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Stop the Cold and Flu!

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It's that time of year when we worry about contracting a cold or the flu, which would give us a miserable week or two.

We wash our hands about twenty times a day, but will that be enough? I have four ideas for you to try that some studies say might work to build your immunity to or decrease the severity of colds and the flu.

1. People who exercise at least 20 minutes of moderate activity for five or more days a week experience 43 percent fewer sick days due to upper-respiratory infections compared with people who exercise only one day a week or less. Research has found that exercise helps the body increase the number of immune cells that fight infection.

2. Plan for a full number of hours of normal sleep each night. Plenty of rest keeps the immune system at maximum potential to fight cold and flu bugs.

3. Smile and be happy every day. People who have a positive emotional attitude are less likely to catch a cold or flu than people who have a negative emotional style, according to many studies. Even if a happy person does catch a cold, the symptoms will be much milder.

4. Eat broccoli and cabbage. University of California at Berkeley researchers claim that members of the Brassica family, such as broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and kale, contain an enzyme that triggers the production of an immune system-stimulating compound called diindolylmehtane. Don't ask me to pronounce the name of the immunity compound, but it is a good reason to eat more cruciferous vegetables.

Cold and flu bugs are everywhere during the winter months. You can wash you hand constantly, but your body will still be exposed to many airborne bugs. Be friendly and happy. Snooze a full night's sleep. Eat healthy vegetables. And, come to your favorite Cumberland County YMCA for your five days of fun exercise.