Keep Your Defense Up
Sip soup: feeling lousy? Reach for some chicken noodle soup. The classic cold remedy has anti-inflammatory properties that can minimize upper-respiratory symptoms, according to University of Nebraska research.
Limit sweets: Consuming sugar-laden foods can decrease your immunity. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that ingesting 100 grams of sugar (think 2½ cans of cola) significantly hampered infection-fighting while blood cells for up to five hours.
Break a sweat: Help ramp up your resistance with a small but consistent amount of exercise (30 minutes daily). Experts suspect that during a moderate workout immune cells circulate through the body faster.
Calm yourself: Chronic tension can cause your body to pump out the stress hormone cortisol, weakening your natural defenses. To unwind, try doing 10 minutes of gentle yoga or deep breathing exercises each day.
Rest up: Women who get less than eight hours of nightly shut-eye are at higher risk of contracting colds and the flu tan women who get more sleep, experts say. While you snooze, your immune system works to produce cytokines, potent infection-fighting proteins.
Be kneaded: Loosening tense muscles with a back run helps your body produce more white blood cells, which can help you fight off viruses and other pathogens, according to researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Relaxing massages also can lower your cortisol level, decreasing your stress—which boosts your immune cells. Try pressing and manipulating the back of your shoulder and neck with one hand. Repeat on the other side.