The Secret to Prevent You From Getting Sick

 

1. Eat green vegetables

Green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins that help you maintain a balanced diet — and support a healthy immune system. According to a study of mice, eating cruciferous vegetablessends a chemical signal to the body that boosts specific cell-surface proteins necessary for efficient immune-system function. In this study, healthy mice deprived of green vegetables lost 70 to 80 percent of cell-surface proteins.

 
2. Get Vitamin D

Reports indicate that many Americans fall short of their daily vitamin D requirements. Deficiencies in vitamin D may lead to symptoms such as poor bone growth, cardiovascular problems, and a weak immune system.

Results from a 2012 study in the journal Pediatricssuggest that all children should be checked for adequate vitamin D levels. This is especially important for those with dark skin, since they don’t get vitamin D as easily from exposure to sunlight.

Foods that are good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon, canned tuna, and beef liver. You can also buy vitamin D supplements at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Choose supplements that contain D3 (cholecalciferol), since it’s better at raising your blood levels of vitamin D.

3. Keep moving

Staying active by following a regular exercise routine — such as walking three times a week — does more than keep you fit and trim. According to a study published in the journal Neurologic Clinicians, regular exercise also:

  • keeps inflammation and chronic disease at bay
  • reduces stress and the release of stress-related hormones
  • accelerates the circulation of disease-fighting white blood cells (WBCs), which helps the body fight the common cold
4. Get enough sleep

Getting adequate sleep is extremely important if you’ve been exposed to a virus, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Healthy adult participants who slept a minimum of eight hours each night over a two-week period showed a greater resistance to the virus. Those who slept seven hours or less each night were about three percent more likely to develop the virus after exposure.

One reason may be that the body releases cytokines during extended periods of sleep. Cytokines are a type of protein. They help the body fight infection by regulating the immune system.

5. Skip the alcohol

New research shows that drinking alcohol can damage the body’s dendritic cells, a vital component of the immune system. An increase in alcohol consumption over time can increase a person’s exposure to bacterial and viral infections.

A studyTrusted Source in the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology compared the dendritic cells and immune system responses in alcohol-fed mice to mice that hadn’t been supplied alcohol. Alcohol suppressed the immunity in mice to varying degrees. Doctors say the study helps explain why vaccines are less effective for people with alcohol addiction.

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6. Calm down

For years, doctors suspected there was a connection between chronic mental stress and physical illness. Finding an effective way to regulate personal stress may go a long way toward better overall health, according to a 2012 study published by the National Academy of Sciences. Try practicing yoga or meditation to relieve stress.

Cortisol helps the body fight inflammation and disease. The constant release of the hormone in people who are chronically stressed lessens its overall effectiveness. This can result in increased inflammation and disease, as well as a less effective immune system.

 
7. Drink green tea

For centuries, green tea has been associated with good health. Green tea’s health benefits may be due to its high level of antioxidants, called flavonoids.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, several fresh-brewed cups a day can lead to potential health benefits. These include lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

8. Add color to meals

Do you have trouble remembering to eat your fruits and vegetables at every meal? Cooking with all colors of the rainbow will help you get a wide range of vitamins such as vitamin C. While there’s no evidence that vitamin C can reduce the severity or length of illness, a 2006 study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutritionshows that it may help the immune system ward off colds and flus, especially in those who are stressed.

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9. Be social

Doctors have long seen a connection between chronic disease and loneliness, especially in people recovering from heart surgery. Some health authorities even consider social isolation a risk factor for chronic diseases.

Research published by the American Psychological Association suggests that social isolation may increase stress, which slows the body’s immune response and ability to heal quickly. In the study, male rats were slightly more susceptible to damage from social isolation than females.

10. Get a flu vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source recommends that all people over six months of age get a yearly flu vaccine. However, exceptions should be made for certain people, including those who have severe allergic reactions to chicken eggs. A severe allergy leads to symptoms such as hives or anaphylaxis.

People who have had severe reactions to influenza vaccinations in the pastshould also avoid yearly vaccines. In rare instances, the vaccine may lead to the development of Guillain-Barré syndromeTrusted Source.

11. Practice good hygiene

Limiting your exposure to illness by avoiding germs is key to remaining healthy. Here are some other ways to practice good hygiene:

  • Shower daily.
  • Wash your hands before eating or preparing food.
  • Wash your hands before inserting contact lenses or performing any other activity that brings you in contact with the eyes or mouth.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds and scrub under your fingernails.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Carry an alcohol-based hand cleaner for on-the-go use. Disinfect shared surfaces, such as keyboards, telephones, doorknobs, and remote controls.
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12. Keep it personal

Flu viruses can generally survive on surfaces for 24 hours, according to the National Health Service. That leaves plenty of time for germs to spread among family members. Just one sick child can pass an illness to an entire family in the right setting.

To avoid sharing germs, keep personal items separate. Personal items include:

  • toothbrushes
  • towels
  • utensils
  • drinking glasses

Wash contaminated items — especially toys that are shared — in hot, soapy water. When in doubt, opt for disposable drinking cups, utensils, and towels.

Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

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Your lymphatic system is an important part of your immune system, designed to rid the body of waste. When functioning properly, it eliminates waste through respiratory movement and natural muscle contractions.

That being said, toxins, cellular waste, and fluid will build up when the lymphatic system and lymph nodes fail to properly drain. A lymphatic drainage massage may be an effective option, especially if you’ve had surgery on your lymph nodes.

Surgery and other damage often lead to a condition called lymphedema.

Lymphatic drainage massage is a safe and gentle technique that targets lymph flow and breaks apart lymph congestion while also stimulating lymph and draining waste and fluid from the body.

In this article, we will detail lymphatic drainage massage benefits. Read on to also learn how a lymph drainage massage is performed and when to avoid a lymphatic drainage massage.

What Are the Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Lymphatic drainage massage offers many important benefits. For instance, it stimulates the circulation of blood and lymph, and this moves tissue fluid into the lymph vessels from the tissues.

Research shows that lymphatic drainage massage can push up to 78% of stagnant lymph into circulation. One particular study from 2009 showed that lymphatic drainage massage led to significant improvements in pain intensity, pain pressure threshold, and health-related quality of life in women with primary fibromyalgia.

As a result, lymph drainage massage can help remove toxins and wastes from the tissues. Increased lymph flow will also help with immunity, reduce the risk of infection, and speed the healing of inflammation.

The relaxation brought on by lymphatic drainage massage may also help relieve headaches and reduce pain, depression, stress, fatigue, and insomnia. Moreover, deep abdominal drainage massage can decrease abdominal pain and constipation and restore intestinal peristalsis.

Massage for Athletes: Get Back in the Game

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Everyone agrees that a good sports massage feels great. But does it really help your running in any measurable way?


That’s what a recent review of research on the topic, published in BMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine, set out to answer. Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom compiled the results of studies on sports massage and various aspects of athletic performance, including strength, sprint and enduranceperformance, flexibility, and muscle soreness.

The reviewers looked only at studies that met their criteria for sports massage, which they defined as “manual manipulation of muscles and soft tissue by a qualified professional, with the purpose of improving performance in or recovery from sport.” (A previous research review on the topic included non-manual therapies such as vibration and water-jet massage). In all, they pooled the results of 29 studies, comprising more than 1,000 subjects.

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The researchers did conclude that sports massage increases short-term flexibility and significantly reduces subjective ratings of muscle pain and soreness. But, they note, the flexibility findings were in comparison to doing nothing, rather than stretching, light exercise, and other common practices done with the hope of increasing flexibility.

But Here’s the Rub

The researchers’ conclusions might seem to undercut much of the rationale for sports massage. But Julia Kirtland, owner of Core 3 Sports Massage in Portland, Maine, and the 1997 U.S. marathon champion, mostly agrees with the review’s findings.

“Massage helps athletes maintain overall muscle health by identifying areas of tension and addressing them before an injury occurs,” she said. “Massage increases tissue flexibility and muscle relaxation, improves range of motion, relieves trigger points, as well as reduces adhesions. Combined, these benefits of massage help the athlete remain active, optimize his or her training, and maximize performance.” 

It’s important to understand the limitations of the studies that have been done on sport massage and performance. They have been extremely short-term, and usually comparing a hard effort when subjects have and haven’t had a sports massage. For example, in one of the few studies on sports massage and endurance, 18 male cyclists did two 5K time trials 20 minutes apart. Between the two hard rides, they either cycled at an easy effort, lied down, or received a massage. Performances on the second time trial were best by those who cycled easily before it.

That’s not how most people approach sport massage.

Many elite runners get regular bodywork in the same way that you might frequently check your car’s oil level and tire pressure

a preventative approach that to seeks to keep the machinery running as smoothly as possible. The review’s finding that sports massage reduces feelings of muscle soreness should mean that treatments will leave you more able and eager to train at the level you want.

This more nuanced view of sport massage puts it in the category of other health-supporting practices, such as getting enough sleep and eating a varied, nutrient-dense diet. These practices allow your body to better withstand the demands of training and increase your chances of remaining injury-free, so that you can achieve the consistency that leads to true improvements in performance. “I think it’s through keeping muscles healthy that massage helps performance,” Kirtland said.

Similarly, sports massage is best viewed not as a one-time cure for long-term problems.

“Some issues—recent, but not severe—can be can be helped by just one, or a few, massages,” Kirtland said. “However, the issues that are chronic, often the type that runners deal with, tend to take time to ‘fix.’ Athletes have to be invested in maintaining muscle health long-term (through self-care as well as massage), not just waiting until they get hurt and can’t participate in their sport.”

If you use sports massage as one way to maintain your muscles’ health, then it makes sense to time them for when your muscles might most benefit. It’s better to get a massage later in the day rather than immediately after you’ve done a long run or hard workout. Another good time is the day after your longest and hardest runs, to potentially speed recovery for your next ambitious outing.


Most sports massage therapists had to stop working in the initial phase of the coronavirus pandemic. According to information compiled by the American Massage Therapy Association, massage is again allowed in all but eight states and the District of Columbia; some states have allowed massage therapy to resume in some areas while continuing to disallow it in areas with higher case loads.


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