is truly the wealth you can control during natural disasters.
  • Make it a priority; Lead by example.
  • Laughter is medicine & a natural pain reliever. Be around friends and family. Tell stories, Keep
    each other in high spirits.

  • And hugs are healthy! If hugs can calm down a baby, hugs are miracle produces for adults.
  • Everything in this world is made of energy. If you share some healthy energy, you are contributing to healthy living. And the temperature really does not care to cooperate with you health. Nature is just being nature; You have to be cooperative. Heat escapes through your head; Wear a hat. Cold winds are blowing; Wear a scarf. Keep covered up!
  • Clean air is hard to come buy these days so please dust your homes or wherever you are. Open a window for a few minutes a day.

And last but not least… love yourself.
Give yourself credit for making it this far, surviving, and breathe in gratitude.

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This post was written by...

– who has written 334 posts on Yoli's Green Living.

Yoli Ouiya is a Green & Healthy Living Expert, Green Chef, Publisher and Editor in Chief of YolisGreenLiving.com. She is noted as the “Queen of Green” by Black Enterprise Magazine, and currently operates a boutique eco-lifestyle outfit Yoli’s Green Living Group. Black Enterprise included Yoli in its “Top 20 National Bloggers” of 2012, was named ‘Best in Green Living” by AllParenting.com, and listed as “Top 17 Black Woman Bloggers to Watch in 2013″ bu ForHarriet.com. With a certification in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell, she offers workshops, lectures, and organizes a variety of eco-chic green themed events in New York. She is currently on the board of directors for The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, a health and nutrition specialist for Harlem Children’s Zone, and co-authoring a book slated for completion Spring 2014.

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