Chicken soup, echinacea, R&R—they're all great cures for the common cold, but why suffer through one if you can keep the pesky rhinovirus from attacking your system in the first place? And what better way to prevent colds than drinking beer and singing in the shower?
Take a few of these tips and call us in the morning:
Order a Mushroom Pizza
Simple white button mushrooms contain powerful antiviral proteins that can strengthen your immune system, according to studies at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. Yes, sliced mushrooms in a green salad work, too, but they’re more fun on a pizza.
Sing in the Shower
Keeping nasal passages moist in winter’s dry air prevents the insidious rhinovirus from setting up shop in your nose. Bathe your sinuses in a steam-filled bathroom. Steam is a natural decongestant, and a hot shower loosens mucus in the nasal passages. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the shower for fun; it has antimicrobial properties when inhaled. While you’re at it, start singin’ in the rain. Belting out, say, a show tune encourages deep breathing, bringing the healing steam deep into your nasal passages.
More ways to prevent colds:
Stay Healthy with 5 Essential Herbs
This or That: Zinc vs. Sink for Your Cold
25 Foods That Fight Cold & Flu
Have a Couple of Drinks
Avoid happy hour (too many people in tight quarters), but don’t be afraid of having a few of beers. Moderate alcohol consumption may help prevent colds. In one study, nonsmokers who downed up to four drinks a day were less likely to develop colds than people who didn’t consume alcohol. The reason, suggest researchers, is that alcohol may limit the replication of cold viruses or have an anti-inflammatory effect that suppresses the production of mucus.
Dance with Yourself
Tai chi, the graceful slow dance you do alone, can rev up your body’s illness-fighting defenses by as much as 47 percent and even triples the protection you get from a flu shot. The secret to tai chi’s elixir-like effects, scientists suspect, lies in its slow movements and controlled breathing. Tai chi marshals the power of both to fight germs. It also eases stress and helps you to sleep better. All this contributes to a healthy immune system. To find a tai chi class, visit worldtaichiday.org.
Hang with Your Pals
Camaraderie is a cold-virus killer. In a study at the University of Pittsburgh, evil scientists shot live cold viruses up the noses of volunteers. Those who reported having strong friendships and family relationships were the least likely to catch a cold.
Have Sex Twice a Week
An oft-cited study from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that people who have sex once or twice a week have stronger immune systems than people who have sex less often. Researchers analyzed the saliva of 111 college students. Those students who reported having sex up to two times a week had 30 percent more of the antigen immunoglobulin A (IgA) in their saliva. IgA is the body’s first line of defense against colds and flu, say the researchers.
There’s No Place Like Ohm
The Sanskrit word ohm, which is chanted at the start and conclusion of yoga practice, can ease cold symptoms, especially stuffy noses, and prevent colds. The vibrations caused by the humming chant OHhmmmmm loosens phlegm and opens passages that allow sinuses to drain. Would you rather buzz? Then make like a bee. The “buzzing bee breath,” another yoga exercise, called bhramari pranavama in Sanskrit, works similarly.