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How to Boost Your Immunity: Obvious and Less Obvious Ways
Saturday, 09 February 2008

Your immunity is your self-defense system. It needs to be strong enough to keep bacteria and viruses from entering your body and multiplying, and to reestablish health when disease does gain a foothold. The immunity in a person can be considerably effected by the lifestyle of that person. People who catch cold, can recover quicker, and in some cases even prevent catching cold in the first place, as long as they help their bodies to improve its immunity. There are some well-known ways to improve your self-defense system and there are some surprising ways that are less obvious to us. Let's discuss both of them!

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What are the obvious ways?

Your immunity is your health. I think we all know simple rules to stay healthy. Why do we often forget about them?:) All of them work for your immunity as well. So if you want to improve your self-defense system you should always remember these simple rules. I will call them "4 basic rules of health."

1. Move a lot: we all know that movement is extremely important for our health, so walk, run, dance, exercise, just move! Read more about the importance of movement, and I hope this article will motivate you to move a lot.

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2. Eat well and drink water: We are what we eat. What else can I say? A lot of books have been written about healthy food and healthy eating, but I will repeat it again: we all know what is healthy and what is not. Maybe there are some disputable products that cannot be considered healthy or not for sure. But who doesn’t know that fruits and vegetables are healthy and alcohol is not healthy? Read more about healthy food and celebrity health secrets (they are real dieting experts!), and do not forget to drink 8 glasses of water daily!

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3. Get enough sleep and establish a daily routine: Sleep is considered to be the easiest of all beauty treatments, and it is also among the most effective. Heard the term "beauty sleep"? Well it’s not grandmotherly lore. Try setting a "bedtime" for yourself and try to stick to it. Prescribed 7-8 hours of sound sleep is important for your health and beauty. I should say that habits are important not only for sleep. Try to eat, exercise, work at the same time every day. A good routine is a real gift to your body, this way it will always get ready for the next activity.

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4. Be happy: Avoid stress! Unmanaged stress does more to rob us of energy than anything else. Stress generates negative emotions, disrupts sleep, fosters poor eating habits and interferes with exercise routines. In addition, stress hormones can wreak havoc on our cardiovascular and immune systems. The results can be disastrous for outsmarting the status quo. Learning proper ways to respond to stress is an essential life skill. Yoga, deep breathing and meditation are all great options and should be incorporated into a daily routine. Your good mood is the key to success!

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I’m sure that these simple rules will make you much healthier! They are true for everybody everywhere. Just don’t forget about them! It’s not difficult to follow these rules, just develop a habit! And soon it will be difficult for you not to follow them!

What are less obvious ways to improve your immunity?

Scientists always research and get surprising results:) "We're still in the horse-and-buggy era of understanding how the immune system works," Lee Berk says, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine, "but we do have a few pieces of the puzzle. Research shows that when you do simple, everyday activities that make you feel good, you also stay healthier. This is a case of science catching up with intuition." Here are some of those ways.

Listen to Beethoven (or Britney)

Listening to music can boost your immunity, but it has to be music you love. "Something that calms one person might rile another," Berk says. "The trick is finding music that soothes your soul." Scientists at McGill University in Montreal found that listening to music that sent "shivers down the spine" or that gave people chills stimulated the same "feel-good" parts of the brain that are activated by food and sex. "Even better than listening to music is making it," says Bittman, who found that people who took part in an amateur group-drumming session had greatly enhanced natural killer-cell activity afterward.

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Turn down the volume

Noise hurts more than your ears. Any unwanted and intrusive sound can trigger muscle tension, speed heartbeat, constrict blood vessels and cause digestive upsets - the same response your body has to being startled or stressed. Chronic exposure to noise can lead to even longer-lasting changes in blood pressure, cholesterol levels and immune function. Cornell University research found that women who work in moderately noisy offices produce more of the stress hormone adrenaline and may be more vulnerable to heart disease than women who work in quiet offices. Even worse are unwelcome sounds you perceive as uncontrollable, such as car alarms, barking dogs and P.A. systems. Try to take control over the noise in your environment, even if it means wearing earplugs or asking the restaurant owner or gym manager to turn down the music.

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Go out and mingle

Your immune system likes it when you spend time with friends. "We have phenomenal data showing the value of nurturing, social support and camaraderie," says neurologist Barry Bittman, M.D., CEO of the Mind-Body Wellness Center in Meadville, Pa. In one such study, researchers exposed people to a cold virus and then monitored how many contacts those people had with friends, family, co-workers and members of church and community groups. The more social contacts the people had - and the more diverse the contacts - the less likely they were to catch the cold. Touch is important too: Giving or getting hugs or other forms of touch can boost the activity of the natural killer cells that seek out and destroy cancer cells or cells that have been invaded by viruses.

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Look on the bright side

The immune system takes many of its cues from our thoughts and feelings, so try to keep your outlook upbeat. Years ago, Mayo Clinic researchers found that people who were optimists in their youth tended to live 12 years longer than pessimists. A recent study by Anna L. Marsland, Ph.D., R.N., a psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, found that people who were negative, moody, nervous and easily stressed had a weaker immune response to a hepatitis vaccination than their more positive peers. Negativity is a personality trait that's difficult to change, but if wearing rose-colored glasses can improve your immunity, why not try on a pair?

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Laugh out loud

While painful emotions like anger and grief can impair health, laughter does the opposite. A real belly laugh increases infection-fighting antibodies and boosts natural killer-cell activity, says Berk, who has shown students funny videos and measured their immune systems' response. "Even anticipating a humorous encounter can enhance immunity," he says. "It happens at the molecular level." Laughter also increases circulation, stimulates digestion, lowers blood pressure and reduces muscle tension.

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Use your brain

Certain kinds of thinking may boost immunity. University of California, Berkeley, neuroscientist Marian Diamond, Ph.D., found that playing bridge stimulated women's immune systems. Her research is the first to show a connection between the immune system and the part of the brain that handles planning, memory, initiative, judgment and abstract thinking. Says Diamond: "Any mental activity that uses one or a combination of these intellectual functions might benefit immune activity."

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Douse the night light

Only when it's really dark does your body produce melatonin, a hormone that helps prevent certain diseases. Not sleeping enough, or being exposed to light during the night, decreases melatonin production and boosts estrogen levels, increasing breast-cancer risk. In fact, recent studies have found a height-ended risk of breast cancer - up to 60 percent - among women who work the graveyard shift, and possibly an even greater increase among women with the brightest bedrooms. Not surprisingly, blind women have an approximate 20-50 percent reduction in breast-cancer risk. Even a dim source like a bedside clock or a night light may switch melatonin production off, so keep your bedroom as dark as possible.

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I hope these obvious and less obvious ways will help you to take care of your self-defense system. Remember about your health not only when you lose it, but all the time! Love your body, take care of it!


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