How to Boost Your Immune System Through Diet and Lifestyle Changes
Updated: Jun 9, 2020
The immune system plays a vital role in keeping our bodies safe from unwanted viruses and bacteria. Here are some diet and lifestyle tips to help you boost your immune system and keep you feeling energetic and healthy.
Get Enough Vitamins
Nutrition is an essential part in keeping our bodies strong, including vitamins like A, C, E, B6, D, and minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium. Most of these are also antioxidants, which help fight harmful chemicals that damage healthy cells and compromise our immune systems. Eat foods like carrots, bell peppers, almonds, avocados, salmon, which already include these vitamins.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, you should be getting a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of the body weight in order to avoid getting sick. Protein also contains lots of zinc, which is a mineral that helps in the production of white blood cells, which fight infection. Some foods that have lean protein are seafood, chicken, turkey, eggs, and beans.
Consume Prebiotic Food
Prebiotics help maintain a balanced gut microbiome, which is important to how your immune system functions. Prebiotics increase the population of "good bacteria" in the gut which sparks the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which are tiny proteins that help the immune system function. Foods that contain probiotics are onion, garlic, banana, and asparagus.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
Keeping a variety of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet helps keep your body filled with the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it needs to keep your immune system strong.
Get Sufficient Sleep
While at rest, our body works hard to combat inflammation and infection, and repairs itself and releases toxins to help us wake up refreshed. Those that lack sleep may suffer from chronic inflammation which can stress the body out and make it less effective at fighting infections. It is recommended that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Smoking increases the risk of infections by destroying antibodies in our bloodstream, which are the proteins made by our immune system to fight foreign infections.
According to a 2019 study, staying active has a multitude of benefits including decreasing inflammation and improving immune regulation. The study also showed that moderate exercise can reduce the risk of illness.