What’s the secret to good health?
You know those annoying people at work who never catch the office cold? So does writer Gene Stone-and he wanted to figure out their secrets. Stone tracked down 25 people who “never get sick” and collected their stories into his new book, The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick. Here are five of the most interesting.
1. Brewer’s yeast
Eighty-three-year-old Barbara Stone drinks brewer’s yeast dissolved in water every morning-even when travelling, which she does often as a surveyor on archeological digs in the Great Syrian Desert. A good source of many vitamins and minerals, brewer’s yeast (not to be confused with the yeast used in baking bread) is a byproduct of making beer, though it can be grown specifically as a nutritional supplement as well. In addition to dissolving in water, Stone suggests sprinkling it on popcorn, cereal or yogurt, or adding to soups, sauces and baked goods.
2. A low-calorie diet
Calorie restriction-lowering your average daily caloric intake by about 20 to 30 percent-has been making headlines for years for its promise (primarily based on animal studies) to lengthen people’s lives. According to Stone, actor George Burns, who lived a long and healthy life, dying in 1996 at the age of 100, may have practised calorie restriction. And recent studies have shown that eating less could lower your risk of aging-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Cold showers
Business consultant Nate Halsey, writes Stone, takes an invigorating cold shower every morning, a habit he acquired from a German friend who had learned the behaviour in boarding school-and claimed it was the reason he never got sick. Halsey credits his daily cold shower not just for his good health, but also for preventing dry skin. Stone also details several small European studies that have found immunity benefits to cold showers and baths (as well as in rolling in the snow after the sauna).
4. Hydrogen peroxide
Florida resident Bill Thompson claims he hasn’t had a cold in more than 20 years. His secret? Every morning he fills his sink with diluted hydrogen peroxide, dunks his head in and blows bubbles through his nose. Sounds crazy, yes-but, Stone writes, hydrogen peroxide uncontroversially helps heal wounds by killing surrounding bacteria, and not a lot of research has been done on its other potential health benefits. Just be careful if you try it: concentrated hydrogen peroxide can be dangerous, and even diluted it can bleach your clothing and other materials; it also should not be ingested.
5. A balanced pH
Your body prefers the blood’s pH to be at around 7.4-on the alkaline side of neutral. And it will do a lot to keep it there, including, some say, pulling minerals out of your bones to counteract elevated acidity, which can be caused to an excess of foods very common in our modern diet, including red meat, sugar and refined grains. Stone profiles voice coach Thomas Appell, who has been following a low-acid diet packed with fresh fruits and vegetables (and absent of sugar and meat) since 2002-and reaping the health benefits ever since. Want to get in on the secret? Boost your intake of fresh vegetables, especially leafy greens, and cut back on processed foods. Even if you don’t believe in the pH theory, you’ll be taking in more nutrients-and that can only help your health.