When two people start a relationship, their joy is shared by friends, parents—and microorganisms. Those lucky little germs that once only had one person to invade now have a second body to consider home. You don't have much choice about accepting these new residents—there's plenty of evidence out there that shows when one person in a relationship is sick, the other is going to be fully exposed to his or her germs.
Your new microbial residents aren't necessarily a bad thing. The more your immune system is exposed to microorganisms, the more it has a chance to meet them, understand them and defeat them. Living in a bubble isn't the answer to good health. Your immune system is like a locked and loaded army—it needs to stay busy fighting off invaders or the immune equivalent of friendly fire can take place, leading to auto-immune diseases. (This is also known as the Hygiene Hypothesis.)
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If your immune system isn't up to the task of fighting off the microscopic enemies, you and your partner can help it out by taking some fairly easy steps to boost its chances. For instance:
1. Eat raw garlic. Yes, raw. A large body of medical evidence reveals that garlic, a natural antioxidant and antibiotic, must be consumed raw for its effective ingredient, allicin, to be released. Munching on a clove at the first sign of an itchy throat can be one of the best ways to ward off any disease.
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However, 70 percent of those who eat garlic develop garlic breath—something your partner can probably smell even with that stuffed up nose. The solution? Eat some fresh parsley, which eliminates the smell—and is good for you as well.
2. Take a cold shower. No, we're not telling you to have less sex. In fact, although a cold shower has long been considered a great desire killer, a study from the UK shows that cold showers actually stimulate the testicles to produce more sperm. That's not why it's good for your health, though.