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Friendships buffer everyday stress and help keep you healthy.

Research shows that social interaction, laughing, smiling and feeling connected to others helps release the “happiness hormones”, serotonin and endorphins. These hormones increase your energy level, boost your immune system, minimize pain and reduce stress.

Chronic stress is known to impair the immune system, leading to increased colds and illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and yes, influenza – the common flu.

So the next time you’re feeling run down, tired and under the weather, ask yourself, ‘Am I enjoying enough time with my family and friends?’ Maybe all you need is more time to relax with your friends – take time, whether minutes or hours, with your favorite connections to stay healthy.

In addition to friendships, you can help strengthen your immune system by:

  • getting enough vitamin C on a daily basis; natural foods are best, but if you choose a supplement, aim for 200mg per day.
  • including vitamin E rich foods in your diet, such as seeds, vegetable oils and grains.
  • eating your carrots; beta-carotene is essential to building infection fighting cells.
  • choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables; these provide a boost of bioflavenoids which help to protect the cells in the body.
  • maximizing your zinc intake to strengthen the production of your white blood cells; foods such as fortified cereal have the largest concentration.
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