We all know people who never get a cold, even if everyone around them is sneezing and suffering. Perhaps they own the ancient secret of heroic health. Well, or the whole secret is in healthy habits. Research shows that you, too, can boost your immune system and become a real superhero, immune to bacilli and viruses.
Do not self-medicate!
In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and the opinions of authoritative health experts. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.
Here’s what people do to feel good all year round:
1. They rest
Are you stealing hours of sleep? Steal your health too. The researchers found that people who slept less than seven hours a night were three times more likely to develop colds than those who slept a full eight hours. To summarize: seven to eight hours are optimal, no more, less too.
2. They get vaccinated against the flu
The flu vaccine is effective 50 to 60 percent of the time, and if you do get it, your symptoms won’t be as severe. What’s more, studies show that the vaccine reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or other serious heart problems (including the risk of death!), by a third. Even if the vaccine is not ideal for the current flu strain, you will still be partially protected.
3. They don’t smoke
From childhood we know that smoking is bad, smoking is harmful, we must quit if we have already begun. But people still smoke. And very in vain, because those who quit this addiction (or never started) get sick much less often.
Cigarette smoke damages the mucous membranes that act as a first barrier against infections, and as a result, smokers get colds about twice as often as nonsmokers (and get the flu even more!). Smoking also suppresses the entire immune system, which leads not only to diseases of the heart and lungs, but also contributes to the development of cancer of the bladder, blood, cervix, rectum, esophagus, kidneys, larynx, liver, lungs and other organs.
4. They sweat
A study by cancer scientists found that postmenopausal women who exercise regularly are less likely to get colds compared to women who lead a less active lifestyle (not sedentary, just less active). The former had about half as many colds in a year as the latter. Physical activity promotes an increase in immune cells in the blood and saliva. 45 minutes a day, five days a week, and everything will be fine.
5. They wash and wash and wash
Microbial threats can be washed away with regular soap and warm water. Using antibacterial soap is unnecessary and even harmful: a study found that people who used such harsh products had just as many colds as those who washed their hands with regular soap. You don’t need to maniacally rub your palms to dryness and cracks, but when you come from the street and before eating, it’s a must. And at least 20 seconds.
6. They communicate
A healthy social life can help keep you healthy. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon infected test subjects with the common cold virus and watched who sneezed first. To their surprise, sociable people fell ill much less often – with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances, more often going out and talking with people.
This phenomenon doesn’t just apply to the common cold—if people with strong social ties face hardships, they are less likely to get sick and even die than recluses. The researchers attribute the results to the anti-stress protective effect of friendship. We are known to be social beings.
7. They love to laugh
The pure truth: your favorite comedy can help your body. Surprised? In one US study, healthy women who watched videos of their favorite comedians showed unusually high activity of the body’s NK cells. These are infection-fighting lymphocytes, also known as natural killer cells. A woman who watched a video about tourism did not have a similar effect. However, perhaps these were very sad videos, and the subjects had not gone on vacation for a long time.
8. They stay positive
The same study found that happy, relaxed people were about three times less likely to get sick than those who suffered from depression, anxiety, and stress. This is explained quite simply: a positive attitude towards life reduces the level of stress hormones (cortisol, for example), which weaken the body’s defenses.