From massages to ginger tea, these healthy tips will help you stay healthy

They survive cold season without a sniffle. They fly in germ-packed airplanes unscathed. And they somehow avoid stomach bugs that decimate the office.

Wish you could be one of these people who never get sick? Try one or – even better – all of these secrets to help boost your immune system.

Get a massage

Most studies show that massage can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate – and lowering these is likely to cause your stress level to drop, one key to building immunity.

Any type of rubdown is fine, as long as you ask for moderate pressure. The therapist's touch should be vigorous enough to move or indent skin but not so hard that it causes pain.

Of course, you don't have to leave your house to enjoy the benefits of a good massage. There are plenty of tools you can use at home.

How often do you need a massage? There's no science on that, but experts say once a month (or more) is worthwhile.

Take a cold shower

Devotees claim cold showers help with low energy, migraines, circulation, and pain reduction.

Try small doses. Although a 10-minute cold shower might be tolerable in the summertime, in the winter you may want to opt for a one-minute blast at the end of a warm shower. Consult your doctor if you have cardiovascular problems, because the sudden chill can cause a spike in blood pressure.

Take ginger

For centuries, ginger has been the go-to root for a wide range of gastrointestinal distresses, including constipation. Researchers believe its compounds stimulate digestive secretions, improve intestinal muscle tone, and help move food through the gastrointestinal tract.

Fresh ginger – sipped in tea or eaten straight-up – is best. But ginger in other forms (dried, powdered, cooked) can be effective too.

Wash your hands

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand-washing is the number-one action you can take to dodge the one billion colds people come down with annually (not to mention the bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella, that cause foodborne illnesses).

Wash with regular soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice). Vigorously scrub all parts of your hands, not just palms, and check your fingernails for trapped dirt. Dry with paper towels, or designate a cloth hand towel for each member of your household.

Take vitamin C and zinc

Although vitamin C and zinc for cold prevention remain controversial, some studies show that C is helpful – especially for people who are under extreme stress – and that zinc can prevent viruses from multiplying. Experts say there's no harm in trying.

Experts suggest taking a conservative amount of vitamin C (500 milligrams a day) at the first sign of a cold. (The Institute of Medicine advises drawing the line at 2,000 mg daily to avoid gastrointestinal or kidney problems.) As for zinc, experts suggest taking zinc lozenges several times a day when a cold starts.

Eat more garlic

Garlic is rich in antioxidants that boost immunity and fight inflammation. That means the herb, in addition to boosting defenses against everyday illness, probably helps to stave off cancer and boost heart health.

If you're worried about bad breath and yucky burps, you're not alone. Happily, there are options with fewer side effects. Aged-garlic extract is a great odor-free alternative, and it even has a higher concentration of the potent compounds that make garlic a superfood.

Stay positive

In one study, participants who had heightened activity in a region of the brain associated with a positive attitude produced greater amounts of flu antibodies. Researchers aren't clear on the connection, but they do know the brain communicates with the immune system, and vice versa.

If you don't always think positively, experts say, you can at least learn to be less negative. Don't dwell on your symptoms when you do get sick, and try not to assume the worst (like telling yourself, "I always get sick this time of year" or "This cold blows the whole week"). You probably can't change your personality, but you can change your behaviour.

Get a little sunshine

We’re lucky that we get plenty of sunshine in our corner of the globe… so use it!

A few minutes of sunshine each day boosts your body’s production of Vitamin D. In turn, studies have shown that a healthy level of Vitamin D is ideal to signal your immune system to survey your body to look for and remove unhealthy cells in the first place. So get outside and get at least 15 minutes when possible.