#1 Shortcut to Online Business Success

As a new marketer or a marketer who is not yet earning 6 figures, building a business can be slow going. You’ve got to write lots of articles and blog posts, do SEO, write a weekly newsletter, participate in 2-5 social media venues a day, network at events, etc. And all of this is just to get your business off the ground.

There is a major shortcut to success that bypasses all of this time and effort, and it’s doing joint ventures. A joint venture is you and your partner sharing resources for mutual benefit. A typical joint venture is simply, “You promote my program and I’ll promote your program.” Using nothing but joint ventures, you can grow your business so much faster than by doing all of those other things we’re told to do. JV’s are a massive, MASSIVE shortcut to success.

But when you’re new and you still don’t have a very large list of your own, big JV players will seldom even talk to you, much less do a JV with you which is a real shame. These potential JV partners have already done all those things we listed to build their good name and their lists. If you could simply get your offer in front of their list, you would be golden.

But there is a way to get potential JV partners to pay attention to you, even if you do not yet have a list. Are you ready for this? No, it’s not sending them FedEx packages or calling them on the phone or promising to clean their house for a month if they’ll just mail for you. Instead, the secret to getting JV partners when you don’t have a list of your own is to:

Have a BIG idea or a unique vision that gets them fired up. Everyone, including potential JV partners, want to be part of something BIGGER than themselves.

Your big idea is going to depend upon your niche. If you’re gardening, maybe it’s to raise money for community gardens or to send seed to countries in need. If your niche is weight loss, maybe it’s a challenge to get 10,000 of America’s office workers to lose 500,000 pounds. (That’s 50 pounds each, so target accordingly.) If your niche is teaching music, maybe it’s to fund an inner-city program.

The point is to have a BIG IDEA and then get as many JV partners on board as possible. There’s a tipping point effect involved in this – once you get a few prominent names in your niche, others will quickly sign up because of the star power of those first comers. Movies are cast like this, too. Once a star comes on board a movie, EVERYONE wants to be in that movie.

And by the way, this is also the secret to motivating yourself. I’ve noticed that sometimes earning an extra $___ a month isn’t enough to motivate some would-be marketers, but having a really big goal that helps others gets them fired up and moving.

So it’s a 2 for 1. Get a big goal and you’ll not only find that JV partners want to join you – you’ll also discover that you have more motivation and energy for the project.

And there’s another lesson in this – just because something doesn’t seem to work doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Just because the established marketers in your niche seem adverse to doing JV’s with newcomers doesn’t mean you throw in the towel and go home. Instead, you persevere and you find another way. And getting a big BIG idea that gets people fired up is that other way.

So make yourself a list of possible big ideas. Keep the question simmering in the back of your brain for the next few days – what would be so big it will get you and your future JV partners fired up? The answer will come when you least suspect it – quite possibly as you’re driving, showering or falling asleep. When the answers come, write them down.

Then, when the timing is right, take massive action and put your BIG IDEA in motion.

3 Vitamins That Are Best for Boosting Your Immunity

By Cleveland Clinic

Eating right is a critical step to ward off illness

The old saying, “An apple a day can keep the doctor away,” may have truth behind it after all. Eating nourishing foods rich in certain vitamins can help your immune system fight off illness.

We talked to registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD for a closer look at these vitamins, what foods you can find them in and how they can help keep you healthy. Here’s what she had to say:

  • Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health because your body doesn’t produce or store it. The good news is that vitamin C is in so many foods that most people don’t need to take a vitamin C supplement unless a doctor advises it.
  • Vitamin B6 is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system.  Vitamin B6-rich foods include chicken and cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna. Vitamin B6 also is found in green vegetables and in chickpeas, which is the main ingredient in hummus.
  • Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. Foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and spinach.

Vivid veggies

Ms. Zumpano suggests a simple rule that can help you when choosing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or farmers market: the more colorful the fruits and vegetables are, the better.

“Try to eat a wide variety of foods, and aim to eat fruit and vegetables from every color of the rainbow,” Ms. Zumpano says. “Your plate is more enticing to look at, and you will ensure that you’re getting as many health-boosting vitamins and nutrients as possible.”

It’s also important to know that you build a strong immune system by maintaining healthy eating habits over time. You can’t eat four oranges at breakfast and expect to be protected that day against catching a cold.

The role of supplements

While vitamins and supplements can help fill in the gaps in your diet, the best way to load up on essential nutrients is to get them straight from food.

Your body absorbs and uses vitamins and nutrients better when they come from a dietary source. When it’s a vitamin or supplement,  it’s often questionable how much you’re actually getting. Because supplements are regulated as foods, not as drugs, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t evaluate the quality of supplements or assess their effects on the body.

Some supplements may have side effects, especially if taken before surgery or with other medicines. Supplements can also cause problems if you have certain health conditions. And the effects of many supplements haven’t been tested in children, pregnant women, and other groups.

It’s especially important to avoid taking vitamin E supplements. Not only is there little clinical research showing that vitamin E supplements benefit your health, but they may also be harmful in some situations.

For these reasons, experts say it’s best to get vitamins through food rather than supplements.

“Talk with your health care provider if you’re thinking about taking dietary supplements,” Ms. Zumpano says.

Staying hydrated can boost your immune health too, Ms. Zumpano says. Water helps your body produce lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells. Try to avoid overdoing beverages that can be made you dehydrated, such as coffee. Or try eating more hydrating foods, such as cucumbers, celery or watermelon.

Reverse Engineering Your Way To Success

Tony Robbins is fond of saying that “Success leaves clues,” and he’s right. Let’s look at how to use this to your advantage so that you can reverse engineer your way to success.

Say your goal is to make $10,000 a month with your online business since that’s a very popular goal among Internet marketers.

How do you want to make that income? Perhaps you want to create and sell products in a particular niche, or list build, or do CPA, or build a membership site. Your first step is to decide what it is that you want to do and what niche you want to do it in.

I suggest running some numbers as well. For example, if you’re creating products then you need to sell 100+ $97 products a month to reach $10,000 a month. Or sell twice that many if you’re using affiliates and paying 50% commissions.

If you’ve got your niche selected but you don’t know what to do next, then your first step is to find every big marketer in that niche and get on their lists. See what they’re doing, what they’re saying, and especially what they’re selling. This should give you some terrific ideas in less than a week’s time. Write down all of your ideas, even the ones you think are silly or beyond your reach.

Now then, narrow your choices. Maybe you’ve decided to create a blog, build a list and sell affiliate products and your own membership site. Now you have a plan. You can get basic info from the Internet on starting your blog and list building to get you started.

Next, you’re going to analyze what your competitors are doing that’s working in terms of blogging, list building, selling affiliate products and running a membership site in your niche. This is information you won’t get out of any course. It’s been said that if you want to know the real secrets of what the best marketers do, then you should watch what they do rather than listen to what they say. That’s why you joined your competitors’ lists, to see how they’re doing what they’re doing.

Questions to research:

How are they getting traffic?
Where do they get their links?
Who are their affiliates?
What is their content strategy?
What is their unique selling point?
How do they structure their websites?
Who is their audience?
What is their website or product missing?
And so forth.

There are multiple tools online to help you do this which you can research on Google. This isn’t a tutorial I’m offering you here so much as a mindset:

Success is simple, because no matter what you want to accomplish, in most cases someone has already done it or something very close to it. You don’t need to reinvent anything, you just need to find out what they did and go do it yourself.

Mind you, I’m not suggesting you infringe upon any copyrights. Rather, I’m suggesting that there are no wheels that need reinventing. Furthermore, if someone else can do it, then you certainly can as well. You can outsource anything you cannot do and fill in the rest yourself.

And you don’t want to “copy” when it comes to content. Let’s say your entire strategy for earning $10,000 a month is to build a $97 membership site and keep it filled with 100+ members. Let’s also say that someone else in your niche is already doing that. Should you copy them? Not exactly. By all means use their methods for traffic and lead generation, since those are obviously working. But create your own brand, your own unique selling proposition, and your own unique content. Furthermore, whatever it is they’re doing, you want to do it better in some way. This means delivering more results or delivering those results in an easier way, or something that sets you apart and above the other membership site. This will make it easier to get and retain members.

Focus your efforts on taking care of your customers and you’ll find the money tends to take care of itself. As Zig Ziglar used to say, “When you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.”

Now then, don’t restrict your reverse engineering to your own niche. Many times you can gain valuable insights from other niches that translate nicely to yours. For example, you might be in the fashion niche and you see a financial membership that sends out a CD every month, or has a hotline, or somehow personalizes content for each member. Is this something you could do in your fashion membership? Perhaps you send out a CD of the latest styles and patterns. Or you have a fashion ‘hotline’ on your site that offers the latest fashion industry insider’s news. Or you have a feature that shows members how each new clothing line would look on their particular body build.

Mind you, I know nothing about fashion, in case you couldn’t guess. My fashion style is simple: If it’s comfortable and doesn’t make me look silly, I wear it. Perhaps there’s a need for a fashion website for people like me.

My whole point is this: Stop thinking you’ve got to start from scratch, or that every answer is hidden inside the latest marketing info product. The truth is you already have the capability to discover exactly what is working – because success leaves clues. All you have to do is play detective, follow the clues and get busy reverse engineering your own success story.

Why is PayPal Limiting Accounts Again?

For those marketers who have been around for a few years, you’ll remember back when PayPal was suddenly and often mysteriously limiting people’s accounts without warning. Well, as Yogi Berra used to say, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

In the past month, PayPal has placed limits on accounts of some pretty serious (ie: BIG) online marketers.

As you know, PayPal is one of the largest payment platforms on the planet. They make it super easy for marketers to take payments and sell just about anything online and offline, too.

But here’s the problem that crops up from time to time… when PayPal doesn’t like something about your business, they don’t call you to talk about it. They don’t send a warning letter or give any kind of indication that they’re not happy with how you’re doing things. Instead, without warning, they ‘limit’ your account.

What are account limitations?

According to PayPal, account limitations are temporary restrictions placed on a specific account that could prevent withdrawing, sending, or receiving money.

Having limitations on an account doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve done anything wrong. Rather, they are used to help protect both the buyer and the seller.

PayPal will sometimes tell you why they’ve limited your account. Other times, it’s anyone’s guess, and you can spend hours on the phone with their representatives and still not have an answer.

It can be frustrating, infuriating, and even business-killing if you don’t have an alternate way to take and send payments.

Possible reasons a PayPal account is ‘limited’ may include:

1: Selling things that are against the PayPal acceptable use policy (AUP) or terms of service (TOS).

This one is obvious. Read their AUP and TOS, and if you have questions, call PayPal and ask them. Examples of items you can’t sell using PayPal include guns and prescription medicines, as well as illegal drugs.

2: Making claims you shouldn’t be making.

If you’re promising monetary results, using misleading copy or doing anything that implies people will get certain results – stop.

Possible examples: “This diet will remove 22 pounds of ugly fat in 11 days.” Or… “This system will make you $100 a day.” Never promise certain results, or any results, for that matter. You can share the results others have gotten without implying that anyone else will get the same results.

3: Too many disputes and chargebacks.

No payment processor likes getting disputes and chargebacks, and too many of them will raise an instant red flag. Take care of your customer service and make it super easy for customers to contact you. If someone asks for a refund, take care of it as soon as possible. Have a clear refund policy in place that is easy to find.

4: PayPal suspects an unauthorized person is using your account.

According to PayPal: If PayPal believes someone is using your account without your knowledge, the account could be limited to protect you from fraudulent charges while PayPal investigates the suspicious transactions.

Similar steps may be taken if your debit or credit card issuer or bank notifies PayPal that someone has used your card or bank account without permission.

5: Encouraging customers to somehow break the law.

For example, if you’re selling software that steals something from websites or people, you’re encouraging your buyers to do something illegal. There might be a lot of grey area here. For example, a car could be used to run someone over, but no one is going to shut you down for selling a car. However, the same might not apply to a tool used to break into a car. If you’re selling information, software or items that could be used to harm someone else (within reason) you might want to reconsider.

6: Taking donations.

If you haven’t provided documents confirming you’re a registered nonprofit organization, PayPal will limit your account until you gather the documents necessary to satisfy regulatory requirements.

7: Using the term, “Lifetime” in your guarantee.

What is a lifetime guarantee, anyway, and how do you issue a refund a year later? You don’t.

Payment processors have a certain time limit for refunds. In PayPal’s case, it’s 6 months, subject to terms, conditions and changes.

If you are offering support, do it for a reasonable time period. After all, you can’t support software or answer questions for the rest of eternity, or even the rest of your life.

If you are offering a refund, 60 days works well. It’s long enough to make the buyer feel confident, and also long enough that they often forget to ask for a refund even if they want one.

8: Traveling abroad.

According to Paypal, here’s how to avoid account limitations while traveling.

Traveling outside of the country may trigger a warning with your account and can lead to account limitations, but you may be able to skip the hassle.

– Before your trip, set up a travel profile in your account by logging in to your PayPal account from a trusted device, such as your home computer.

– Select Profile and Settings.

– Enter information about your trip, including the dates and location of travel. You’ll also be prompted to provide a phone number and email address PayPal can use to contact you while you’re traveling if necessary.

Tip: In order to successfully set up your Travel Profile, your trip must begin within 30 days and cannot last more than one year.

9: Sudden, rapid changes in what or how much you sell.

If you start to sell an entirely new type of product, specifically higher-end items like jewelry; or there’s a rapid increase in sales volume, your account may be limited while PayPal reviews it.

10: Being An affiliate For Your Own Product Via A Separate PayPal Account

PayPal has something called the PayPal Adaptive Payments API that is used to pay instant commissions.

For example, as an affiliate, you sell Bob’s eBook. For each sale you make, you receive an Instant commission right away, the moment the sale is made.

This is possible because your PayPal account is linked to Bob’s, or to a system such as JVZoo that allows for instant payments.

Whilst this is perfectly acceptable in the scenario mentioned above when you are an affiliate for Bob’s eBook… PayPal may look very differently at this if you are an Affiliate for your own product and receiving Affiliate Commissions into your Personal PayPal account as a result of the marketing efforts you are making to sell your own eBook.

If you are either paying or receiving instant commissions, to yourself in this way my best recommendation is to immediately stop. It could like money laundering.

The concern that PayPal Adaptive Payments API is responsible for accounts being banned was recently squashed when JVZoo CEO Laura Casselman published an update on the companies social media channel.

Casselman said “There’s been a lot of discussions lately about the risks of your PayPal accounts becoming limited or banned, Unfortunately, with the lack of information supplied to those who have had their accounts negatively impacted. We can tell you that PayPal is NOT against the use of their adaptive payments, instant payments, or our industry as a whole. JVZoo has always worked closely with PayPal and we have a dedicated team there who we’ve been sharing your concerns, posts, as well as the mass misinformation being shared.”

To further settle concerns, JVZoo have also released a new feature which now allows you to manually go into your JVZoo account and set your affiliate commissions to delayed / manual payouts rather than instant if the affiliate prefers.

WarriorPlus, another popular Affiliate platform has decided to handle things differently. Here they suggest using the Warrior “Wallet” system which puts a layer of protection between vendors, affiliates and partners. Payment goes into the wallet for seven days and then can be drawn out via PayPal, Stripe or Veem.

We don’t know if the latest round of PayPal limits was caused by instant commissions, adaptive payments or… what. No one outside of PayPal seems to have the answer.

What we do know is the following:

If you use PayPal, you’ll want to follow all their rules and stay away from instant commissions.

Have a backup. Always have a backup. If PayPal one day tells you to take a flying leap, you want to be able to flip the switch to your back up system, whether that’s Warrior, ClickBank, your own merchant account or something else.

Never keep more money in PayPal than you can afford to lose, should the worst happen and your account is permanently limited or closed.

This means keeping enough in your account to pay vendors and issue refunds and continually transferring the excess into your checking account.

If your account is limited, you might receive a notification via email or on your account overview page.

Respond to this warning immediately by logging into your PayPal account and taking the necessary actions to help you avoid account limitations altogether.

Visit the Resolution Center to review details of why your account has been limited. This is also where you’ll find the requested information from PayPal.

Requests will vary depending on the issue but some possibilities are:

– Invoices from your suppliers
– Information about payments
– Proof of shipment, tracking information, and buyers’ information
– Proof of address
– Proof of identity

When does PayPal remove account limitations?

From their website: The time it takes to have account limitations lifted varies depending on the issue. The fastest way to keep the process moving is to submit the requested information as quickly as you can. Once you have, we’ll get back to you, usually in three business days or less, with next steps. We may request additional information. Tip: You can view your account status at any time in the Resolution Center. If for any reason you can’t complete the necessary steps to remove the limitations, contact Customer Service directly for help.

According to the PayPal website, if you’ve completed the steps to remove the limitation and your account is still limited, it means one of their specialists still needs to review your information. And if they need more information, they will email you.

Once their review is complete, they will email you. And they also want you to know that their customer service specialist can’t lift your limitation over the phone. Meaning, I imagine, that no amount of pleading, begging or badgering will get the account limit removed when you talk to them.

A few more tips to avoid limits on your PayPal account:

If you haven’t already done so, verify your account. PayPal closely monitors new accounts since these are the accounts most likely to be connected to crimes and scams.

To verify your PayPal account, add a credit card and a bank account, and verify both of them.

Verification of a credit card is automatic (make sure the credit card has the same address you gave PayPal.)

Verification of a bank account involves PayPal sending two deposits to your account of less than a dollar each. Once you see these amounts in your account, log into PayPal and enter the amounts to verify the account is indeed yours.

Your new account will have limits on how much you can receive and withdraw until you provide information on your identity. This can be as simple as providing a tax number, or in some cases sending copies of national ID cards.

If you’re just opening a new PayPal account, use it sparingly the first month. Since most fraud happens within 30 days, PayPal is especially vigilant during this period.

If you are expecting to receive a large sum of money, then you should call PayPal ahead of time so they expect to see the extra funds. In other words, if you are planning a large product launch, make sure you let them know ahead of time.

When you first signup for Paypal Website Payments Pro, there’s a survey that you have to take. Make sure that you check off higher numbers in terms of how much money you anticipate making every month.

Contact Paypal to make sure that your account is not limited in any way in terms of how much money you can accept per day. Sometimes limits are placed depending on various factors relating to your credit history or background checks.

Make sure your name or the name of your business is on your PayPal account and that it exactly matches your bank account and credit cards.

Use the exact same addresses and phone numbers that match your bank account and credit cards.

Always use trackable methods of shipping if you ship physical goods in case a dispute is filed against you.

Make sure that your FEIN or social security number exactly matches the name of your business on the account.

Stay away from using proxies for your IP address. There have been rumors that the company logs the first IP address each user uses to create his or her account with. Using a proxy would hide your real identity, providing you anonymity; however, this action raises a red flag at PayPal, often resulting in your account getting limited.

If your account does get limited, opening a second account likely won’t be much help. By the Terms of Service of the company, you can have one personal and one business account. If you create, for example, a personal account, and it ends up getting limited, and if you register for another personal account at the firm, it will likely get limited as well.

What if the Account Limitation is NOT Removed?

PayPal can hold your money for 180 days. And even then, you might have to remind them to send you your money. There have been stories of people who, once they exhausted all other avenues, contacted one or more government agencies. Which agencies you contact will depend on which country you live in. And as some of these stories go, their money was (or was not) released within days.

Without providing legal advice, if you’ve done all you can with PayPal and they are still holding onto your money, there is no reason NOT to seek help from any agency willing to look into it, such as your state attorney general or consumer protection office if you’re in the U.S.

And if the amount is large enough, you might even seek legal help.

Here are the two big takeaways from all of this:

1: Follow PayPal’s rules, and always err on the side of caution.

2: Be ready for anything, meaning don’t leave large sums of money in PayPal, and do have a backup payment processor ready to go at a moment’s notice.

As Yogi Berra used to say, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

How to Boost Your Immune System

Helpful ways to strengthen your immune system and fight off disease

By Harvard Health – July 16, 2018

How can you improve your immune system? On the whole, your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against disease-causing microorganisms. But sometimes it fails: A germ invades successfully and makes you sick. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system? What if you improve your diet? Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing a near-perfect immune response?

What can you do to boost your immune system?

The idea of boosting your immunity is enticing, but the ability to do so has proved elusive for several reasons. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don’t know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response. For now, there are no scientifically proven direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function.

But that doesn’t mean the effects of lifestyle on the immune system aren’t intriguing and shouldn’t be studied. Researchers are exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response, both in animals and in humans. In the meantime, general healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.

Healthy ways to strengthen your immune system

Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
  • Try to minimize stress.

Increase immunity the healthy way

Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body — immune cells or others — is not necessarily a good thing. For example, athletes who engage in “blood doping” — pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance — run the risk of strokes.

Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in so many ways. Which cells should you boost, and to what number? So far, scientists do not know the answer. What is known is that the body is continually generating immune cells. Certainly it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use. The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death called apoptosis — some before they see any action, some after the battle is won. No one knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level.

Immune system and age

As we age, our immune response capability becomes reduced, which in turn contributes to more infections and more cancer. As life expectancy in developed countries has increased, so too has the incidence of age-related conditions.

While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are more likely to contract infectious diseases and, even more importantly, more likely to die from them. Respiratory infections, influenza, and particularly pneumonia are a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide. No one knows for sure why this happens, but some scientists observe that this increased risk correlates with a decrease in T cells, possibly from the thymus atrophying with age and producing fewer T cells to fight off infection. Whether this decrease in thymus function explains the drop in T cells or whether other changes play a role is not fully understood. Others are interested in whether the bone marrow becomes less efficient at producing the stem cells that give rise to the cells of the immune system.

A reduction in immune response to infections has been demonstrated by older people’s response to vaccines. For example, studies of influenza vaccines have shown that for people over age 65, the vaccine is much less effective compared to healthy children (over age 2). But despite the reduction in efficacy, vaccinations for influenza and S. pneumoniae have significantly lowered the rates of sickness and death in older people when compared with no vaccination.

There appears to be a connection between nutrition and immunity in the elderly. A form of malnutrition that is surprisingly common even in affluent countries is known as “micronutrient malnutrition.” Micronutrient malnutrition, in which a person is deficient in some essential vitamins and trace minerals that are obtained from or supplemented by diet, can be common in the elderly. Older people tend to eat less and often have less variety in their diets. One important question is whether dietary supplements may help older people maintain a healthier immune system. Older people should discuss this question with a physician who is well versed in geriatric nutrition, because while some dietary supplementation may be beneficial for older people, even small changes can have serious repercussions in this age group.

Diet and your immune system

Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach. Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Scientists have long recognized that people who live in poverty and are malnourished are more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Whether the increased rate of disease is caused by malnutrition’s effect on the immune system, however, is not certain. There are still relatively few studies of the effects of nutrition on the immune system of humans, and even fewer studies that tie the effects of nutrition directly to the development (versus the treatment) of diseases.

Supercharge your cold and flu defenses!

27 surprising secrets, smart strategies, and simple steps to keep your immune system at its cold-and-flu-fighting bestGet the tips to stay healthy

There is some evidence that various micronutrient deficiencies — for example, deficiencies of zinc, selenium, iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, and E — alter immune responses in animals, as measured in the test tube. However, the impact of these immune system changes on the health of animals is less clear, and the effect of similar deficiencies on the human immune response has yet to be assessed.

So what can you do? If you suspect your diet is not providing you with all your micronutrient needs — maybe, for instance, you don’t like vegetables — taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement may bring other health benefits, beyond any possibly beneficial effects on the immune system. Taking megadoses of a single vitamin does not. More is not necessarily better.

Improve immunity with herbs and supplements?

Walk into a store, and you will find bottles of pills and herbal preparations that claim to “support immunity” or otherwise boost the health of your immune system. Although some preparations have been found to alter some components of immune function, thus far there is no evidence that they actually bolster immunity to the point where you are better protected against infection and disease. Demonstrating whether an herb — or any substance, for that matter — can enhance immunity is, as yet, a highly complicated matter. Scientists don’t know, for example, whether an herb that seems to raise the levels of antibodies in the blood is actually doing anything beneficial for overall immunity.

Stress and immune function

Modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship of mind and body. A wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress. Despite the challenges, scientists are actively studying the relationship between stress and immune function.

For one thing, stress is difficult to define. What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another. When people are exposed to situations they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person’s subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate. The scientist can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors.

Most scientists studying the relationship of stress and immune function, however, do not study a sudden, short-lived stressor; rather, they try to study more constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as that caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or sustained challenges to perform well at one’s work. Some scientists are investigating whether ongoing stress takes a toll on the immune system.

But it is hard to perform what scientists call “controlled experiments” in human beings. In a controlled experiment, the scientist can change one and only one factor, such as the amount of a particular chemical, and then measure the effect of that change on some other measurable phenomenon, such as the amount of antibodies produced by a particular type of immune system cell when it is exposed to the chemical. In a living animal, and especially in a human being, that kind of control is just not possible, since there are so many other things happening to the animal or person at the time that measurements are being taken.

Despite these inevitable difficulties in measuring the relationship of stress to immunity, scientists are making progress.

Does being cold give you a weak immune system?

Almost every mother has said it: “Wear a jacket or you’ll catch a cold!” Is she right? So far, researchers who are studying this question think that normal exposure to moderate cold doesn’t increase your susceptibility to infection. Most health experts agree that the reason winter is “cold and flu season” is not that people are cold, but that they spend more time indoors, in closer contact with other people who can pass on their germs.

But researchers remain interested in this question in different populations. Some experiments with mice suggest that cold exposure might reduce the ability to cope with infection. But what about humans? Scientists have dunked people in cold water and made others sit nude in subfreezing temperatures. They’ve studied people who lived in Antarctica and those on expeditions in the Canadian Rockies. The results have been mixed. For example, researchers documented an increase in upper respiratory infections in competitive cross-country skiers who exercise vigorously in the cold, but whether these infections are due to the cold or other factors — such as the intense exercise or the dryness of the air — is not known.

A group of Canadian researchers that has reviewed hundreds of medical studies on the subject and conducted some of its own research concludes that there’s no need to worry about moderate cold exposure — it has no detrimental effect on the human immune system. Should you bundle up when it’s cold outside? The answer is “yes” if you’re uncomfortable, or if you’re going to be outdoors for an extended period where such problems as frostbite and hypothermia are a risk. But don’t worry about immunity.

Exercise: Good or bad for immunity?

Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

Some scientists are trying to take the next step to determine whether exercise directly affects a person’s susceptibility to infection. For example, some researchers are looking at whether extreme amounts of intensive exercise can cause athletes to get sick more often or somehow impairs their immune function. To do this sort of research, exercise scientists typically ask athletes to exercise intensively; the scientists test their blood and urine before and after the exercise to detect any changes in immune system components. While some changes have been recorded, immunologists do not yet know what these changes mean in terms of human immune response.

But these subjects are elite athletes undergoing intense physical exertion. What about moderate exercise for average people? Does it help keep the immune system healthy? For now, even though a direct beneficial link hasn’t been established, it’s reasonable to consider moderate regular exercise to be a beneficial arrow in the quiver of healthy living, a potentially important means for keeping your immune system healthy along with the rest of your body.

One approach that could help researchers get more complete answers about whether lifestyle factors such as exercise help improve immunity takes advantage of the sequencing of the human genome. This opportunity for research based on updated biomedical technology can be employed to give a more complete answer to this and similar questions about the immune system. For example, microarrays or “gene chips” based on the human genome allow scientists to look simultaneously at how thousands of gene sequences are turned on or off in response to specific physiological conditions — for example, blood cells from athletes before and after exercise. Researchers hope to use these tools to analyze patterns in order to better understand how the many pathways involved act at once.

Disclaimer:
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

How to Get a Crash Course in Online Sales

… And see what your best competitors are doing, too. When you look at a marketing campaign from the outside in, you miss a lot. But when you join competitor’s lists and let them sell to you, you’ll get to dig beneath the surface and see what’s REALLY happening.

Read their emails, subscribe to their membership sites and buy their products. Take note of their entire selling process from start to finish. You might do screen capture for upsells, download pages and so forth.

I am NOT advocating that you copy what they’re doing – at least not blatantly. But if you notice a step they take that seems to be working, you might add that step to your own funnel as well.

For example, I bought a product the other week that had sales offers on the download page. There is nothing new about additional sales offers in general, except these offers were increasing in price by a penny every 7 seconds, right on the download page. It was instantly clear these products were being sold, and the price was going up.

I forgot about downloading my product and instead went immediately to the sales page of one of the products, where I found the same thing – the price was increasing by a penny every 7 seconds.

The counter wasn’t obnoxious, but it was in plain view in the upper right-hand corner the entire time as I scrolled through the sales letter. And I never would have seen this if I hadn’t purchased the product.

So if you want to increase your own sales and profits online, find the top-selling products in your niche, enter their sales funnel, buy the product and learn everything you can along the way that you can apply to your own business.

Do this, and instead of re-inventing the wheel, you’ll leverage the experience of other successful campaigns and businesses for your own benefit so you can grow your business faster, and help more people by ensuring your products and services are sold to the most buyers who will benefit from them as possible.

The Secrets to Never Getting Sick

By Joann Jovinally

Most secrets to good health aren’t secrets at all, but common sense. For example, you should avoid contact with bacteria and viruses at school and work. But a whole host of other feel-good solutions can help you live healthier while avoiding that runny nose or sore throat. Here are 12 tips for preventing colds and the flu.

1. Eat green vegetables

Green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins that help you maintain a balanced diet — and support a healthy immune system. According to a study of mice, eating cruciferous vegetables sends a chemical signal to the body that boosts specific cell-surface proteins necessary for efficient immune-system function. In this study, healthy mice deprived of green vegetables lost 70 to 80 percent of cell-surface proteins.

2. Get Vitamin D

Reports indicate that many Americans fall short of their daily vitamin D requirements. Deficiencies in vitamin D may lead to symptoms such as poor bone growth, cardiovascular problems, and a weak immune system.

Results from a 2012 study in the journal Pediatrics suggest that all children should be checked for adequate vitamin D levels. This is especially important for those with dark skin since they don’t get vitamin D as easily from exposure to sunlight.

Foods that are good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon, canned tuna, and beef liver. You can also buy vitamin D supplements at your local grocery store or pharmacy. Choose supplements that contain D3 (cholecalciferol), since it’s better at raising your blood levels of vitamin D.

3. Keep moving

Staying active by following a regular exercise routine — such as walking three times a week — does more than keep you fit and trim. According to a study published in the journal Neurologic Clinicians, regular exercise also:

  • keeps inflammation and chronic disease at bay
  • reduces stress and the release of stress-related hormones
  • accelerates the circulation of disease-fighting white blood cells (WBCs), which helps the body fight the common cold

4. Get enough sleep

Getting adequate sleep is extremely important if you’ve been exposed to a virus, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Healthy adult participants who slept a minimum of eight hours each night over a two-week period showed greater resistance to the virus. Those who slept seven hours or less each night were about three percent more likely to develop the virus after exposure.

One reason may be that the body releases cytokines during extended periods of sleep. Cytokines are a type of protein. They help the body fight infection by regulating the immune system.

5. Skip the alcohol

New research shows that drinking alcohol can damage the body’s dendritic cells, a vital component of the immune system. An increase in alcohol consumption over time can increase a person’s exposure to bacterial and viral infections.

A studyTrusted Source in the journal Clinical and Vaccine Immunology compared the dendritic cells and immune system responses in alcohol-fed mice to mice that hadn’t been supplied alcohol. Alcohol suppressed the immunity in mice to varying degrees. Doctors say the study helps explain why vaccines are less effective for people with alcohol addiction.

6. Calm down

For years, doctors suspected there was a connection between chronic mental stress and physical illness. Finding an effective way to regulate personal stress may go a long way toward better overall health, according to a 2012 study published by the National Academy of Sciences. Try practicing yoga or meditation to relieve stress.

Cortisol helps the body fight inflammation and disease. The constant release of the hormone in people who are chronically stressed lessens its overall effectiveness. This can result in increased inflammation and disease, as well as a less effective immune system.

7. Drink green tea

For centuries, green tea has been associated with good health. Green tea’s health benefits may be due to its high level of antioxidants, called flavonoids.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, several fresh-brewed cups a day can lead to potential health benefits. These include lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

8. Add color to meals

Do you have trouble remembering to eat your fruits and vegetables at every meal? Cooking with all colors of the rainbow will help you get a wide range of vitamins such as vitamin C.

While there’s no evidence that vitamin C can reduce the severity or length of illness, a 2006 study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that it may help the immune system ward off colds and flu, especially in those who are stressed.

9. Be social

Doctors have long seen a connection between chronic disease and loneliness, especially in people recovering from heart surgery. Some health authorities even consider social isolation a risk factor for chronic diseases.

Research published by the American Psychological Association suggests that social isolation may increase stress, which slows the body’s immune response and ability to heal quickly. In the study, male rats were slightly more susceptible to damage from social isolation than females.

10. Get a flu vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source recommends that all people over six months of age get a yearly flu vaccine. However, exceptions should be made for certain people, including those who have severe allergic reactions to chicken eggs. A severe allergy leads to symptoms such as hives or anaphylaxis.

People who have had severe reactions to influenza vaccinations in the past should also avoid yearly vaccines. In rare instances, the vaccine may lead to the development of Guillain-Barré syndromeTrusted Source.

11. Practice good hygiene

Limiting your exposure to illness by avoiding germs is key to remaining healthy. Here are some other ways to practice good hygiene:

  • Shower daily.
  • Wash your hands before eating or preparing food.
  • Wash your hands before inserting contact lenses or performing any other activity that brings you in contact with the eyes or mouth.
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds and scrub under your fingernails.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Carry an alcohol-based hand cleaner for on-the-go use. Disinfect shared surfaces, such as keyboards, telephones, doorknobs, and remote controls.

12. Keep it personal

Flu viruses can generally survive on surfaces for 24 hours, according to the National Health Service. That leaves plenty of time for germs to spread among family members. Just one sick child can pass an illness to an entire family in the right setting.

To avoid sharing germs, keep personal items separate. Personal items include:

  • toothbrushes
  • towels
  • utensils
  • drinking glasses

Wash contaminated items — especially toys that are shared — in hot, soapy water. When in doubt, opt for disposable drinking cups, utensils, and towels.

Takeaway

Staying healthy is more than just practicing a few good techniques when you don’t feel well. It involves regular exercise, healthy foods, and staying hydrated throughout the day.

Your body works hard to keep you moving and active, so make sure to give it the food it needs to remain in tip-top shape. 

The Shiny Object Syndrome

How to Stay Focused and Stop Getting Distracted

By Celestine Chua

Have you heard of the Shiny Object Syndrome? It is the tendency for someone to chase something new — be it a new business idea, tool, or goal — rather than to stay focused on what they’re doing.

It is similar to a child who is attracted to anything that’s shiny and new. I have a nephew who is 18 months old, and he is constantly attracted to anything that moves or emits sound. As a child approaches a new object that he’s never seen, he’s intrigued at first, but quickly loses interest as the item loses its appeal. He’s then attracted to the next new shiny thing, only to lose interest and seek the next new shiny object!

You know that you have experienced the shiny object syndrome if you can relate to the following:

  • You have a list of business ideas but nothing gets executed.
  • You constantly start new goals but never see them through to the end.
  • You jump from one internet course to another, drawn by the wild claims of each course.
  • You frequently jump from one goal to the next rather than sticking with what you’re doing to the end.
  • You keep registering new domain names, even launching new websites, but you never work on building those sites.
  • You have a collection of plugins and tools, but you don’t actually use them.

The Issue with the Shiny Object Syndrome

At the heart of it, the issue with the shiny object syndrome is a distraction. Being constantly drawn to new ideas and tools, and abandoning important tasks in the process.

When you’re constantly distracted, a few issues happen:

  1. You never get things done. That’s because you’re always on to something new, rather than completing your current plans.
  2. You spend too much time on new ideas and fancy tools, of which 95% are noise, rather than building the fundamentals.
  3. You become a jack of all trades, master of none. That’s because you don’t spend enough time to become good at something. There is a difference between a Beginner vs. Intermediate vs. Veteran vs. Expert, and you spend too much time being a Beginner since you’re switching focus and learning things from scratch all the time. This is different from the talent stack, which means being good enough in a variety of skills, hence giving you an edge over others.
  4. Because you never get good enough at something, you never reap the market leader rewards. The market leader effect is the phenomenon where the winner takes all. Most people will only ever know the top leaders in each industry, and hence market leaders often enjoy a huge lead in market share over everyone else. When you’re constantly chasing new things, you spend too much time learning the basics of each tool, each skill, rather than building on your skills. This causes you to miss out on market leader gains.

When you are the best in your field, you enjoy significant gains — whether monetary gains, brand name recognition, or opportunities. This is the market leader effect.

But when you are constantly attracted to shiny objects, you never have the chance to become great at something. You’re always climbing the learning curve for each new thing you chase.

How to Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome: 7 Tips

So how can you stay focused and avoid the shiny object syndrome?

  1. Understand that new does not mean better. To be clear, addressing the shiny object syndrome is not about ignoring every new thing. In today’s world, it is important to keep in touch with the latest trends and updates. However, when all you do is follow every new tool and idea, you waste your time chasing trends rather than getting things done. Understand that new doesn’t mean better. Just because a company just launched something new doesn’t automatically mean that it’s better.
  2. Learn to see past the hype. There are constantly new, shiny objects in the online world. New startups, new products, new services. On social media, seeing raving reviews creates a mob mentality where you feel the need to jump in and follow what others are doing. But see past the hype. While people may brag about how great a product/service is, what’s good for others may not be good for you. Even though a company can promise the world on what their product can do, many startups, ideas come with birthing pains and issues. Rather than jump headfirst into something, question how it fits in with your priorities.
  3. Assess its fit with your work (and life). Before jumping into a new idea or tool, assess its fit with your work and life. Don’t follow what others are doing just because it’s the hottest thing now — it’s not sustainable. Ask yourself,
    1. Is this what I really need?
    2. Will it add value to my work and life?
    3. What are the pros vs. the cons of doing this? Only do something if it’s what you need and it adds genuine value to your work and life. Just because others are doing something doesn’t mean you have to.
  4. Improve your signal-to-noise ratio. The best way to manage distraction is not through discipline, but by managing the sources of distraction. When you are part of groups and newsletters that keep recommending new products, new offerings, it disrupts your focus and train of thought. You have to deal with the mental load of looking up each recommendation, assessing if it’s good for you, and making a decision about it. This is known as cognitive load, something that I mentioned in my How to Say No podcast. Instead of sieving out the noise which takes up precious mental energy, remove low-quality information sources. Evaluate your social media news feeds, Facebook group memberships, email subscriptions, and RSS feed subscriptions. What is your noise-to-signal ratio for each channel? Noise refers to information that’s irrelevant to you, while signal refers to information that’s useful and relevant. A high noise-to-signal ratio means the channel has a high proportion of unhelpful, irrelevant suggestions (noise) vs. helpful suggestions (signal). Unsubscribe from groups and newsletters with a high noise-to-signal ratio. Get your information from sources with a high signal-to-noise ratio instead.
  5. Understand the concept of switching costs. Even though there are new tools released all the time, I only look into a new tool when (a) it has something that my current tools can’t provide, and/or (b) there are very strong reviews from multiple sources. Otherwise, I simply take a cursory glance at what’s available and return to my work priorities. One reason is that when you shop even though you don’t need anything, you’re invariably going to end up buying something. The second reason is switching costs, which are invisible costs incurred as a result of switching to something new. Switching costs can be monetary. They can be the time taken to learn a brand new system. They can also be the mental cost of changing your focus. When you keep switching to new ideas, new projects, and new tools, you are just incurring switching costs all day long and getting nothing done. Always factor such costs when you are enticed by a new idea or tool.
  6. Adopt a “wait and see” approach. When you’re unsure, it helps to adopt a “wait and see” approach. With rapid technological changes today, many tools tend to become obsolete after a couple of years. For example, many WordPress plugins are no longer supported or have died out. Products that claim to be the best often get replaced by better products one to two years later. My personal approach when I feel 50/50 about something is to wait and see. If it’s a new tool, I take the chance to look at the company’s background, preview the tool, and assess if I really need it. For new online tools, there are often integration issues and unknown bugs, and it can be costly to be an early adopter if you already have a live business with customers. Unless this is something that I need to use now and I have no other alternative, I find that “waiting and seeing” a much more prudent approach.
  7. Differentiate between shiny objects and real opportunities. Last but not least, learn to differentiate between shiny objects and real opportunities. Shiny objects are things that look good and exciting but are really distractions at the end of the day. There are many new products these days that look promising but don’t add value to your work and life. By the time you are done with it, you realize you have no need for that tool — after which you get distracted by another shiny object. Keep a watch out for real opportunities — and be ruthless in saying no to shiny objects. Real opportunities make a real impact on your work. For example, tools that dramatically improve your workflow. Tools that help you grow your business. Tools that help you better engage with customers. Tools that help you deliver better products and services.

Have you been distracted by shiny objects? It’s time to get your focus back on. Get clear on your big rock priorities, invest your 10,000 hours, and pursue ideas that make a real change. Let’s get a move on and work on our real priorities! 

Be the Big Fish in a Small Pond!

In marketing, your target market must be small enough that the resources you’re able to commit will have a big impact.

Imagine carrying the heaviest rock you can hold and dropping it into a small pond. The splash would be huge, loud and noticed by anyone around, and the ripples would cover the entire surface.

Now imagine dropping that same rock into the middle of the ocean. No one would even notice. Imagine dropping a rock 100 times that size in the middle of the ocean. Again, no one would notice a thing.

The rock, of course, is your resources.

When new marketers come to me looking for advice, I ask them who their target market is. Nine times out of ten, it’s, “Everyone who wants to ___.”

It might be everyone who needs to lose weight, make money or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Their market is too big and they’ll never get noticed.

But if they target teachers who want to make extra money online, or nurses, or fast-food workers, they’ll probably make a killing.

Still not convinced? Think of the pond versus the ocean, and the rock as being your marketing. How much marketing will you have to do to get noticed in the ocean? You’ll need the resources of a Coca-Cola to do it.

Now imagine getting noticed in the pond. Heck, if you just stand up and say, “I’ll teach everyone in the pond how to lose 10 pounds this month, or how to make $1,000 a month online,” you’ll get noticed right away.

When someone describes their market too broadly, I know they’re going to fail. But when they know exactly who their audience is and how they’re going to reach them, I know they’ll do fine.

The MIND diet: 10 foods that fight Alzheimer’s (and 5 to avoid)

By Paula Cohen / CBS NEWS

Doctors have been saying for years that what you eat can affect the health of your heart. Now there’s growing evidence that the same is true for your brain.

A new study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago shows a diet plan they developed — appropriately called the MIND diet — may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent.

Even those who didn’t stick to the diet perfectly but followed it “moderately well” reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s by about a third.

Diet appears to be just one of “many factors that play into who gets the disease,” said nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, Ph.D., the lead author of the MIND diet study. Genetics and other factors like smoking, exercise, and education also play a role. But the MIND diet helped slow the rate of cognitive decline and protect against Alzheimer’s regardless of other risk factors.

The study, published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, looked at more than 900 people between the ages of 58 and 98 who filled out food questionnaires and underwent repeated neurological testing. It found participants whose diets most closely followed the MIND recommendations had a level of cognitive function the equivalent of a person 7.5 years younger.

The MIND diet breaks its recommendations down into 10 “brain-healthy food groups” a person should eat and five “unhealthy food groups” to avoid.

It combines many elements of two other popular nutrition plans which have been proven to benefit heart health: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. (MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.)

But the MIND diet also differs from those plans in a few significant ways and proved more effective than either of them at reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Green leafy vegetables

The MIND diet recommends frequent servings of green leafy vegetables. Kale, spinach, broccoli, collards, and other greens are packed with vitamins A and C and other nutrients. At least two servings a week can help, and researchers found six or more servings a week provide the greatest brain benefits.

The Mediterranean and DASH diets do not specifically recommend these types of vegetables, but the MIND diet study found that including greens in addition to other veggies made a difference in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Other vegetables

Like other diets focused on weight loss and heart health, the MIND diet emphasizes the importance of vegetables for brain health. The researchers recommend eating a salad and at least one other vegetable every day to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Nuts

Nuts are a good snack for brain health, according to the MIND diet study. Nuts contain healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants, and other studies have found they can help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. The MIND diet recommends eating nuts at least five times a week.

Berries

Berries are the only fruit specifically recommended in the MIND diet. “Blueberries are one of the more potent foods in terms of protecting the brain,” Morris said. She noted that strawberries have also shown benefits in past studies looking at the effect of food on cognitive function. The MIND diet recommends eating berries at least twice a week.

Beans

If beans aren’t a regular part of your diet, they should be. High in fiber and protein, and low in calories and fat, they also help keep your mind sharp as part of the MIND diet. The researchers recommend eating beans three times a week to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Whole grains

Whole grains are a key component of the MIND diet. It recommends at least three servings a day.

Fish

The MIND diet study found eating fish at least once a week helps protect brain function. However, there’s no need to go overboard; unlike the Mediterranean diet, which recommends eating fish almost every day, the MIND diet says once a week is enough.

Poultry

Poultry is another part of a brain-healthy eating plan, according to the MIND diet. It recommends two or more servings a week.

Olive oil

Olive oil beat out other forms of cooking oil and fats in the MIND diet. The researchers found people who used olive oil as their primary oil at home saw greater protection against cognitive decline.

Wine

Raise a toast to the MIND diet: it recommends a glass of wine every day. Just one, though.

Wine rounds out the list of 10 “brain-healthy” food groups that help protect against Alzheimer’s: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil, and wine.

Now here are the five food groups it says you should avoid to reduce your risk of developing dementia…

Red meat

Red meat isn’t banned in the MIND diet, but the researchers say you should limit consumption to no more than four servings a week to help protect brain health. That’s more generous than the Mediterranean diet, which restricts red meat to just one serving a week.

Butter and stick margarine

Butter and stick margarine should be limited to less than a tablespoon per day on the MIND diet. Brain-healthy olive oil can often be used instead.

Cheese

Cheese may be delicious but it doesn’t do your brain any favors, according to the MIND diet study. Eat cheese no more than once a week if you want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Pastries and sweets

You already know they’re not so good for your waistline, and it turns out pastries and other sweets could have a negative effect on brain health as well. The MIND diet recommends limiting yourself to no more than five of these treats per week.

Fried foods and fast food

Fried foods and fast food round out the MIND diet’s list of unhealthy food groups. Limit your indulgence in fried food to no more than once a week for optimal brain health.

But even if you slip up on the diet from time to time, the researchers say it can still have benefits. Even “modest adherence” to the MIND diet measurably reduced a person’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and the longer you stick with it, the greater the benefits.

“People who eat this diet consistently over the years get the best protection,” said lead author Martha Clare Morris. “You’ll be healthier if you’ve been doing the right thing for a long time.”

First published on March 30, 2015 / 6:00 AM

© 2015 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved

Don`t copy text!