Seven secrets to avoiding sickness

Do you ever wonder why you catch a cold each year but your friends remain unscathed? Well, there are some secrets to not getting sick. Here are seven of them.

1. Mind over matter
The mind is a powerful weapon against getting sick. There are many theories as to how the mind can help prevent sickness and, in some cases, even promote healing. One such theory is that every feeling, thought and emotion creates a molecule called a neuropeptide. These travel through your body and are converted into chemicals that let your body know if it should be happy or sad, depending on your state of mind. These same molecules, in theory, could be responsible for telling your body it’s sick. So if you think ‘healthy’ you may just improve your chances of staying healthy.

2. Stress less
Sure, it sounds easy. Stress is proven to weaken your immune system and, as we all know, a strong immune system means you’re less likely to fall ill. So practice your anti-stress techniques, such as exercise, meditation, yoga or giving yourself positive affirmations, and get a handle on stress. Massage is another very effective way to minimise stress – it reduces anxiety, blood pressure and your heart rate – all symptoms of high stress.

3. Eat a healthy, varied diet
Forget the fad diets. Instead, eat a wide variety of healthy foods, to ensure that you get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to stay healthy. Build your meals around vegetables instead of meat, with a focus on non-starchy veggies, such as asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms. Make sure you add plenty of fruit to your diet too. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that are essential for maintaining a strong immune system.

Green tea is also high in antioxidants and can also increase your regulatory T-cells, which are an important type of immune cell. And try to include foods such as yoghurt with live, active cultures, and fermented foods that contain probiotics that look after your gut bacteria.

4. Aim for more sexy times
People who have sex more often are less likely to fall ill, according to research from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania. Sex increases your levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is an important immune system protein.

5. Wash your hands
One of the most common ways for people to get sick is through touch. Your hands are home to a barrage of bacteria and when you touch your face, mouth, eyes and nose – which we all do an estimated 16 times per hour – these bacteria pass from external to internal and make you sick. The best way to sort this is not with antibacterial hand sanitiser, as many would believe, but by thoroughly and regularly washing your hands. So get your digits under warm water and wash with soap for at least 20 seconds, then dry completely. If you can’t find your way to a basin, then the antibacterial wipes or hand sanitiser will do the trick in the meantime, but look for sanitisers with at least 60 per cent alcohol.

6. Sleep it off
When you feel yourself coming down with something, or you just don’t feel yourself, it may be time to power down. There’s no point pushing through illness when the best way to combat it is with rest. Research shows that people who sleep for five to six hours are four times as likely to catch a cold or other virus compared to those who get more than seven hours each night.

7. Other cold killers
At the first sign of cold, you should increase your water intake, pop some vitamin C or find yourself a zinc supplement. However, if you’re following a healthy eating plan, you’ll most likely have this covered. But then, if that were the case, you’ll probably have no need to read this article!

Do you have any tips for how to stay healthy? Why not share them with our members?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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