Is there anything more annoying than a summer cold? Yes, a bunch of stuff, including the stomach flu and a winter cold.
Wouldn’t be nice to be one of those people who seem never to catch such irksome ailments? Well, some of those folks are running on naturally strong immunity. But, you can dramatically reduce the number of colds and flu you suffer by adopting these habits and behaviors according to Health.com.
1. Wash your hands – They started telling us this in kindergarten, and they were right. We pick up all sorts of germs as we go through the day, and every time we touch a hand to our mouth or eye – or food, we are providing express service for all sorts of nastiness. Wash your hands before you eat, after the restroom, and on a regular basis throughout the day.
2. Stay positive – The connection is still mysterious, but there is significant evidence that thinking positive thoughts activates the part of the brain that produces flu antibodies. Staying positive, and practicing meditation-like activities also reduces illness-inducing stress.
3. Get a massage – See? Not all healthy habits are a drag? A monthly massage (more often is better) is proven to reduce blood pressure, stress and anxiety. This, in turn, boosts immunity. You want a firm but not-too-hard massage in order to maximize the benefits.
4. Take a cold shower – Not for that! Believers in the cold shower say it will boost your energy, relieve migraines, improve circulation and reduce pain. Devotees suggest starting with a cold blast at the end of your usual hot shower, then working up to more time under the chilly water. Whatever. I tried this a couple of years ago. And while it can be invigorating to be doused in icy water, I saw no lasting benefits.
5. Eat ginger – It’s not a wives’ tale, ginger ale does settle your tummy. Because it contains…ginger, which scientists believe has many benefits to the digestive tract, including toning your intestinal muscles and helping food move through the system.
6. Garlic, too – Garlic is a super food proven to be high in immunity-building and inflammation-fighting antioxidants. If you don’t care for the taste, there are very effective garlic extract supplements available.
7. Take vitamin C and zinc – While the jury is still out on whether these supplements can really prevent colds, experts say C shows some promise in that area, especially for people who are under a lot of stress. Take 500 mg of vitamin C when you start to feel a cold coming on. Never take more than 2,000 mg a day as it can mess with your digestion and/kidneys.
All in all, these are simple (and even enjoyable) habits to adopt. If they prevent even one summer cold or stomach flu, I’d say they are changes worth making. Except maybe that cold shower thing.