Ge­nius ways to flu-proof your body

Woman's World - - Contents - Brenda Kearns

Even if you’re among the 43% of Amer­i­cans who got their flu shot, it still pays to take pre­cau­tions— last year’s vac­cine was only 36% ef­fec­tive. The good news: These strate­gies kick-start your im­mune sys­tem’s pro­duc­tion of strong, feisty, flu- de­stroy­ing white blood cells— boost­ing im­mu­nity in as lit­tle as 48 hours! En­joy “me time”

Some lucky folks are ac­tu­ally flure­sis­tant—they don’t get sick even when they in­hale live viruses, say Univer­sity of Michi­gan re­searchers. What’s their happy se­cret? Mak­ing time ev­ery day for lit­tle lux­u­ries, like read­ing, craft­ing or soak­ing in the tub. Turns out, as stress lev­els drop, your pro­duc­tion of virus-killing an­ti­bod­ies rises! Aus­tralian re­searchers say tak­ing care of your own needs for 40 min­utes daily could plunge flu risk by 42% in two days!

Up your D-3

At least 25 stud­ies prove vi­ta­min D-3 sup­ple­ments pre­vent flu more ef­fec­tively than even vac­cines— cut­ting risk of ill­ness by 50%! “D-3 kick-starts the pro­duc­tion of virus-de­stroy­ing com­pounds,” ex­plains Michael Holick, M.D., a pro­fes­sor at Bos­ton Univer­sity School of Medicine. The proven dose: 3,000 IU daily. Note: Check with your doc­tor be­fore tak­ing sup­ple­ments.

Munch on car­rots

Crunch­ing on 1 cup of car­rots daily could triple your body’s abil­ity to kill in­vad­ing flu viruses, sug­gests re­search in The Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal Nu­tri­tion. Study co-au­thor Ian Young, PH.D., ex­plains that beta-carotene in car­rots revs your pro­duc­tion of key an­tivi­ral com­pounds. Other great sources in­clude sweet pota­toes and greens. Tip: Cook­ing veg­eta­bles—and sprin­kling with pep­per— boosts beta-carotene ab­sorp­tion by 60%.

Don a sleep mask

If your sleep is dis­rupted by light—from your alarm clock or the morn­ing sun— don­ning a sleep mask could rev your flu pro­tec­tion by as much as 31%. A Ja­panese re­search team found that when women get at least seven hours of un­in­ter­rupted sleep nightly, their pro­duc­tion of virus-killing im­mune cells shoots up by 40%— of­ten in one week. —

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