10 Things That Will Prevent You From Getting Sick, Backed By Research

Look at pictures of sick people.

Via The Consuming Instinct: What Juicy Burgers, Ferraris, Pornography, and Gift Giving Reveal About Human Nature:

Being exposed to photographs of individuals spreading their germs (e.g., via sneezing or coughing) is sufficient to elicit a boost in one’s immunological defense system.

It’s legit. Here’s the study he’s referring to:

An experiment (N = 28) tested the hypothesis that the mere visual perception of disease-connoting cues promotes a more aggressive immune response. Participants were exposed either to photographs depicting symptoms of infectious disease or to photographs depicting guns. After incubation with a model bacterial stimulus, participants’ white blood cells produced higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the infectious-disease condition, compared with the control (guns) condition. These results provide the first empirical evidence that visual perception of other people’s symptoms may cause the immune system to respond more aggressively to infection. Adaptive origins and functional implications are discussed.

Source: “Mere visual perception of other people’s disease symptoms facilitates a more aggressive immune response.” from Psychol Sci. 2010 May;21(5):649-52. Epub 2010 Apr 2.

You looked at the picture above, right? Your immune system is already stronger. (You’re welcome.)

There are a number of other simple research-based tips for staying healthy and dodging illness:

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