I just read this article from First magazine (February 13 2013 issue) and while a few of these “secrets” seem obvious, I hadn’t heard of most of them.
“Israel”…Herbs and spices kill bugs on contact –
Natural seasonings are such an essential part of Israeli cooking that up to 65 percent of families grow their own. Here’s why it’s a smart strategy: Herbs and spices contain up to 40 times more immunity-boosting antioxidants than fruits and veggies, plus they destroy up to 90 percent of intestinal germs on contact, say USDA researchers. Some Israeli favorites: mint, basil, sage, coriander, oregano, black pepper, rosemary, parsley and thyme. The study-proven dose: 1/2 tablespoon daily, according to Stanford University researchers. *And I thought they just tasted good! Fresh herbs can be expensive when bought at the grocery store (and not as fresh). Growing Indoor herbs are easy, inexpensive and fresher than the store-bought ones. Five fairly easy herbs to grow in the house are basil, chives, mint, tarragon and rosemary.
“Italy”…Playing with pets thwarts invading viruses –
Now I just have to say, I’d never heard of this and I’m thinking if you’re allergic to pet hair or dander, you shouldn’t try this. Since we have four cats, I told my husband we should be super healthy I’ve heard that pet owners can be happier but healthier? I’m not for sure if I agree with this but then, I’m not an expert!
Italy ranks among the world’s top countries for pet ownership: 1 in 2 residents have at least one pet. And as it turns out, caring for the animals provides a powerful immunity boost. According to researchers at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, regular exposure to pet dander kick-starts the production of immunoglobulin A (the body’s first line of defense against viruses), strengthening immune function for 74 percent of pet lovers and cutting the risk of colds, flu and other nasty infections by at least 21 percent. And remember, if you’re in the market for a pet, consider adopting and saving a life!
“Australia”…”Me time” activates germ-killing genes –
Ok, I like anything that involves me time! According to the article, the average Australian woman treats herself to guilt-free downtime regularly. If you’re feeling frazzled, consider following her lead and stealing a few hours to yourself-it could have a huge impact on your health. The reason? When you let your nervous system unwind, more than 200 genes that help produce germ-killing antibodies are activated, cutting your risk of illness by up to 36 percent, say scientists at the State University of New York at Oswego.
“Japan”…Acupressure curbs stress hormones –
In Japan, nearly every family has a loved one who knows how to perform at-home acupressure. And studies at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan suggest that these treatments lower stress hormones by 25 percent. To easy your tension, Xiaolan Zhao, C.M.C., author of Ancient Healing for Modern Women, suggest this daily rub: Gently massage the sensitive spot just below your navel for 3 minutes, using slow, circular motions, then focus on the tender spots on the back of your neck for another 3 minutes.
*I tried this, and while I don’t know if it eased any tension I might have had, it did feel good. Three minutes are actually longer than you might think when doing something like this…but when I was finished, I felt good. Make sure your hands are warm first!
“Switzerland”…Invisible exercise slashes illness risk –
Women in Switzerland love to walk, hike, bike and even snowboard to get to and from destinations. They only burn about 63 more calories a day than the average American, but their short bursts of motion make a big impact: They prod white blood cells to produce interleukin-1 (a hormone that helps the immune system react to invaders, cutting the risk of illness by 55 percent), say researchers at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. To be as healthy as the Swiss, try being less efficient (by, say, loading up the car in two trips instead of one or walking to the mailbox instead of picking up the mail as you pull in the driveway).
*I do this by parking further away from stores and having to walk further, and going up and down the stairs an extra time when I’m going up or down at home. When headed downstairs to get laundry, I’ll go down, come back up and then back down to actually get a load. Or when I walk upstairs for anything, I’ll do the same….making one complete trip before actually starting the actual errand.
“Sweden”…Kefir boosts lymphocytes –
Women in Sweden enjoy an average of two dairy products a day. One of their top picks? Kefir…a fermented drink that boasts five times more immunity-boosting probiotic bacteria than yogurt. To fire up the production of lymphocytes (immune cells with powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties) researchers at Spain’s University of Madrid suggest sipping at least 4 ounces of kefir a day.
Now I’m not a doctor or scientist so I don’t know exactly how accurate this information is, even though the studies and universities doing the research are well-known. Use common sense when trying something new and as always, check with your doctor when unsure.
All of the information (except for my own comments) came from First magazine.