How Do You Keep Your Immune System Healthy?

Medically Reviewed on 5/4/2022
How do you keep your immune system healthy?
Boosting your immune system requires a balanced diet, reduced stress, and regular exercise.

Your immune system is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to keep your body healthy and free of infections and disorders. Your immune system is your first-line defense against pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, that cause sickness.

Your immune system helps heal and keep you healthy. It is your barrier against illness, infection, and disease. To function properly, your immune system requires a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and a low level of stress.

13 healthy tips that enhance the immune system

  1. Drink sufficient water
    • Drinking enough water is the most well-known and effective strategy to strengthen your immune system and general health. Sufficient hydration (best demonstrated by light yellow urine) ensures that critical organs and muscles work optimally.
  2. Regular exercise
    • Maintaining a consistent workout regimen can help develop strength and endurance. Your immune system can function at its best when your body is strong and healthy.
    • Mild to moderate exercise (for 30 to 45 minutes) can help strengthen your immune system.
    • When you feel tired, avoid overexertion. Pushing oneself too hard will weaken your immune system.
  3. Reduce stress
    • During a stressful period, especially chronic stress, your body initiates a stress response. It is designed to help you deal with the tough events that come your way. Unfortunately, this response weakens your immune system, increasing your chances of infection or sickness.
    • Everyone experiences stress uniquely and have their way of coping with it. Whether it is deep breathing, meditation, prayer, or exercise, you should be aware of the things that assist you to alleviate stress.
  4. Plenty of sleep
    • Sleep is critical for your body's and mind's wellness. When you do not get enough sleep, your natural immune cells decline while inflammatory cells increase. A good night's sleep helps fortify your immune system.
    • Adults should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep every day. Children and teenagers require more sleep.
  5. Eat healthily
    • Malnutrition or a bad diet has been proven in studies to damage the immune system. Give your body the nourishment it requires to thrive if you want to maintain your immune system healthy.
    • You must increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and lean proteins.
    • Avoid saturated fats and added sugar. Simple sugars can suppress your immune system.
  6. Antioxidant-rich foods
    • Fruits and vegetables that are colorful, such as yellow, orange, red, blue, and purple (avocado, mangoes, spinach), are high in antioxidants, which provide several health advantages.
    • The three important antioxidants include:
  7. Probiotics and food supplements
    • Probiotics, living bacteria, and yeasts, which are beneficial to your gut health and digestive system, are found in foods, such as cultured dairy products (yogurt containing living cultures) and other fermented foods, such as kimchi. 
    • Vitamins C and D and zinc play an important role in developing the immune system. These are present in fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and animal sources and beans. You may even take vitamin and micronutrient supplements regularly.
  8. Avoid smoking
    • Nicotine is found in cigarette smoke and e-cigarettes and has an immunosuppressive effect. Inflammation, higher cortisol levels, reduced T cell activation, and impaired immunological response are negative impacts of smoking, making it more difficult to fight infection.
  9. Reduce alcohol intake
    • Alcohol alters the gut flora, throwing off the balance of bacteria and causing inflammation, which can eventually harm the liver.
    • When you drink excessively, you are forcing your body to focus its reaction on detoxification and not on the functions of the immune system. The best way to help your body is by practicing moderation.
  10. Regular washing of hands
    • Handwashing thoroughly with soap and water is an instant prophylactic strategy against the spread of germs and viruses.
    • Influenza and gastrointestinal illnesses are only two examples of communicable diseases spread by contaminated hands. However, make sure you do not overdo this because it may cause the good bacteria residing over your skin to perish.
  11. Maintain healthy weight
    • Excess body fat can cause inflammation in the body, which negatively impacts the immune system. A study revealed that reducing even 10 pounds might help if you are struggling with obesity and balancing the immune system. Aim for a body mass index of 25 or lower.
  12. Get fresh air
    • Indoor air contains more microorganisms than outer air, which is cleaner. It may be more difficult to catch a breath of fresh air if you live in a house without a yard. Even opening a window while you are trapped indoors might help circulate fresh air and give your immune system a break.
  13. Eat mushrooms
    • For ages, several species of mushrooms have been promoted for their medical properties. Edible mushrooms are high in protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
    • Studies suggest that eating certain mushrooms, such as turkey tail and shiitake, can help boost and improve the immune system.

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Medically Reviewed on 5/4/2022
References
Image Source: iStock Image

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six Tips to Enhance Immunity. https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/features/enhance-immunity/index.html

Cleveland Clinic. Strengthen Your Immune System With 4 Simple Strategies. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/strengthen-your-immune-system-with-simple-strategies/

Harvard Health Publishing. How to boost your immune system. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system