6 Secrets of Super-Healthy People
While you’re at it, consider opting for a fist bump or high five instead of shaking hands. One study found that a handshake transferred nearly twice as many bacteria as the other two.
3. Get it on.
People who have sex on a regular basis may have higher levels of an immune system protein called immunoglobulin A (IgA). Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that college students who got between the sheets once or twice a week had higher levels of IgA compared to students who did it less often.
4. Mix up your meal plans.
Fad diets won’t do your immune system any favors. Instead, eat a wide variety of healthy foods. “There’s not just one specific nutrient or food component that’s linked to staying healthy,” says Jackie Newgent, RDN, author of The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook. “Instead, it’s about synergy.”
A few tips:
- Build your meal around vegetables. “Aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as gingery stir-fried asparagus, roasted curry cauliflower, sautéed garlic spinach, fresh tomato salad, or grilled mushrooms -- and always do this first,” Newgent says. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients called antioxidants that build up your immune system.
- Drink green tea. It may increase the number of an important type of immune cell, called regulatory T cells, according to one study.
- Try probiotics. A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that stressed-out college students who got these “good” bacteria had fewer sick days than those who didn’t. Even if they did catch a bug, they recovered faster. You can get probiotics from foods like yogurt -- look for “live and active cultures” on the label -- or take them as pills.
5. Get enough shut-eye.
Americans who said they had very good or excellent health and quality of life slept more -- an average of 18 to 23 minutes per night -- than those who rated their health as good, fair, or poor, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
No surprise. Your immune system needs sleep to keep you healthy. How much? Researchers found that people who log less than 6 hours a night are about four times more likely to catch a cold when they get the virus compared to those who get 7 hours of sleep a night.