This Will Be The Winter

This Will Be The Winter 
 You Don’t Get Sick

This Will Be The Winter


Everyone from your parents to your partner reminds you about the rules for feeling your best: Eat smart, get plenty of sleep, find your inner Zen— yada, yada, yada.
That advice gets old real fast, unless you dig deeper and understand why those tried-andtrue
tips add up to a healthier you. Think of it this way: If we’re all being exposed to the same
nasty germs, how come only some of us get sick?
The difference between who’s laid up in bed and who’s putting Jillian Michaels to shame comes down to immunity. Over the past several years, researchers have uncovered fascinating details about how our systems respond to pathogens on a cellular level. Case in point: One in 12 people infected with the common cold virus shows—wait for it—zero symptoms, a study from
McMaster University in Canada suggests. Let that sink in for a sec. If you shore up your immune system now, it can beat down invaders before you ever say “Achoo!” Studies like this have given us more insight than ever into how to protect ourselves from illness, whether it’s a sinus infection or cancer.
We tapped into the new knowhow to bring you 21 ways to turn your body into Fort Knox.

• Floss it up
the bacteria that cause gum disease also appear to trigger inflammation throughout the rest of the body. running some floss through your pearly whites at least once a day could protect you from both heart disease and cancer, adding 6.4 years to your life, says Michael F. roizen, M.D., author of The RealAge Makeover. Who knew a little string could wield so much power?

• Enjoy a good poke
not that kind of poke—we’re talking about acupuncture. Data suggests it stimulates the
body’s “natural killer” (nK) cells (yup, that’s their real name), which put the kibosh on
viruses and other illness inducers, so you get sick less frequently. Schedule an appointment
four times per year, at the change of the seasons, suggests Marc Sklar, l.ac., who practices in San Diego. you can locate an acupuncturist in your area at acufinder.com.

• Hit the hay
Between work, family and friends, it’s tough to squeeze everything you need to do into
a measly 24-hour day. unfortunately, sleep can’t be the thing that gives. Studies show
that even minor deprivation can cause an inflammatory effect in the body. this autoimmune
response throws all of your major systems (digestive, cardiovascular and centralnervous)
out of whack and can set the stage for several diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and depression. to maintain balance, you really do need to log seven to nine hours each night, says Mark liponis, M.D., medical director of Canyon ranch health resort in lenox, Mass.

• Sweat your butt off
You may think your muscles hate you during your morning jog, but your immune system is loving it—we swear! Engaging in at least 30 to 40 minutes of aerobic exercise every
day helps strengthen your virus-destroying T-cell and antibody response, advises Liponis. People who don’t exercise also tend to have higher levels of C-reactive protein, which the liver produces in response to inflammation— a big, waving red flag that your immune system
is spinning its wheels.

• Treat yourself to a massage
Most of us consider a pro session a birthday splurge or once-in-a-while luxury, but research has shown that regular rubdowns offer legit health benefits. According to a pilot study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, even a single
45-minute Swedish massage raises levels of a key antibody in healthy women. Now the question is, whom can you convince to give you a back rub tonight?

• Crank your spotify
another reason to blast your best Britney/Beyoncé mix?
listening to upbeat dance music for just 50 minutes can instantly boost your levels of a protective antibody that helps destroy bacteria and viruses.
Bonus: It also lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which compromises immune function.

• Make like a pretzel
not only will time on the yoga mat help you achieve balance, but it’ll do the same for your immunity.
Washington State university researchers found that breast cancer survivors who practiced Iyengar—a specific form of yoga that emphasizes precise alignment— three times a week for eight weeks displayed lower levels of a protein that gets triggered in response to stress. looking for a more low-key style? give hatha yoga and rhythmic breathing a whirl. university of texas scientists found it increases levels of diseasefighting antioxidants.

• Schedule Face time (not FaceTime) with Friends
remember those folks you used to have brunch with on the reg?
the ones who populate your social news feed with hilarious videos and lists? It’s time to bring the band back together in real life. people with a strong social support network offline tend to live longer than those who are more withdrawn, and a study of first-year med students at
the ohio State university could give a clue as to why: those who scored highest on tests measuring loneliness had fewer bacteriaand virus-whupping nK cells than their connected peers.

• Lol—literally
turns out your youtube animal-bloopers marathon is more than just an afternoon distraction: aside from relieving tension, a good laugh—or the anticipation of one—can increase the
number and functionality of nK cells, other t cells and antibodies, as per research out of loma linda university in California. your boss can’t argue with that, right? right.

• Put your back into it
tucked just behind your breastplate is your thymus, a pint-size gland where your t cells grow and mature. It basically captains your whole central nervous system, and if it gets overworked, you’re more likely to experience recurring bacterial or viral infections, allergies and fatigue. James Forleo, D.C., author of Health Is Simple, Disease Is
Complicated, recommends a chiropractic adjustment, which research suggests can help prevent immunological imbalance caused by misalignments in the spine.

• Take a Deeeeeep breath
It’s easy to take respiration for granted—after all, the process just happens without us having to think about it. But researchers from the university of Wisconsin– Madison found that healthy people who completed an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation and learned to pay attention to their breathing patterns produced significantly more antibodies in response to a flu vaccine than a control group. Wanna try it yourself?
For at least 20 minutes each day, sit quietly and concentrate on slowing your inhale exhale
cycle. repeat the process anytime you’re feeling distracted or stressed.

Nourishing noshes  
taste the rainbow Forget Skittles—think oranges, berries and spinach. Color equals
antioxidants, which wipe out disease-causing free radicals. Aim for six to eight servings daily, plus a cup of cruciferous green veggies at least three times a week, says Michelle Babb, R.D., a nutritionist in Seattle.

Nourishing noshes

Dial Down the Sugar
You certainly don’t have to deny your sweet tooth entirely, but it’s a good idea to cut back on foods and drinks that list sugar, cane juice or sucrose in the first three ingredients.
Each of those cloying substances dampens the effectiveness of your white blood cells, making it harder for your body to fight off invaders.
Instead, opt for nibbles that have been enhanced with agave nectar, fruit juice or honey.

embrace garlic breath
Vampire jokes aside, the onion cousin does a lot of good when it comes to warding off evil (microbes, that is). One or two cloves of garlic a day is enough to provide antibacterial advantages, says Lise Alschuler, N.D., fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology. You can also take a garlic extract supplement, such as EuroPharma’s GarliMed (visit europharmausa.com for store locations), which contains allicin and the other potent antimicrobial compounds minus the odor.

Drink more Tea
Even if you’re a Starbucks Gold Card–carrying member of Team Coffee, consider sipping two to four cups of black, green, oolong and pekoe brew every once in a while. Research suggests that L-theanine, a compound found in those four varieties, may help T cells defend against invading bacteria.
Plus, you’ll get a boost of amino acids, antioxidants and dietary phenols, which inhibit the

growth of harmful bacteria in your gut. Take it plain (without milk or sugar) to get the biggest benefits.

All Fitness   ____ This Will Be The Winter

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