10 Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body fight off infection. Do vitamins actually help? Rich in super immune-enhancing compounds and natural plant-based vitamin D that helps boost immune function and bone health. Supplements can also cause problems if you have certain health conditions. We are open seven days a week! There are small studies that suggest a benefit to some of these foods, but strong evidence is lacking. If it works for flu infections, it may help your immune system against coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. After 4 weeks, strain through cheesecloth into a clean jar.

  • Imagine a tiny legion of soldiers ready to fight when met with a health threat.
  • Here are some myths and facts about the immune system and how it works.
  • But it is hard to perform what scientists call "controlled experiments" in human beings.
  • Believe it or not, foods that have even more vitamin C than citrus fruits include red bell peppers and strawberries.
  • But you can also help your body prepare in case you do come in contact with the virus, or if you just generally want to keep healthy.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
  • It does this by fighting off free radicals, which can damage cells.

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. Mushrooms – these are an interesting food ingredient, because – just like us – they synthesise Vitamin D when they are exposed to UV light. This increases your energy levels and the more energetic you are the more energetic your immune system will be. Rest, diet, exercise, and stress management all help equip your body to dodge diseases and recover faster if you do get sick. These toxic "treats" force your body to do extra work to expel all this junk and repair the internal inflammation that they cause in your body.

Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system. Meditate on the go. But that hasn’t stopped people from making specious claims. The one big exception to this “eat your vitamins” rule is vitamin D, which isn’t easy to find in food. 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. One important question is whether dietary supplements may help older people maintain a healthier immune system.

Here is the recipe to make it. Think turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper, garlic, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, cardamom. For such a simple-sounding process, there's a lot of bad information out there. “We looked at identical twins where one was habitually sleeping an hour or more less than the other,” says Dr. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of malnutrition during cancer treatment:

Answers To Your Most Common Questions:

Healthy immune system warriors need good, regular nourishment. Vitamin C boosts white blood cells to fight infection, while kiwi’s other nutrients keep the rest of your body functioning properly. It can be used as a spray on countertops to kill germs or diffused in an oil diffuser to kill airborne bacteria. You might be surprised to know that most people have low vitamin D levels (especially in the Winter). Moderate exercise discharges tension and stress and enhances immune function. With these little efforts and tweaks in your daily routine, you can ensure a healthy immune system.

Smoking weakens your immune system considerably and greatly increases your risk of contracting certain infections and of developing cancer. What if you improve your diet? Restorative sleep, which means enough sleep to get the body back into fighting shape, is key.

  • Specifically, a 2020 review of 17 studies found that taking zinc supplements within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms reduces the duration of common cold symptoms.
  • 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.
  • Some studies suggest elderberry extract reduces the duration of the flu.
  • These activities aren't very strenuous, so they won't force my body to do a lot of recovery.
  • The more animals we concentrate in small spaces the more these contagions spread and become stronger.
  • Too much zinc can actually inhibit immune system function.
  • They are the ones that remember germs, “so if you meet that germ again,” says Cruickshank, “they’ll just deal with it probably without you even knowing.

How To Prepare Your Home For The Coronavirus Outbreak

It defends you and your body against germs and microorganisms every single day. Despite the challenges, scientists are actively studying the relationship between stress and immune function. Eat foods that promote a healthy microbiome in your gut. Zinc – this contributes to the normal function of the immune system and can be found in seafood, red meat, chickpeas, eggs, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Take certain vitamins or herbal preparations?

In one of his studies, he and his colleagues found that 30 minutes of brisk walking increased the circulation of natural killer cells, white blood cells and other immune system warriors. 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. Oysters are the richest source of zinc, which is essential for immune cell function, and many studies have shown that even a mild deficiency depresses immunity.


Social activities like hiking in the woods, going for a swim, walking your dog, or playing sports can also provide the added benefits of elevating your mood and forming close bonds. Antibiotics kill off the good bacteria along with the infections they’re treating. Chronic sleep loss even makes the flu vaccine less effective by reducing your body’s ability to respond. But when it comes to vitamin D, you need to be careful about the artificial forms of it in many supplements, as artificial vitamin forms are almost always either ineffective or even potentially detrimental compared to natural forms. 3 vitamins that are best for boosting your immunity – health essentials from cleveland clinic. Top tips for supporting your immunity2:

To function well, it requires balance and harmony.

This is where about 80% of your immune cells hang out, and it's where our bodies decide what is friend and what is foe. Unless your healthcare team directs you to take a vitamin or supplement, you likely do not need one. Relaxing exercise will help blood and lymph circulation, making it easier for our immune system to operate and get rid of unwanted bacteria or viruses. As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. The other side of the coin, says Akbar, “is elite athletes who become very susceptible to infections because you can exercise to a point where it has a negative impact on your immune system. Phytochemical antioxidants are immune-boosting and can be found in apples. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system?


By implementing some of these holistic steps to boost your immune system, it will inevitably be a win-win situation for not only your health and well-being, but for keeping your business running like a well-oiled machine. “Talk with your healthcare provider if you’re thinking about taking dietary supplements,” Zumpano says. But a lifetime’s exercise could significantly slow your immune system declining with age. No, it’s those virtuous, self-righteous diets high in fruits, vegetables and nuts that promote immune health, presumably because they’re rich in nutrients the immune system requires. Effects of fish oil and strength training on the immune system in older women. Together, these carry out bodily processes that fight off pathogens, which are the viruses, bacteria, and foreign bodies that cause infection or disease. That's why mindfully meditating has become a must for any biohacking entrepreneurs. Their red flesh supplies your body with lycopene, which helps keep your immune system balanced.

Next Article

It is essential to give your body excellent daily nutrition to keep your immune system healthy and strong. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table. It helps you build muscle by carrying more oxygen to your cells. Vitamin d deficiency reduces the immune response, phagocytosis rate, and intracellular killing rate of microglial cells. Testing for hepatitis c, research efforts are now directed toward precision medicine using several biomarkers to identify susceptible endotypes and predict the outcome of disease in order to intervene accurately. Try to sleep for 7–8 hours and avoid having an all-nighter. The best matcha needs to be organic and ceremonial grade which is more potent in antioxidants. Vitamins and supplements can certainly give your immunity a boost, but they can’t make up for an unhealthy lifestyle. Some experiments with mice suggest that cold exposure might reduce the ability to cope with infection. Vitamin D – this will help to keep your immune system strong, with the ability to fight off infections quickly.

Adequate protein intake is also important; the source can be plant or animal.

This long dark brown root is renowned as one of nature’s finest blood purifiers and skin clarifiers. Those who petted a real dog had a significant increase in levels of salivary IgG, an antibody (immune protein) that fights infection. Studies have shown that ginger has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. Foods like watermelon, cucumber and strawberries can help you stay hydrated. I recommend that you aim to drink at least half of your body weight (lbs) in ouches of water per day.

How to Use Stinging Nettles

For more information, check with the Centers for Disease Control. If your immune system is weak because of a particular vitamin or mineral deficiency, then supplementing with that nutrient may lead to improvements. Some people I know who thought they were reasonably healthy actually had levels below 20 ng/ml, a range that could severely limit your immune system and hormone balance. Try to avoid overdoing beverages that can made you dehydrated, like coffee. Not only is there little clinical research showing that vitamin E supplements benefit your health, they may be harmful in some situations. Supplement with 1,000 mg to 5,000 mg daily, depending on your personal needs. Vitamin C – this can help support cellular functions needed by the immune system. Even if you do develop a cold or flu, you may find that your body recovers much more quickly if you’ve been eating elderberries.

Some examples of foods rich in Vitamin A includes sweet potatoes, broccoli, red bell peppers, and carrots. The likely scenario if you catch the infection is, he says, “you’ll be sick for a while and you will recover”. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi can all help repopulate the good bacteria in your gut as well, leaving you with more energy and vitality. Drinking matcha can also make you feel relaxed, calm and happy due to the high levels of L-theanine.

“That’s not seven hours in bed—it’s seven hours of sleep,” he adds. For these reasons, experts say it’s best to get vitamins through food rather than supplements. With mango, oranges, and greens, this Green Mango Orange Smoothie does just that. A 2020 study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, indicates that vitamin D3 is more effective at raising the blood levels of vitamin D.

Subscribe & Save

A simple rule can help you when choosing fruits and vegetables at the grocery store or farmers market: Stress causes an inflammatory response within the body that can greatly affect your fight-or-flight response by releasing too much of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s pretty much destroyed in cooking, so you need to consume it fresh. Keeping your immune system healthy is a way to keep the flu bug away. A healthful, balanced diet plays a vital role in staying well. Avoid long grueling workouts. Choose foods first as your source of vitamins and nutrients. You can also try practicing this mantra throughout the day: 3 times a year and almost half of these visits are for colds or viruses that cannot be treated by the doctor.

The key to good health is a strong immune system.
  • A daily workout is ideal, but don’t rush into it.
  • It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place.
  • Not only does sleep help with stress management, but it also helps us stay motivated to move, gives us more energy, helps our metabolism stay regulated and ultimately can also help with weight loss.
  • Researchers hope to use these tools to analyze patterns in order to better understand how the many pathways involved act at once.
  • Research shows that the more social ties you have, the less susceptible you are to the common cold, possibly because friendships serve as a buffer against stress.
  • Yoghurt – instead of pouring milk on your cereal in the morning, why not add a dollop of yoghurt instead?

Look For Produce High In Quercitin

The health benefits of tea are impressive and include a lower risk of infections. Something that isn't super hard on your body, but still gets your blood pumping and your blood circulating. The best food sources of natural vitamin D are egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, organ meats, and some mushrooms. The beneficial bacteria and microorganisms that live there defend your gut from infection and support the immune system. That given, there's no reason to resign yourself to living off cold medicine and cough drops for the next few months as there are plenty of natural remedies to help you boost your immune system and stay healthy all season long. You’ll want to eat those mushrooms raw and unwashed to get the most out of them. Make sure you are getting plenty of sweet tasting vegetables such as squash, carrots, cabbage, parsnips and onions. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy?

Second, avoid unnecessary antibiotic use. Some babies and young children can be more prone to picking up bugs, especially when they start nursery or school. Think balance, not a sudden overdose of vitamins, she says. Do probiotics boost your immune system? Probiotics may help support wellness in healthy people. It's also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Peel oranges, lime and lemon. Second, juice is super high in sugar (even if it's just fruit), so if you can eat the actual fruit and get that added fiber you'll be better off. You don’t want to drink too much water though!

According to a 2020 review, various studies have shown that regular consumption of kefir can help with: Unfortunately, with technology, many of us are finding that we can work all of the time—resist that urge! Trim off the stems as they can have a bitter taste. It’s not a dead cert that they will survive the journey through your digestive tract, or that they will hang around long enough if they do. Eat more citrus to encourage a healthier flu season. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. If you're looking for ways to prevent winter colds and the flu, your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store.

Keep It Quiet

Women should opt for about 11 and a half cups per day. If you eat a healthy, varied diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need. Unfortunately, commercial hand sanitizers are filled with toxic chemicals like triclosan and phthalates that have been linked with cancer, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption. Not getting enough sleep can lead to higher levels of a stress hormone. Share on Pinterest Garlic may help to prevent colds.

They report to the cleverer, adaptive white blood cells known as lymphocytes. 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. “It’s more effective to change your diet,” says Cruickshank. Progesterone helps to balance estrogen and its effects throughout your body — especially on the breasts, uterus and brain. 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. Immune system suppression, if you have a cold that won't run its course, your immunity might be struggling. Initial research suggests that drinking kefir may boost the immune system.

Experts recommend that adults sleep 7-9 hours per night to maintain optimum health.

Sing Your Way Healthy

To a pint jar add 1 cup ground root of Echinacea purpurearoot, a species shown to enhance immune function and moderately reduce cold symptom severity and duration. A daily yoga practice is a great way to tune into your body and reduce stress. Do probiotics boost your immune system?, you’ll see their strain names on the supplement label, along with the species name. Amino acids found in foods can improve your immune function, and bone broth is a great source of these nutrients.

If you’re not a fan of bivalves, grab a grass-fed burger:

In a nutshell protein helps repair the body, assists in recovery from illness and sports injuries, pevents muscle wastage, keeps blood sugars stable, supports weight loss and healthy metabolism. Again, researchers blew cold viruses up people’s noses and sent them into the world. Secret shopper: what supplements are best to boost immunity?, they’re also a rich source of beta carotene. These antibodies help you fight through early years of your life. One study last year found that lack of sleep impaired the disease-fighting ability of a type of lymphocyte called T cells, and research is demonstrating the importance of our natural biorhythms overall. Whole grains are good for your body, keeping your gut healthy enough to defend your body against illness. The immune system is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs. For individuals who are obese, losing even a small amount of weight could play a role in better immune function. Immune system booster for horses, a great overall “body tonic” herb. There are things we can do that weaken our immune system, such as not exercising, eating too much sugar and poorly managing the stress in our lives.

Broccoli is another source of vitamin C.

Do Pets Help Immune System Function?

People take elderberry syrup as a remedy for colds, flus, and bacterial sinus infections. They've studied people who lived in Antarctica and those on expeditions in the Canadian Rockies. Western diet and the immune system: an inflammatory connection. “We found that in the shorter-sleeping twin, genetic pathways related to the immune system were suppressed. Absolutely yes! So, how can we protect the trillions of good bacteria that line the surfaces of our body?

Watermelon – these contain citrulline, which helps keep your heart healthy, and they’re rich in vitamins A, C and B6 too. It adds a little zing to food and it's a must-have for your health. Abundant in many fruits and vegetables, antioxidants combat free radicals—chemical byproducts known to damage DNA and suppress the immune system. What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another.

If a pathogen breaches these defences, it has to deal with our white blood cells, or immune cells. Those who were stressed were more likely to produce cytokines, molecules that trigger inflammation, and were about twice as likely to get sick. When selecting the right vitamins and supplements for your individual needs, it is important to remember their proper role within a balanced lifestyle. One review looked at whether taking garlic supplements containing allicin reduced the risk of getting a cold. I have known health practitioners to prioritize eliminating refined sugar from the diet over recommending that people quitting smoking!

Related Stories

Let’s face it, those cute little munchkins are pros at spreading germs. It's estimated that eighty per cent of your 100 trillion bacteria are located in the gut. Make sure where you sleep is totally dark so your melatonin production will be sufficient. Kukicha (bancha) tea has a strengthening effect on immunity. They are the only plant source of vitamin D, which supports your immune system. Some of the mushrooms that are really good for immune systems are — A Turkey tail mushroom, Maitake and Shiitake Mushrooms, Tremella Mushrooms.

If you sleep less than your body needs, you’ll build up a sleep debt. In powder form, obtained from cows, goats and other mammals, these antibodies can be mixed with water, juice and shakes. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus.

Getting your flu shot might not be convenient, but neither is getting the flu! Before we dive in, let me clear up a major misconception about why more people get sick in the winter compared to warmer times of the year: It helps to boost immune function and combat cellular damage. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. It protects your body from infection. Studies link deficiencies of zinc, selenium, folic acid, and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E to reduced immune function. And as biohackers know better than most, positive immune response can be essential to staying healthy.

  • It goes without saying that you should wash your hands often during cold and flu season, especially if you are around anyone who is sick.
  • These cells are always present, ready to attack invading infections or gobble up abnormal cells in your body, and you can influence how well they work.
  • Sleep and the immune system are closely linked.
  • Whatever amount of sleep you need to feel refreshed in the morning, whether that’s 6 hours or 10—make sure you get it!
  • Not necessarily more, but better.
  • It is a wonderful tonic and aids in helping to create a strong immune system.
  • Everybody has got colds, and now we are braced for a coronavirus epidemic.


Some people consider taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement. For example, this is the case for: The innate response judges friend from foe. Keeping your immune system healthy is a way to keep the flu bug away. These little red plums (made red from the shushi leaves) which add vitamin C and iron make good preservatives. In a 2020 study published by the British Journal of Nutrition, micronutrients support the body’s immune system at three separate levels: Some people seem to breeze through cold-and-flu season without so much as a sniffle. Author of the book, Unstoppable: Chicken soup also provides more protein plus H2O.

Like any fighting force, the immune system army marches on its stomach.

Research also indicates that flavonoids may help to prevent the common cold in otherwise healthy people. In addition to boosting the immune system, it’s anticancer and antimicrobial against a variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Examples include kefir, kombucha tea, yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented vegetables. Try to get regular, moderate exercise, like a daily 30-minute walk. Elderberrry is a shrub that has been used medicinally for centuries. Spinach may boost the immune system, as it contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including:

Healthy immune systems are better at handling infections from bacteria and viruses.