Bloating, indigestion, abdominal pain…CDC scientists say one in three of us may be infected with an intestinal parasite thanks to imported produce, contaminated water and international travel. “Parasites can also make you feel achy, tired and blue,” says Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D. Here are four easy ways avoid them and kill them off fast…
Let meals rest
Frozen microwavable meals are huge time-savers — but if the instructions say to leave the food sitting for at least one minute after cooking, you’re smart to do it! CDC researchers say “standing time” is an essential step in killing parasites and other germs that can sneak into packaged foods during manufacturing. Indeed, a CDC investigation proved that just letting microwaved meals rest could have prevented a massive 18-state outbreak of foodborne illness!
Boost defenses with a big salad
Foods rich in vitamin A (found in orange and green produce like leafy greens, carrots and squash) and zinc (pumpkin seeds and spinach) rev activity of cells that seek out and destroy invaders, plus turn on immunity-regulating genes.
Wash this way
Hand sanitizers kill viruses but not parasites. Fortunately, research in the journal PLOS Med suggests scrubbing your hands with soap and water three times daily can cut your risk of intestinal parasites by as much as 68 percent. Explains study co-author Mark Spigt, M.D., the troublemakers can’t harm you if they don’t get into your mouth.
Cook with garlic
Garlic’s sulfur compounds destroy 80 different types of intestinal bacteria, viruses and fungi — and scientists now say eating one large clove daily can start killing intestinal parasites within two hours of the first dose, plus cut infection levels by as much as 50 percent in one week.
Filling your tummy with healthy bacteria could cut your risk of parasitic infections by 61 percent. “Probiotics coat your digestive tract lining, making it harder for pathogens to latch on,” explains Gittleman. Try: Life Extension FlorAssist® GI with Phage Technology (LEF.com/ww). Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.