I am one of those lucky people who almost never gets sick. Even when everyone around me is blowing their nose and talking like Porky Pig, I manage to avoid catching the pesky bug du jour. Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I’m convinced some of my health habits play a key role in foiling viral takeovers.
Though I don’t load up on Vitamin C or Echinacea, I do practice some intentional behaviors that are thought to boost the immune system.
Here are three unconventional methods I use to stay healthy:
I Take Hot-Cold Showers Every Morning
A complementary health practitioner once told me that alternating hot and cold water in the shower enhances immune response. When my body gets used to hot water and then has to adapt quickly to cold water, it speeds up my metabolism, which in turn increases the production of white blood cells. The fancy name for this is hot and cold hydrotherapy.
One blogger calls this strategy a James Bond Shower because the suave martini drinker liked to conclude his showers with a cold blast in the original Ian Fleming spy novels.
I Add Apple Cider Vinegar to My Drinking Water
Not only does apple cider vinegar have anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, it is also a prebiotic (which helps maintain gut health). I add one tablespoon of raw, unfiltered organic ACV to eight ounces of drinking water several times a day to fight the bad guys. The acidic vinegar helps balance my body’s PH levels, which increases the efficiency of my immune system. Some recipes call for adding some honey, stevia or agave, but I drink this healthy cocktail straight.
Though conventional medical websites like WebMD state that studies do not yet support the immune fighting claims for ACV, anecdotal evidence is all over the Internet.
I Don’t Freak Out Over Germs
I figured out a long time ago that the best way to combat germs is to give my body practice in fighting them. People who use antibacterial hand gels and refuse to eat foods that hit the floor are like helicopter parents who never allow their children to learn coping skills. No matter how hard we try to keep them out, our bodies will always harbor bad germs. The trick is to build a seasoned army of antibody soldiers to keep them in check.
Though it may sound counterintuitive, science backs me up here. In her book, “Why Dirt Is Good,” immunologist Mary Ruebush argues that it’s helpful for babies to put unhygienic objects in their mouth: “Not only does this allow for ‘practice’ of immune responses, which will be necessary for protection, but it also plays a critical role in teaching the immature immune response what is best ignored.”
When people tell me to “Eat dirt,” I thank them for the health tip.
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