Last updated October 3, 2022
Having a strong immune system is important because in helping you fight infections. But how do you boost your immune system or prevent it from becoming too weak?
Fortunately, science has show that there are a number of effective ways to boost your immune system. By including these in your daily routine, you will be better able to fight infections and stay well.
With this in mind, here are 10 things you can do to push you in the right direction.
10 Proven Ways You Can Boost Your Immune System
1. Eat a Healthy Diet of Fruits and Vegetables
Like most systems in your body, proper nutrition is important to maintain good function. Your immune system is no different.
In order to better fight infections, a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is essential. Specifically, foods like artichokes, blueberries, beets, plums, walnuts, spinach, and red cabbage are some examples of immune-enhancing foods.
At the same time, avoiding fatty and high-carbohydrate foods is also encouraged. By eating well and including these types of foods in your diet, you are more likely to stay healthy.
2. Make Exercise a Part of Your Routine
Like a healthy diet, routine exercise is another important strategy to help you boost your immune system. Unfortunately, many of us fail to get an adequate amount of exercise.
It is recommended that we get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. In doing so, we naturally enhance our ability to fight infections. This occurs not only because of a strong immune system but also due to improved cardiovascular function.
It should be mentioned that excessive exercise to the point of exhaustion can actually weaken instead of boost your immune system. But by exercising regularly and smartly, you will reap the benefits and be more likely to maintain your health.
3. Get Adequate Sleep Every Night
Think of sleep as your body’s way of recharging itself. Thus, when we fail to get enough sleep each night, we risk weakening various systems in the body. In terms of your immune system, sleep is very important.
Often, our immune system is most active during sleep allowing us to fight infections better. Likewise, it is involved in repair mechanisms during sleep that also promote better health.
Generally, it is encouraged that most people get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. In doing so, you will boost your immune system and give it the best chance to keep you healthy.
4. Learn to Effectively Manage Your Stress
When it comes to stress, it has been shown that high levels result in a weakened immune response. Specifically, your immune system’s “natural killer cells” become fewer in number when stressed.
And this means you are not only less likely to effectively fight infections but prevent cancers as well. Likewise, stress comes in a variety of ways. For example, we are all aware that daily responsibilities and demands may cause anxiety and stress.
But lack of sleep and a poor diet can also result in physical stress. In addition to proper nutrition and sleep, a number of strategies can reduce stress such as meditation and yoga.
Choosing to better manage your stress is thus another way that you can give your immune system a boost.
5. Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Having a glass of wine or a cocktail every so often is not likely to negatively impact your immune system. In fact, some reports suggest that a glass of red wine a day may actually be heart healthy.
But drinking alcohol in excess can certainly make it difficult to fight infections since this can undermine immune system health. In essence, alcohol serves as an immune suppressant, which means your immune response will be less than normal.
With this in mind, you should limit alcohol use to a drink or two a day at most. And by only having an alcoholic beverage infrequently, you can optimize your ability to fight infections.
Though this may not boost your immune system, it will certainly help it function at its best.
6. Include Prebiotics and Probiotics in Your Diet
Scientists are learning a great deal about the bacteria that live in our guts. At first, this might sound scary, but these are actually “good” bacteria that keep us healthy.
Termed our “microbiome,” it is intimately related to our immune system and helping us fight infections. Thus, by enhancing your microbiome, you can boost your immune system and be more likely to stay healthy.
One of the best ways to achieve this is through the use or prebiotics and probiotics. Including natural sources of these from yogurts, sauerkraut, and kombucha offers a healthy way to include these in your diet.
7. Use Smart Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that can help our bodies function in a number of ways and better fight infections. But some of these specifically boost your immune system, and therefore, they should be routinely considered.
Supplementing a healthy diet with vitamins like Vitamin A, C, E, and B Complex can strengthen your immune system. Likewise, minerals including zinc, iron, selenium, and copper have also been shown to be effective.
Most multivitamin and mineral supplements have these included in their formulations. But you may also consider specific supplements that focus on these micronutrients.
8. Avoid Excess Sugars in Your Diet
Refined sugars are well-known to negatively affect your health in many ways. These can lead to diabetes, weight gain, and other chronic diseases. But in addition, excess sugar in the diet is also linked to a weaker immune system.
Specifically, sugars can cause your white blood cells to be less effective temporarily. This means you will be less likely to fight infections and more susceptible to illness.
Therefore, limiting such sugars in your diet and focusing on the foods you choose is important.
9. Don’t Smoke
Smoking tobacco negatively affects your health in many ways. Certainly, it can hurt your lungs and respiratory function, but it can also influence your immune system.
Tobacco has been shown to weaken your immune cells and make them less effective to fight infections. This is particularly true for infections involving the respiratory tract.
Therefore, in your efforts to boost your immune system, avoiding tobacco should be a priority. By eliminating this habit from your lifestyle, your ability to sustain wellness and health will be greatly enhanced.
10. Stay Up-to-Date on Your Vaccinations
The concept of vaccinations goes back many centuries despite the first vaccine not appearing until the late 18th century. However, vaccines’ abilities to boost your immune system is tremendous and important.
By stimulating part of our immune system that adapts to new exposures, vaccines provide us the ability to fight infections.
Therefore, making sure you receive annual vaccines like flu shots should be a part of your health routine as well.
Be the Healthiest You Can Be!
By implementing the 10 tips above to boost your immune system, your capacity to stay well will naturally be increased. A strong immune system is our best protection against illness.
This not only includes an ability to fight infections but also our ability to avoid cancers and other diseases. At the same time, these recommendations enhance wellness in numerous other ways as well.
By incorporating these practices in your life you will optimize your health now and into the future.