Monday, April 16

Live Healthy III

Live in the moment.
By practicing mindfulness (concentrating on what you're doing right this second instead of everything on your must-do list), research shows that you'll destress and possibly even improve your immune system. A University of Wisconsin study found that all 25 participants who focused on happy moments produced more antibodies to a flu vaccine than those who focused on negative memories.

Schedule your annual flu shot.
October and November are the best times to get the influenza vaccine and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's the single best way to stave off infection, blocking the virus in 70 to 90 percent of healthy people under the age of 65. Afraid of needles? If you're 49 or younger and not pregnant, try the nasal-spray version. Skip the vaccine altogether, however, if you have a severe egg allergy (the vaccine contains a small amount of egg protein) or if you have a fever (wait until your symptoms go away).

Put aside your work so you can socialize more.
Haven't talked to your best friend or sister in weeks? What about that lunch date with your co-worker you keep postponing? Make it a point to stay in touch with your old friends and add some new ones to your social circle. According to research published in the American Sociological Review, women today have fewer confidantes than they did 20 years ago, which could be why we're more stressed, anxious and depressed.

Stressed? Take a probiotic.
Labeled "good bacteria," probiotics (in supplement form) seem to help prevent and treat stress-induced gastrointestinal problems (cramping, bloating and gas) and diseases like ulcerative colitis. In a new study, researchers affiliated with the University of Toronto fed probiotics to stressed animals and determined that afterward, they had no harmful bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts. But stressed animals who did not receive probiotics did. Supplements are available at health-food stores and in some supermarkets (many are in the refrigerated aisle) and should be taken as directed. Yogurt is also a good source of probiotics. Check the label to make sure it contains live active cultures -- not all brands do.

No comments: