We all know one person that seems to never get sick. While the entire office is sniffling, sneezing, coughing and drinking gallons of green tea, there is always that one outlier who sits humming contentedly at their computer screen, seemingly immune to the viruses surrounding them. How is it possible that they never get ill, while you seem to contract every strain of cold and flu that goes around? There are no hard facts on this phenomenon, but chances are their lifestyle has a lot to do with their ability to fight off illnesses.
Secrets for Avoiding the Cold
Get enough exercise
In a 2010 study, it was found that the rate of upper respiratory tract infections was significantly reduced in adults who were physically fit and frequently active. During the study, a group of 1,002 adults between the ages of 18 and 85 were followed for 12 weeks during the fall and winter seasons. Symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections were monitored, as well as the frequency of aerobic activity. The results showed that the number of days and frequency of symptoms were reduced by almost 50% in those that reported exercising more than 5 days a week. 1
Even if you can’t fit in a trip to the gym every morning, try to sneak in a quick walk during your coffee break, or bike to the grocery store instead of taking the car. The more exercise you fit into your daily routine, the more energized you’ll begin to feel.
Reduce stress levels
Thousands of studies have been conducted on the negative effects of chronic stress on the immune system. A meta-analysis published in 2006 gave an overview of these findings. In a series of experiments conducted on mice, it was found that acute stress helped to enhance the immune response, while chronic stress actually suppressed the immune response. While short bursts of stress can actually help the immune system function more effectively, longer periods of chronic stress can reduce the immune response and allow harmful pathogens to enter the body. 2
Looming bills, relationship struggles, a demanding boss and daily obligations can all lead to unhealthy levels of stress. While permanently reducing stress in your life is an ongoing process, taking time each day to meditate and focus on yourself can help you feel more at peace. To help set a relaxing atmosphere, diffuse calming essential oils throughout your home. Some good, relaxing oils to start off with are lavender, roman chamomile, frankincense, and ylang ylang
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
In an alarming study recently conducted by the University of Bonn in Germany, a Western diet is found to be linked to an over-functioning immune system. The Western diet in question is marked by being high-calorie, high-fat, and low-fiber. This particular diet was fed to mice over the course of one month. After just one month on this diet, the mice showed inflammatory responses that are often seen during bacterial infections. In the longer term, a Western diet can make the immune system hyper-responsive, which can lead to higher levels of inflammation and cause a variety of different diseases. 3
While grabbing a cheeseburger every once in a while won’t lead to a permanently altered immune system, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. A healthy diet also means ensuring that you are properly hydrated, as well as avoiding excessive amounts of alcohol and caffeine. A diet that includes the proper amounts of recommended vitamins and minerals can help keep your immune system functioning properly and allow you to fight off many infections.
So They're Not Superhuman?
Contrary to popular belief, that person that never seems to get ill doesn’t have any superhuman abilities. Chances are they are living a lifestyle that allows them to have a properly functioning immune system, which in turn allows them to stay healthier for longer periods of time. No one is completely immune to all illnesses, and even those who follow the strictest regimens will become ill from time to time. Even so, consistent exercise, reduced levels of stress and a healthy, balanced diet can all work together to help ward off the common cold. Combining a healthy lifestyle with frequent hand washing, proper sleep, and natural remedies can do wonders for your health!
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