With a few simple changes now, you can prime your immune system to fight off microbial invaders this fall. Recent research suggests 3 new tactics:
1. Pop a vitamin D supplement. In the first clinical study of this vitamin’s powers against flu, kids given 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 daily were nearly 60 percent less likely to come down with the illness than those who took a dummy pill.
2. Turn down a second helping. A new study from Tufts University found that when 46 overweight men and women ate fewer calories for six months, their immune systems functioned better. Cutting calories by just 10 percent did the trick. Other recent research saw similar improvement after people lost an average of 13 pounds.
3. Pick high-fiber foods. Mice that were fed plenty of soluble fiber—the kind in oats and apples—showed fewer signs of illness when they were given a substance that tricks the body into acting as if it’s infected with bacteria. Although animal studies are less reliable than human ones, there’s little downside to eating high-fiber foods.