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Fighting/Preventing Colds

Posted By: KP
Date: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, at 5:59 p.m.

Courtesy Men's Health -- Fighting/Preventing Colds:

STRATEGY #1: EAT THE ANTIVIRAL BREAKFAST
Research shows that the right morning meal can help quash the cold virus. In a recent study from the Netherlands, 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 percent. (Going hungry actually caused a 17 percent decrease.) More research is needed to determine if fewer calories will have a similar effect, but in the meantime, shoot for 1,200 every morning until your cold symptoms disappear. Not, however, 1,200 calories of pancake syrup

STRATEGY #2: STRESS OUT YOUR SYSTEM
When 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. (The SIgA levels of the guys who saw the gore went down.) The moral of the study: 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."
However, "If the stress response is continuous, then the immune system will be suppressed." Already swamped? Play a video game when you get home; Bosch found that Xbox stress can also boost SIgA levels.

STRATEGY #3: BREW THE COLD-VIRUS KILLER
Swap your 3 p.m. coffee for a caffeine-toting cold buster: green tea. When Canadian researchers added green tea to lab samples of the adenovirus (one of the bugs responsible for colds), they found that it stopped the virus from replicating. All the credit goes to EGCG, a chemical compound found in certain kinds of tea, but in the highest concentrations in green tea. Start pumping green tea into your bloodstream at the first sign of a cold and you should be able to stop the advance of the adenovirus. "It's the difference between staying home for 2 or 3 days, and going to work and just sniffling a bit," says Joseph M. Weber, Ph.D., the lead study author and a professor of microbiology at the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec.

STRATEGY #4: RECHARGE YOUR IMMUNE RESPONSE
Early Sleep: According to Michael Irwin, M.D., a psychiatrist and sleep researcher at UCLA, if the amount of sleep you're logging decreases by 40 percent or more (for instance, you sleep 4 hours instead of the usual 7), the effectiveness of your immune system will decline by 50 percent. And for the immune system to operate at full strength, you'll need to sleep a straight 8, the amount shown to produce the highest levels of "natural killer cells," which attack viruses. But don't knock yourself out with alcohol, including alcohol-spiked cold medicines like NyQuil. "A single dose of alcohol impairs your sleep," says Dr. Irwin. Instead, wear light clothing--shorts and a T-shirt--during your waking hours at home; Japanese researchers found that this adjusts a person's core body temperature enough to improve sleep quality and boost the immune response

coach KP

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