Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Round Up – Sally Cronin


I began this series 10 weeks ago with the aim of offering some strategies to increasing our resilience to disease. Not just Covid-19 but any opportunistic pathogen who feels we might make a good host.

Since then the world has struggled to return to normal, with varying success and a great deal of uncertainty. However, it is becoming clear that the experts can not find a consensus on what will happen next, whether the virus will fizzle out, or come back as a second wave or an annual event.

The fact that the supermarkets have erected permanent perspex barriers for cashiers and service industries such as hairdressing have done the same, seems to indicate that we will need to take precautions to stay infection free for some considerable time to come.

I believe that we need to take responsibility for our own health where possible, and since the majority of modern disease is lifestyle related offers plenty of scope!

What has not changed is our role in what comes next.

Our bodies may have genetic tendencies towards some specific diseases. But the vast majority of health issues are lifestyle related and involve our own decisions about what we eat and drink, how much exercise we take, and what harmful contaminants we ingest or inhale.

I am not guiltless as far as this is concerned and I was 42 years old before I starting taking back control of my body and its health. Twenty-five years on I hope that the changes I made to my diet and lifestyle at that point was enough. At 330lbs with high Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar levels, and high levels of the most unhealthy Low Density Cholesterol, I was told I would be lucky to reach 45 years old.

And if that had been today, it would have put me smack bang in the middle of the most vulnerable to the infection.

As more and more analysis is done on the pandemic and those that were infected and tragically died; risk factors have been more clearly defined. Obesity is very high up on that list.

With any respiratory infection being severely overweight is a risk. When I weighed 330lbs 25 years ago, I could not lie on my back because the weight of the fat on my chest and stomach restricted the movement of my lungs. Just walking made me extremely out of breath, and I was not getting sufficient oxygen into my system.

Other risk factors.

This leads directly into the identified key risk factors for all ages during the pandemic which include obesity, underlying health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, respiratory diseases such as COPD and heart conditions. Being deficient in Vitamin D for example has also been included in this list although there has been some doubt raised recently. However, Vitamin D is a very important element of our general health and that of our immune system, and as such it plays a vital role in limiting our susceptibility to infections.

The most at risk members of our society are those over 65 years old, not just because they are more likely to have underlying health issues, but because the human body as it ages goes through some fundamental changes in structure and function.

For example, we are more likely to become less active and our lungs, which are the organs most impacted by a respiratory virus, stiffen and do not have the flexibility to work effectively enough to get rid of the infection.

There is also a likelihood of a suppressed immune system and that can be the result of a deficiency of essential nutrients. This happens when a person begins to eat less due to lack of activity and appetite, but also due to a less efficient digestive system.

More older people have dental issues and opt for foods that are easier to eat and are missing components such as fibre.

Stomach acid may be less and therefore food is not in the right format when it passes into the intestines to have nutrients extracted and passed into the bloodstream.

There is also a severe risk of Vitamin D deficiency in older members of our society who are less active and particularly those who are in care homes who have restricted access to the outside. This risk however, is not limited to the older generation as scientists have identified a high percentage of Covid – 19 patients are deficient in the vitamin.

The majority of men and women over 65 are also on a cocktail of prescribed medication that have side effects such as blood pressure pills, other heart medications and Statins for cholesterol. And whilst you should not stop taking any drugs that have been prescribed for you by your doctor, there is an opportunity that working with them, you could reduce your need for them over time.

One of the key issues facing us as we get older is inflammation within the body and is a result of our own immune system going into overdrive resulting in arthritis, myocarditis – inflammation in the heart resulting in breathing problems, inflammation in the small vessels in the lungs, water retention and in the kidneys resulting in high blood pressure. Inflammation in  the brain is also a cause of memory loss and dementia.

Issues that I covered in Project 101 – Resilience.

The posts encouraged small changes over a period of time to improve both function and resilience of the body so that should you catch a virus, including Covid-19 you are better equipped to fight off the infection.

To back up the posts I created pages of the relevant series such as weight loss that you can read in full should you wish to find out more. This includes the entire Size Matters the Sequel series of 17 Chapters that I have put into one page that you can bookmark and read at your leisure. I also created other pages that I hope will make them easier to access for reference.

Among the topics I covered:

  • Weight loss and some hacks that helped me lose over 150lbs
  • Inflammation in the body and brain one of the leading causes of disease
  • Lung function improvement and how to breathe.
  • Immune system boosting
  • Vitamin D and its vital role in keeping our bodies safe.
  • Exercise – keeping moving and the body functioning.
  • Flexibility – not just in body but in mind.
  • Blood Pressure – we need it to pump blood around our bodies, but too high and it can be dangerous.
  • Type II Diabetes and Pre-diabetes – risk factors that are simple to reverse
  • The Brain – The control centre of the body and it needs to be treated with respect.
  • Stress and its impact on weight and major organs such as the heart.
  • Acidity and Alkalinity in the body and how are creating the perfect environment for pathogens.
  • Candida Albicans

The hopeful outcome of the series.

I cannot promise that if you lose weight, improve your blood pressure, reduce your risk of diabetes, address inflammation in your body and great a better acidity/alkaline balance in your body that you won’t catch Covid-19… but I do hope it might give you a fighting chance in avoiding serious complications.

If you missed the posts and the pages here is a list that you can dip into at your leisure. I will be putting them together at some point as a book but I hope you will find useful in the meantime.

The Posts.

  1. The start of the project, my story and weight loss part one.
  2. Improving lung function, Weight loss hack – The Power of One
  3. Weight Loss Hack No 2 – Improving lung function No 2,
  4. Chronic Inflammation and the Immune System
  5. Sleep Part One – Weight Loss, Heart function and Immune System
  6. #Sleep Strategies and Music Therapy
  7. Flexibility – An Apple a Day
  8. How much do you get for your 1500 calories
  9. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part One
  10. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Two
  11. Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Three
  12. Vitamin D Deficiency Part One
  13. Vitamin D Deficiency Part Two – Getting Sufficient
  14. The importance of a healthy gut (part one)
  15. The importance of a healthy gut (part two) #Candida
  16. The importance of a healthy gut (part three) #Candida

The Pages

Thanks for all the support during the series and I hope that you have found useful. As always your feedback is much appreciated.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020