4 Easy Lifestyle Tweaks to Get Over a Cold

“Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.”

We sit shoulder to shoulder during holiday performances, we stay in lines waiting to have a photo taken with Santa and mingle with acquaintances at parties. And then we wonder why this is the season when we get colds and flu, which are spread by a virus that hops on surfaces such as our hands and thrives for up to three hours.

Get over your coldAccording to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adults get two to four colds and the average child as many as 12 during a typical year. So it looks like we already know how to catch a cold.

Now, here are the things you need to learn to drop one fast:

Lifestyle Tweak #1: Start your day with the antiviral breakfast.

Recent research shows that the right morning meal can help quash the cold virus. In a recent study from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, researchers analyzed the impact that consuming a 1,200-calorie breakfast has on a man’s immune system, versus eating nothing at all.

They found that eating big and eating early increased blood levels of gamma interferon, a natural antiviral agent, by 450%. And going hungry actually caused a 17% decrease.

So, aim for 1,200 every morning until your cold symptoms disappear. Not, however, McDonald’s calories. Hit your big quota with oatmeal, bananas, eggs, some bacon, peanut butter and jam, and some orange juice.

Also, make sure to add a cup of green tea, which contains EGCG, a compound that Canadian researchers have found stops the cold bug replicating.

Lifestyle Tweak #2: Get your head down and get some quality sleep.

According to psychiatrist and sleep researcher Michael Irwin, if the amount of sleep you’re getting decreases by 40% or more, the effectiveness of your immune system will decline by 50%.

So, for the immune system to operate at full strength, you’ll have to sleep a good eight, the amount shown to produce the highest levels of ‘natural killer cells’, which attack viruses.

Also, during your waking hours at home, wear some light clothing – like some shorts and a T-shirt. Japanese researchers found that this adjusts a person’s core body temperature enough to improve sleep quality and boost your immune response.

Lifestyle Tweak #3: Work out your white blood cells.

In a recent University of Massachusetts study of 547 people, researchers found that the most physically active people had 25% fewer upper-respiratory infections over the course of a year than did the couch potatoes.

Researchers believe that exercise may strengthen immune function, in part by increasing the body’s production of white blood cells. Charles E. Matthews, Ph.D., the lead study author, said: “If you exercise, you should see two benefits: One, you’ll have a reduced risk of catching a cold, and two, if you’re unlucky enough to get a cold, you should have it for a shorter period of time.”

So, if you want to hit back hard, do what Matthews’s study subjects did: Aim for 60 to 90 minutes of moderate activity daily, with walking counting just as much as weight training.

Lifestyle Tweak #4: Strike back with some stress.

In a recent study from Ohio State University, researchers had 34 men either take a 12-minute memory test or watch a 12-minute video of surgical procedures. They found that the test-takers’ levels of SIgA, a key immune-system protein, shot up dramatically and the SIgA levels of the guys who saw the gore went down.

So, expose yourself to short-term stress, the kind you have some control over, and you’ll supercharge your immune system.

“Stress response is a normal protective coping mechanism,” says Jos A. Bosch, Ph.D., the study author. “The body prepares itself for potential harm and activates its immune resources.”

To use stress as medicine, Bosch suggests taking on a small extra project at work or helping a coworker with a task. “It shouldn’t take longer than a day or half a day,” he says. “If the stress response is continuous, then the immune system will be suppressed.”

What’s even better is that Bosch found that video game’s stress can also boost SIgA levels.

So, take care of yourself today. And never expect to be ill. Just let colds and flu be things of the past.

If you liked this article, please bookmark it on del.icio.us or vote for it on Digg. Thank you!

Similar Posts
Traveling has long become the favorite respite of people who...
The last few years have seen a significant rise in...
The old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new...
The most simple things can bring the most happiness. –...

10 Comments

  • Queck says:

    Great tips Ririan; I love all the stuff that you write, keep up the good work.

  • Awesome site, Ririan…five stars 🙂

    I’m a regular!

  • ndtwc says:

    Really appreciate your writings! But I think the numbers won’t fit to everybody right? Increase or decrease by some percent huh, Sometimes I don’t understand why people always like reading those numbers.
    By the way out of the four big points, except for the little stress one, I have none of the others!
    I don’t eat breakfast for a long time, or just a pack of Vitasoy LOL, sleeping for just 5-6 hrs per night, and I hate doing exercises!
    Yet, I still don’t get a cold right now, oh maybe it’s not that cold in here!

  • viji says:

    What a timely article Ririan. Thanks for it. Have a good day!

  • Ashish Mohta says:

    Giot some more points for my cold stuff! Thx

  • Ririan says:

    Queck, Thomas, viji, Ashish, thank you guys, I really appreaciate it!

    ndtwc, I know everyday life is demanding, but catching enough sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly, are all within our reach. And if you’ll make the effort to take care of yourself, your mind and body will heartily thank you.

  • I sleep two hours per day and I didn’t get a decrese in my immune system so I can’t fully agree with #2. I even live with a person who has had the flu for the second week now. Getting sick is just a waste of time and energy so fix your mind-set and you won’t get sick.

  • Ririan says:

    Johan, Getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night can affect coordination, reaction time, and judgment. A study comparing the effects of sleep deprivation and alcohol found that “people who drive after being awake for 17 to 19 hours performed worse than those with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent [the legal limit for drunkenness in most European countries].”

  • BenPop says:

    Sweet! I love the last one! I can always appreciate someone that gives me the advice to sit and play video games! There is one thing I don’t understand though. I have been weightlifting for a couple years now and just recently got back into it pretty consistent. I haven’t been sick for about ten months now but for the past three weeks I have been drinking only water, taking a multi-vitamin everyday and getting plenty of exercise. And now I get sick!? I don’t understand. I also recently started a cycle of steroids that I figured would only boost my immune system, not weaken it. Is there something I am doing wrong?

  • BenPop says:

    There is one thing I don’t understand though. I have been weightlifting for a couple years now and just recently got back into it pretty consistent. I haven’t been sick for about ten months now but for the past three weeks I have been drinking only water, taking a multi-vitamin everyday and getting plenty of exercise. And now I get sick!? I don’t understand. I also recently started a cycle of steroids that I figured would only boost my immune system, not weaken it. Is there something I am doing wrong?

Leave a Reply


Name (required)

Email (required)

Website