There are plenty of supplements and products that claim to help improve immunity. But boosting your immune system is harder to accomplish than you may think — and for a good reason.
Your immune system is incredibly complex. From cold to the flu to COVID-19, it has to be strong enough and sophisticated enough to fight off various illnesses and infections, but not so strong that it overreacts unnecessarily — causing auto immune disorders to develop. To operate in such a delicate balance.
Despite this complexity, there are things you can do to help give your immune system what it needs to ward off infection or illness.
Here are six science-backed ways to build and maintain a robust, healthy immune system:
1. Maintain a healthy diet
As with most things in your body, a healthy diet is key to a robust immune system. This means making sure you eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.
In addition to providing your immune system the energy it needs, a healthy diet can help ensure you’re getting sufficient amounts of the micronutrients that play a role in maintaining your immune system, including:
- Vitamin B6 is found in chicken, salmon, tuna, bananas, green vegetables, and potatoes (with the skin)
- Vitamin C is found in citrus fruit, including oranges and strawberries, as well as tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach
- Vitamin E is found in almonds, sunflower and safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and spinach
Since experts believe that your body absorbs vitamins more efficiently from dietary sources than supplements, the best way to support your immune system is to eat a well-balanced diet.
2. Exercise regularly
Physical activity isn’t just for building muscles and helping yourself de-stress — it’s also an essential part of being healthy and supporting a healthy immune system.
Exercise may improve immune function by boosting your overall circulation, making it easier for immune cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel more efficiently throughout your body.
Studies have shown that engaging in as little as 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise every day helps stimulate your immune system. This means it’s essential to focus on staying active and getting regular exercise.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Water plays many essential roles in your body, including supporting your immune system.
Fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, which carries essential infection-fighting immune cells around your body, is primarily made up of water. Being dehydrated slows down the movement of lymph, sometimes leading to an impaired immune system.
Even if you’re not exercising or sweating, you’re constantly losing water through your breath and your urine and bowel movements. To help support your immune system, be sure you’re replacing the water you lose with water you can use, which starts with knowing your daily water intake.
4. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep certainly doesn’t feel like an active process, but plenty of important things happen in your body when you’re not awake. For instance, critical infection-fighting molecules are created while you sleep.
Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to getting sick after exposure to viruses, such as those that cause the common cold.
To give your immune system the best chance to fight off infection and illness, it’s essential to know how much sleep you should be getting every night and the steps to take if your rest is suffering.
5. Minimize stress
Whether it comes on quickly or builds over time, it’s essential to understand how stress affects your health, including its impact on your immune system.
During a period of stress, particularly chronic stress that’s frequent and long-lasting, your body responds by initiating a stress response. It’s meant to help you handle the stressful situations coming your way. Unfortunately, this response also suppresses your immune system — increasing your chance of infection or illness.
Stress is different for everyone, and how we relieve it is. Given its effect on your health, it’s essential to know how to identify stress. And, whether it’s deep breathing, mediation, prayer, or exercise, you should also get familiar with the activities that help you reduce stress.
6. Take Your Vitamins
Our Afterave Essentials has several KEY ingredients for boosting immunity. Here’s what they do:
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C may help prevent infections or shorten their stay.
- Vitamin E
Like vitamin C, vitamin E can be a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection.
- Vitamin A
VitA is known as an anti-inflammation vitamin because of its critical role in enhancing immune function.
- Vitamin D
Known as the sunshine vitamin, it’s one of the most vital and influential nutrients for supporting the immune system.
- Folate/folic acid
folic acid helps to make and repair DNA, giving it a key role in cell-mediated immunity
Zinc is needed for the production of new immune system cells.