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Secrets of Super-Healthy People

Some people never seem to get sick. What are they doing that the rest of us aren't to keep illness at bay?

Don't Worry, Conquer Stress

Stop worrying about getting sick. The fear and expectation of having something adverse happen actually lowers immunity, says Northrup. "When people are worried about it all the time," she says, "they literally scare themselves to death."

Constant worrying causes cortisol and epinephrine levels to rise - and these stress hormones can weaken the body's overall immunity. "The immune system plummets when cortisol levels are chronically high," she says. "Your own body produces high levels of steroids when you're under constant stress."

Up Your Vitamin Intake

We have a worldwide epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, says Northrup. Everybody needs vitamin D, which can be found in foods like sockeye salmon, eggs, and milk.

Hyla Cass, MD, an integrative medical practitioner and author of 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health, adds that certain prescription drugs like acid blockers can deprive the body of nutrients like vitamin D.

Surveys show that Americans don't get enough vitamin C, says Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, CDE, nutrition director at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center.

Citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C. "It's a myth that vitamin C prevents the cold," she says. "But having an appropriate amount of vitamin C from fruits and vegetables can boost immunity."

Mind Over Body

Atlanta interior designer Melissa Galt believes in a "mind over medicine" attitude. "I don't have time for sickness in my life," says Galt, who travels frequently and doesn't take anything to fight germs. "I don't believe in it and don't acknowledge it."

Every thought is accompanied by a chain of biochemical reactions in your body, says Northrup. So a positive attitude can increase levels of nitric oxide, which help to balance neurotransmitters, improve immunity, and increase circulation, she says.

"Whenever nitric oxide levels are high -- from anything ranging from positive thought to exercise -- you're actually improving your resistance to disease," she says.

Just Say Om

Santa Monica, Calif., yoga therapist Felice Rhiannon credits her meditation and breathing practices for improving her physical and emotional health. "Meditation practice helps to calm my nervous system and allows the immune system to function with less interference," she says. For Rhiannon, "A calmer mind means a calmer body."

"The greatest change is in my peace of mind and sense of ease," she says. "I don't get colds as often as I did when I was younger. My sleep is better and my ability to cope with life's inevitable stresses has improved."

In a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine in 2003, researchers at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University found that volunteers who participated in eight weeks of mediation training produced significantly more flu-fighting antibodies than those who didn't meditate.

Increase Your Social Ties

There are personality factors associated with individuals who are resistant to getting colds when they're exposed to a virus, says Sheldon Cohen, PhD, professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University whose research examines the effects of stress and social support on immunity and health.

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