We waited eagerly for winter to arrive, but now that it's really here, it's a little less fun and romantic than we had imagined. It's not only the rain that is keeping everyone at home, but mainly a runny nose, cough, sore throat and even fever. If you just want to wait around until you get the flu or any other classic winter sickness, go ahead - but if you want to put up a fight, we have some especially effective health tips for you.
So here are ten habits of people who almost never get sick (as rare as those people may be).
1. They drink a lot of water
The well-known recommendation about drinking water says to drink eight cups a day to satisfy the body's basic needs. When we drink enough, the body gets the fuel it needs to act and fight against sickness. When we don't drink enough (like most of us), we harm the proper functioning of most of our body's systems, and that's the last thing we need in winter.
2. They get their flu shot
Many people take the flu lightly, but unfortunately, people die from it every year. Even if you got vaccinated last year, it's important to get the shot this year as well. The vaccine is seasonal and flu strains change every year, which is why the WHO every year orders the production of new vaccines suitable for novel strains.
3. They get enough sleep
Sleep is like medicine, it is healing to the individual. Outside of anecdotal evidence, researchers from Germany have proven that sleep can sometimes be the best medicine for complex medical conditions – thanks to the potential ability of the immune system to protect against disease-causing pathogens while you sleep.
Poor and insufficient sleep also affects weight, mood and frame of mind the next day and in general, and may promote the appearance of chronic diseases – such as dementia. 8 hours of sleep is recommended in the winter – it's dark out anyways.
4. They frequently change their hand towels
Everyone has been taught the importance of washing their hands before eating, after they've been to the bathroom or generally throughout the day so they don't catch diseases. Well, if you believe a number of studies from the last few years, towels are the most terrible disease spreaders in the home. While kitchen towels are the biggest culprit, they are not alone.
Exposure to bacteria from hand towels can cause numerous symptoms, including skin infections, damage to the digestive systems and other internal systems and infection with fever diseases.
5. They exercise
Exercise plays a crucial role in immune system strength – especially as we age. There are two prominent units at the forefront of the immune system's arsenal: T cells and B cells. The production of these cells decreases with age, leading our bodies more exposed to external and internal threats. Studies also show that moderate and vigorous physical activity reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, such as colds.
6. They spend time outdoors
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining immune system health, protection against viral diseases, protection against cancer and maintaining bone strength. The main source of the vitamin is the absorption of sun rays into your skin.
While Israel is sunny, the majority of the population actually has a severe deficiency of Vitamin D, which is potentially related to the modern lifestyle that includes long hours in the office, heavy use of sunscreen, and improper skin care. The vitamin can be ingested as a supplement after blood tests and medical consultation, though in any case, one should aim to be exposed to strong sunlight for about ten minutes a day (depending on skin type) and at least 4 times a week.
7. They hang out with friends
As people age and grow older, they further understand the importance of loved ones – not just family members, but also friends. Studies conducted on the subject found that oftentimes, relationships with friends are more important to your health than relationships with family. The studies showed that when people reported that their friendships were in crisis, they got sicker. When friendships were supportive and strong, people were healthier.
While it might be due to the brutal honesty or the shared laughs between friends, what's certain is that you should keep a few close friends by your side throughout life.
8. They drink hot water and eat hot foods
Drinking plenty of water, hot drinks, traditional chicken soup and otherwise consuming hot foods helps the body deal with winter illnesses and get stronger. Hot water and foods not only warm your body but also stimulate blood circulation and the body in general. Feel free to treat yourself to a hot tea with cinnamon, an interesting brew or even a cup of hot chocolate to fight the cold.
9. They eat healthily
Many studies conducted over the years have examined the effects that factors in our lives have on the functioning of the immune system, culminating in what we know today – that our immune system is affected by physical activity, age and even sleep – though most of all, from our diet.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts help enrich the body with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Foods that improve the activity of the digestive system and intestines (where the immune system is based) – such as yogurt and orange vegetables like sweet potatoes and pumpkins – are an effective tool in the fight against various winter diseases.
10. They think positively
We won't lie and tell you that life is perfect, but if you try to focus more on the good and less on the bad, you may live more years – and live healthier and happier. While not easy advice to follow in the winter – when the hours of darkness come very early and depression slowly creeps in – but it remains important to see the glass as half full, so to speak, as our mental health has a huge impact on our physical health. Physical ailments caused by mental health, such as stress or tension, have a critical effect on our physical structure today and in the future.