Health

6 Immunity Boosters That Also Help You Slim Down

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Losing a little weight won’t just make you feel great, it can also be an immunity booster to pump up your protection against viruses and bacteria! Australian researchers say shedding as little as 10 pounds activates genes that make immune cells stronger and more energetic, maximizing their ability to destroy viruses and bacteria by 65 percent.

To get the best of both…

Take your time.

That 20-minute stroll you took this morning is already speeding weight loss, and adding another 10 minutes could cut your risk of respiratory illnesses in half, suggests research in the journal Aging Cell. Explains study co-author Ross Pollock, PhD, exercise energizes immune cells, helping them attack germs as vigorously as they did in your youth.

Bonus: Danish researchers say even a small boost in calorie burn could help you shed 12 pounds this year.

Pour a frosty beer.

Spanish researchers say this brew is packed with immunity- boosting compounds (flavonoids), and sipping 12 oz. daily could cut your risk of illness by 30 percent.

Crunch peppers.

Snacking on red peppers — or any other red fruit or veggie — daily could speed weight loss by 35 percent, plus cut your risk of viral infections by as much as 65 percent, four studies suggest. Explains pathologist Rosa Simone, MD, their reddish compounds (lycopene and resveratrol) activate fat-burning genes, plus they strengthen the tissues lining your lungs, so germs have more trouble sneaking in.

Keep on reading.

Adding another half hour to your weekly reading time that could cut illness risk by 40 percent! Researchers say getting lost in a story tamps down production of immunity-weakening stress hormones as effectively as meditation does.

Bonus: Relaxing with a book can quash food cravings in 6 minutes, and help you slim 35 percent faster if you read daily!

Boost C.

Taking 500 mg. of immunity-boosting vitamin C daily could trim three days off your recovery time if you become ill — and it will help you burn belly fat 30 percent faster, say researchers at Arizona State University. Turns out this nutrient helps liver cells burn fat for fuel.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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