With the majority of the country staying at home, there’s never been a better time to focus on
your health. Strengthening your immune system can go a long way in helping you stay healthy, not just now, but going forward. Eating more plants is one thing you should do, but what else can you do to safeguard your health? To answer that question, we tapped Joel Kahn, MD, founder of the Kahn Center for Cardiac Longevity in Bingham Farms, Michigan, and author of Lipoprotein(a), the Heart’s Quiet Killer (Book Publishing Company, 2020), to find out what’s he’s doing and what he recommends for others.

Q: How are you keeping yourself healthy?  Have you ramped up any of your habits?

Dr. Kahn: I’ve actually upped the game on many of them, starting with sleep. In the last five years, I completely changed my philosophy about sleep. Like other doctors, I was trained to survive on five hours of sleep, which we always viewed as a badge of honor, but a few years ago, I began focusing on seven hours of sleep a night. Since the virus, I’m now taking a milligram of melatonin before bed – there’s evidence it could optimize the immune system – and a full dose of full-spectrum hemp oil. The combination is making me sleep like a baby.

I’m also focusing more on stress management, namely by listening to binaural beats, calming music that’s been helpful in my office and at home. Plus, if you have music on, you don’t have
CNN on, and while I’m keeping up to date with current happenings, I’m minimizing my exposure to national news. And I’ve added in Kirtan Kriya yoga meditation, which studies suggest can aid stress, immune function, and brain health.

Q: What about your diet? How has that changed?

Dr. Kahn: While my diet has been plant-based and healthy for decades, I’m adding even more of the most therapeutic foods like purple cabbage, recently harvested sprouts, onions, and garlic. I’m also eating gigantic salads, which I always did, but they’re now the center of my meals. And while many people are concerned whether their first class after this will either be at AA or a weight loss center, I’ve actually lost a couple of pounds because of home confinement.

Q: And what does your exercise program consist of these days?

Kahn: I do 20 minutes of treadmill running or biking and then 10 to 15 minutes of free weights, standing on a vibrating Power Plate in front of a red light therapy panel. I also practice the 5 Tibetans yoga flow daily Just know that more exercise isn’t better. Everybody should be exercising, but keep it under 60 minutes. Anything over that could cause inflammation and affect your immune system.

Q: So for readers who are worried about gaining weight, what can you tell them?

Dr. Kahn: Don’t eat crap, which means carbonated drinks, refined sugars, artificial sugars, and processed foods.  Don’t buy that stuff, and if you have it in the house, lock it up. Get it out of sight and out of mind. And then just like you should replace CNN with Mozart, have a bowl with oranges on the counter and reach for that when you get the munchies. Just seeing healthy food will encourage you to eat it.

Q: What other immune-strengthening habits should readers be doing to protect themselves?

Dr. Kahn: There’s a concept that supplements may promote immune health. And before people get on me about this, this comes from the chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at East Virginia Medical School, Dr. Paul Marik, who’s suggested that a protocol he’s using with critically ill COVID-19 patients may have some value as a prophylaxis. He sent it to me, and every day, I’m taking 500 milligrams of vitamin C twice a day, 50 milligrams of zinc for the next month, one milligram of melatonin at night, 4000 IU of vitamin D and 500 milligrams of quercetin. (For more information, visit this site.

Q: Is there anything extra people who are at greater risk be doing? Other than staying home, social distancing and washing their hands.

Dr. Kahn: Exactly everything you’ve said. And if they’ve never had optimal sleep or diet, now’s the time to embrace and incorporate these things.

Dr. Joel Kahn is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, and author of the bestsellers: The Whole Heart Solution, Dead Execs Don't Get Bonuses, Vegan SexVegans Do It Better, The Plant-Based Solution and owner of GreenSpace & Go.