Looking for proven ways to ward off colds and flu this winter? Author Gene Stone found 25 people who seem constitutionally immune to infection—and shares their secrets in his new book, The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick.
A copy of The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick (Workman, 2010) recently landed on my desk and with cold and flu season coming up, I was intrigued. Don’t we all know somebody who never gets sick? Author Gene Stone writes about 25 such folks. The most surprising? A Florida man who dilutes a cup of hydrogen peroxide in a sink full of water and dunks his face in each morning.
Stone says he himself never gets sick anymore. Here are the stay-well secrets he practices:
I do aerobic and anaerobic exercise. (Lifting weights and running are two of the secrets.)
I nap. (Studies show short naps not only improve health, they also make you smarter (able to score better on tests.)
I never eat too many calories. (Calorie restriction helps stave off many conditions associated with aging; be sure to eat nutrient-dense calories.)
I try to make friends. (Studies show people with few close friends are more likely to suffer from heart disease, anxiety, and depression. Other studies show friends influence each other in terms of healthy (or unhealthy) habits.)
I practice Dr. Fulford’s stretching exercise. (Dr. Andrew Weil’s mentor, a mind-body medical pioneer, designed a user-friendly set of stretches that help energy flow through the body.)
I take lots of vitamin C. (Research on cold prevention is inconclusive, but it may shorten colds’ duration, and helps with myriad body functions.)
I now take brewer’s yeast. (A rich source of B vitamins, the yeast can be sprinkled over cereal or popcorn or baked into baked goods.)
I don't scrub my food antiseptically anymore. (One secret is eating dirt, or the “hygiene hypothesis”, which holds that exposure to some germs in beneficial.)
I take probiotics. (Americans are beginning to have more respect for the digestive process, specifically as the first line of immune defense; probiotic sales topped $1 billion in 2009.)
I try to manage my stress better. (An abundance of research shows stress contributes to heart attacks, and lowers immunity. Meditation, hydration, laughter and other healthy habits reduce daily stress.)
Every now and then I test my pH level to see if it's okay. (The Western diet overemphasizes acidic foods, which stress the body. You can measure pH with litmus paper. Eat more alkaline vegetables and drink water to balance pH.)
I eat more herbs and spices. (Good bets: green tea, ginseng, lemongrass, ginger, rhubarb, garlic, chili peppers, and cinnamon.)
I tried, but failed, to adapt to cold showers. (Research shows cold showers can improve circulation, bolster the immune system, and improve mood.)