3 Surprising Immune Boosters

Daily Health Solutions, Featured Article, Healthy Living
on December 1, 2011

Work up a sweat
People who engaged in at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise five or more days a week experienced 43 percent fewer sick days due to upper- respiratory infections compared with people who exercised one day a week or less. “Exercise helps the immune system do its job better by increasing the numbers of cells that defend the body against infection,” says lead researcher Dr. David Nieman of Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.

Look on the bright side
People who have a positive emotional style—characterized as being happy, calm or lively—are less likely to catch a cold or flu than people who have a negative emotional style, meaning they’re anxious, hostile or depressed, according to a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. And even if they do get sick, happier people complain of fewer symptoms (a plus for the rest of us!). —Catherine Winters

Eat your broccoli
Broccoli and other members of the Brassica family—such as cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts and kale—contain an enzyme that triggers the production of an immune system-stimulating compound called DIM (for diindolylmethane), report University of California at Berkeley researchers. The research is still in its early stages, but broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are packed with such good-for-you nutrients, why wait?