Q: Why is it that I catch every common cold virus or other sickness that someone around me has? I exercise, wash my hands frequently, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink water and tea, take supplements and get enough sleep every night. Why can't I be one of those people who never get sick?

A: You can be one of those people! You're already doing many of the right things to keep germs from messing with you, especially washing your hands frequently (maybe someday you can share your secret for getting enough sleep!). But you can do more. Make sure you're getting these:
  • Vitamin C, 500 mg twice a day, from supplements or foods such as oranges, tomatoes and bell peppers. This vitamin helps your immune system produce more bullets, so to speak, that kill invading germs.
  • Yogurt that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus helps fight off fungus-related infections. You can get the same power from acidophilus supplements (20 mg twice a day) or with supplements containing Bacillus coagulans.
  • Flavonoids found in plants—especially oats, apples, broccoli, strawberries, cranberries, red wine and nonherbal teas—allow your body to remember old foes longer, so it fights them off.
  • Ginger and curcumin (a component of turmeric, a spice found in curries and some yellow mustards) help ward off infection.
While being out in the world will expose you to germs, cutting yourself off from it won't keep you healthy. Keeping your social life active and managing your stress level are just as important as nutrients when it comes to bolstering your immune system. And so is washing your hands before and after. Or, if you can't get to a sink, use an alcohol hand sanitizer.

Still feel a cold coming on? You can't stop it in its tracks, but you can reduce the symptoms. Eat chicken soup four times a day, take 500 mg of vitamin C four times a day, or take zinc lozenges every six hours, and drink lots of fluids to help flush your body of the infection.

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