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I'm Answering The World's Biggest Question: "How To Boost Your Immune System"

4 Min Read
Health

It's a scary time. I can't remember any other time when I felt this much panic in the world. But within this global fear, lies global union. We are all brought together by the need and hope to make it through this tumultuous period in our history. For the first time in a very long, we are all forced to be still and address our health and wellness in a very serious way. I know everyone is wondering right now what we can do to protect our own health and the health of our loved ones. I'll be giving you my favorite quick, easy, and science-backed methods for strengthening your immune system and protecting yourself from getting sick.

For the first time in a very long, we are all forced to be still and address our health and wellness in a very serious way.

Here are six tips and tricks to consider when trying to strengthen your immune system. Whether you decide to do one or try them all, I think any number would be a great addition to your daily routine to keep you healthier for longer.

Increase Your Intake Of Vitamin C

It's crucial that you take high doses anywhere from 1000 mg - 10000 mg per day. At the higher dosing level it is usually given intravenously; please check with your integrative practitioner if you think you need higher dosing (greater than 5000 mg). Vitamin C at high doses acts as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. The body also needs vitamin C to make collagen, which is vital to helping wounds heal.

I take a combination of oral vitamin C from Thorne, eat foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, and try to get an IV at least monthly. During this scary time, I would recommend getting at least weekly IV vitamin drips with high dose vitamin C.

Increase Your Intake Of A Variety of Mushrooms

Mushrooms work like magic when it comes to helping the body and treating ailments. Different types, taken as a whole, strengthen your immune system dramatically by targeting different aspects of the body.

A key reason mushrooms are such a game-changer when it comes to your immune system is Selenium. A powerful antioxidant that reduces DNA damage and oxidative stress. Studies show that increased blood levels of selenium are associated with enhanced immune response, specifically linked to influenza.

They also reduce cytokines and are rich in polysaccharides, which are connected to protecting you from colds and the flu by boosting your immune system. Mushrooms must be taken cautiously during this time as COVID-19 has also been shown to stimulate the immune system, and there are some concerns regarding a synergistic effect between mushrooms and COVID-19. At this time I would highly recommend discussing the use of mushrooms (because there are so many varities) with your integrative practitioner before you begin.

Decrease Your Stress Levels

It's a stressful time. As much as I can understand being stressed right now, try your best to practice ways to decrease your stress levels in order to keep yourself healthy (and happy!) during this period of anxiety.

High levels of continuous stress lead to near-constant suppression of your immune system. It can also cause issues with your digestive system and circulatory system, which only serves to further diminish your health.

During this time my yoga studio has even stopped offering their classes, which I understand given the circumstance of social distancing, but I cannot recommend yoga and meditation enough to decrease stress levels. Try doing yoga at home with Youtube videos along with meditating for at least 20 minutes a day.

Whether you decide to do one or try them all, I think any number would be a great addition to your daily routine to keep you healthier for longer.

If you don't have time for yoga, then just meditating every day can make a huge difference, not just with your mental health but your physical health as well. There have been many links made between meditation and decreases in inflammation.

Supplement Your Magnesium

I take magnesium supplements every day as well as try and take in magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium helps normalize muscle function in the body. Most importantly, magnesium helps the heart maintain a healthy rhythm, which regulates blood pressure and the production of cholesterol. This is all crucial in keeping a healthy immune system. Magnesium also benefits the body in a variety of other ways that can help protect you from sickness such as promoting better sleep.

I recommend oral magnesium from Thorne as well as eating magnesium rich foods like spinach, kale, bananas, avocados, and broccoli.

Fresh Garlic

As fresh as possible! Garlic can help boost your immune system fighting off viral infections while also lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure. This is because of the Allicin within garlic, and it's antioxidant properties. It's crucial to eat garlic raw or semi-cooked in order to benefit from these properties!

I recommend eating two to three cloves of garlic a day or even drinking it through garlic tea.

Oil Of Oregano

Oil of oregano is another herbal secret that is absolutely magical when it comes to boosting your immune system. The compounds in oregano oil have powerful antioxidant properties. It also has antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. These all decrease inflammation, which is key to modulating your immune system and keeping you healthy.

I mix my oil with some water in a shot glass and take it early in the mornings.

This article was originally published March 18, 2019.

5 min read
Self

Lessons Learned and the Power of Turning 50

Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.

I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.

I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.

Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.

My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.

I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.

When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.

So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.

Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.

And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.

This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.

I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.

I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.