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291. Boosting immunity Wrap up well
When you go out in cold, wet weather, wear the right clothes. In a study, students who immersed their feet in cold water for 20 minutes were more likely than those who didn't to come down with a cold 4–5 days later.
292. Boosting immunity Acting quickly
When you feel a cold coming on, take a couple of doses of the homeopathic remedy Aconite 30 c; this may prevent further symptoms from developing. If a cold is making its entrance with much sneezing and watery mucus, try Nat.Mur 30 c in the evening and again next morning to stop it in its tracks.
293. Boosting immunity Look after your family
If your partner is ill, you are more likely to suffer bad health, suggests research from Harvard Medical School (those whose partners had a debilitating illness were more likely to die early). Nurse each other through minor illnesses so you both remain in good health and can benefit from two incomes for longer.
294. Boosting immunity Sleeping matters
Getting only four hours' sleep a night for six nights has been shown to weaken the immune system. In a University of Chicago study, students who did so had levels of protective antibodies lower than those who got eight hours' sleep. If you regularly burn the candle at both ends, rethink your lifestyle.
295. Boosting immunity Fresh produce
Buy or grow carrots, spinach, and broccoli, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, tomatoes, and apricots. Plant sterols in these foods seem to help the body fight infection by increasing the number of T-cells (white blood cells that play a large role in the body's defense system).
296. Boosting immunity Brew ginger tea
To diminish cold symptoms, grate 2 in (5 cm) fresh ginger root into a pan and cover with 4 cups of water. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain into a cup, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, and sweeten to taste with local honey. Drink as required through the day.
297. Boosting immunity Eat garlic
As soon as you feel symptoms of a cold, add two raw cloves of garlic a day to food for its antiviral properties: grate onto toast with olive oil and fresh tomato, add to salad dressings, or stir into pasta before serving. Use until symptoms subside. Use fresh garlic in cooking through the year to strengthen the body's defenses against viruses.
298. Boosting immunity Try echinacea
Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) has been clinically demonstrated to stimulate the production of white blood cells and is well known for its antimicrobial action. Take 30 drops daily of the tincture in water, or take capsules as directed on the pack to treat any kind of infection. It is particularly effective for upper respiratory infections and skin diseases (apply as a poultice). (Don't take for more than four weeks without a break.)
299. Boosting immunity Good combination
Astragalus membranaceus (huang qi or milk vetch) is less well known than echinacea but equally effective. A tincture made from its root is a great lymphatic cleanser, and also acts as an energy tonic (take 30 drops daily in water). Accompany with ginseng tea for a month or so in the fall to set you up for a winter free of coughs and colds.
300. Boosting immunity Wash out your nose!
Neti pots are used in yoga practice for jala neti, nasal washing. This can help keep the airways clear and prevent chronic catarrh and rhinitis. Using a neti pot (Google it) or small sterilized teapot, dissolve 1 tsp salt in 1 pint (600 ml) tepid water. Tilt your head sideways over a sink. Placing the spout of your pot against one nostril, pour the saline solution up your nose. The stream of water should trickle and then pour out of the other nostril. Blow your nose well, then repeat on the other side. If this is uncomfortable or your nose feels sore, reduce the amount of salt.
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