Zoe Blarowski writing on health…

Has the flu ever snuck up on you and then – wham! – before you know it you’re laid up on the couch missing an important engagement?

You don’t have to let this infectious bully ruin your fun. You can take small steps to make sure you’re taking care of your health…and some of them are more fun than you might think.

Your best defense is a strong immune system. However, this doesn’t mean you have to buy a drawer full of supplements, start a vigorous exercise regime, or avoid all contact with people for fear of infection.

Friends

Social relationships are known to have many health benefits, including boosting your immune system. Start by organizing a few get-togethers with friends and family. If you go for a walk, play a round of tennis, or ski together, the exercise will give you additional immunity.

Dinner

The next time you have friends over for dinner, select your menu with care. How about a curry with rich spices and a side of fresh, yogurt-based raita? Many spices like ginger, garlic, turmeric, and foods that contain probiotics, like yogurt, are all excellent immune boosting foods.

Dessert

And don’t forget dessert. Vitamin C is well-known for its immune support. Strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwifruits, papaya, and guava are all particularly high in vitamin C. Simply chop them together to create a delicious fruit salad, or heap them onto a cheesecake, flan, or chocolate pudding.

Drinks

After-dinner drinks can also provide an extra shot of health. Green tea is shown to contain compounds that enhance immune function. Excessive alcohol consumption can suppress the immune system, but moderate amounts of alcohol are beneficial. Consider an aperitif of German gluhwein, Irish hot whiskey, or mead (honey liquer )…all traditional drinks said to ward off colds and flu.

Sex

Once your guests have headed home, you might want to snuggle up for some one-on-one time with your significant other. Studies revealed that having regular sex boosts certain antibodies important for cold and flu prevention. And the occasional night doesn’t count. Couples who had sex once or twice every week had the highest levels of antibodies.

Hot Baths

Sharing a hot bath with your paramour is a great way to kick off the evening. Steam can get the cilia inside your nose moving, which are microscopic hairs that remove germs and dust from your nose. Better yet, add a few drops of eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint, or cinnamon oils…they’re good for your immune system and respiratory tract.

Vacation

Stress wreaks havoc on your immune system, so anything you do to prevent or relieve stress is vital for your health. Have you planned your next vacation yet? Relaxing on a sunny beach would definitely help boost your immunity. Even a weekend away at a hotel or B&B near your home can do wonders to revitalize your energy stores. It may also give you more opportunities to get up close and personal with your partner.

Spa Day

Would a spa day be more your style? Sweat contains antimicrobial peptides that act against bacteria, fungi, and most importantly, viruses. So, make sure the temperature in that sauna is enough to break a good sweat. Then try unwinding while you get a pedicure or lounge in a sauna.

Massage

Adding a massage would top off your day. Not only does massage lower stress, research found that a 45-minute massage will also boost your lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that defends your body against disease.

And after all that socializing, romance, vacation planning, and pampering yourself, don’t forget to have a good night’s sleep. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night is important for immune system health. You’ve earned it.

P.S. Discover how you can enjoy a more laidback, authentic, independent way of life in Truth & Plenty. Sign up below to have it delivered – free of charge – to your email inbox.

Image: ©iStock.com/SolStock

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