Easy Ways to Beat the Cold and Flu

There are some simple ways to avoid illness that do not require horse-sized pills or enormous lifestyle changes.

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The common cold and flu are two of the most stubborn illnesses in modern history. They have proven virtually impossible to eradicate, instead constantly evolving to sabotage any immunity that humanity may have developed over time. Even worse, they are not particularly dangerous. Compared to diseases such as polio and smallpox, the cold and flu are almost harmless.

Yet that doesn’t stop them from robbing humanity of billions of hours of productivity and functionality every winter. Most of the commonly prescribed solutions for avoiding these viruses essentially boil down to the placebo effect. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do that are definitively capable of protecting you from the cold and flu this year.

Eat Breakfast

If you wake up feeling ill, chances are you want nothing more than to stay in bed all day. Instead, however, you should go straight to your kitchen and make yourself the biggest breakfast you’ve eaten in months. Researchers in the Netherlands found that consuming a breakfast of over 1,000 calories increased levels of gamma interferon (a potent antiviral agent) in the blood by almost fivefold. Don’t just start stuffing your face with Twinkies. Eat a balanced meal of complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy unsaturated fats.

Stress Yourself Out

Over the long term, stress can take a tremendous toll on your immune system. In the short term, however, it can actually supercharge it. Going through a period of acute stress signals your body to prepare for conflict and mobilizes immune system resources. If you’re feeling sick, take on an extra project at work or find some way to make life a little more difficult for the next few hours. It may save you a week’s worth of stress in the end.

Drink Green Tea

Coffee has plenty of benefits. It wakes you up in the morning and the caffeine content may boost both your immune system and metabolism for a short period of time. Yet when it comes to fighting the cold and flu, Green Tea reigns supreme. Recently, Canadian researchers added Green Tea to live samples of the Adenovirus (one of the main culprits in the common cold) and found that the virus suddenly could not replicate. This was due primarily to ECGC, a compound found in various kinds of teas (and most highly in Green Tea). Let the tea bag steep for at least 8 minutes. It will maximize the concentration of ECGC.

Sleep More

One of the most interesting cycles in human health occurs when people get sick. They sleep less because their productivity level declines, yet their workload remains the same, and suddenly they cannot get healthy. The culprit is simple… when you find yourself sleeping 40% less, your immune function only works half as well. Ideally, you need seven to nine hours of sleep a night for proper immune function. You should never, however, let yourself get less than six hours of sleep for a prolonged period of time.

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