8 Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Immune System

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    Here are 8 simple lifestyle and diet tips for keeping your immune system strong this year.

    Coming down with an illness causes you to feel lousy and miss work, and it reduces your ability to be productive. Luckily, there are many ways that you can help boost your immune system instead of letting illnesses take over your body.

    For optimal health, your immune system should identify harmful invaders like bacteria and viruses to respond accordingly by producing antibodies that attack these foreign substances. Unfortunately, not everyone has a strong immune response all the time.

    Thankfully, there are ways to improve your immune system. Read on for some simple tips for a healthy immune system so you don't get sick often.

    Ways to Boost Your Immune System

    The immune system functions as a component of your body’s defense against foreign invaders. It also protects you against illness and disease by identifying, attacking, and eliminating harmful substances in your body. There are many different ways to boost your immune system, but some of the most effective are included here:

    Stay Physically Active

    Regular physical activity can help boost the immune system. In addition, it helps keep your body healthy by increasing blood circulation, having good heart health, strengthening your muscles and bones, and helping to burn calories.

    It’s also important to be physically active every day, even if you’re not feeling like it. Even short bursts of activity, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can make a big difference.

    Exercise regularly to help maintain your good health. Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises four to five days a week. This helps reduce stress, improve mood and fitness, and strengthen your immune system.

    Physical activity helps fight fatigue and boost energy levels by increasing the production of endorphins. This, in turn, helps you feel relaxed and happy and positively affects your immune system.

    Stay Hydrated

    It’s no secret that dehydration can affect your body in many ways, including by affecting your immune system. When you’re dehydrated, it can make you more susceptible to illnesses. One study noted a decrease in antibodies observed in women who were extremely dehydrated after 2.5 hours of exercise. Antibodies are an important part of the immune system, and if levels are lowered, it may impact immune function. So it’s essential to drink lots of water throughout the day to keep your immune system functioning correctly.

    Quality Sleep

    Sleep is a critical component of our health and well-being. It’s essential for many reasons, including for supporting the immune system. Sleep helps the body by allowing the immune cells to maintain balance within several systems.

    Your immune system can be impaired when you don’t get enough sleep. Getting enough rest each night can help keep your immune system strong and healthy. The average amount to aim for is 7-9 hours per night.

    Reduce Your Stress

    Stress is one of the leading causes of illness in today’s society. It can cause many physical and emotional symptoms, including changes in sleep mood changes, fatigue, and lack of concentration. Stress can damage the body in many other ways, including by increasing cortisol levels and reducing immune system function. Help reduce stress and improve overall health by making time for exercise and relaxation.

    Eat Whole Foods

    Whole foods are a fantastic way to boost your immune system. They contain fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins A, C, and E, which help build a robust defense against harmful bacteria and viruses. These healthy ingredients also help keep harmful bacteria at bay by permeating the wall of your digestive tract.

    Try eating food high in beta carotenes, such as carrots, pumpkins, kale, green peppers, and sweet potatoes. Beta carotene is an excellent source for building up the immune system.

    Overall, no single diet will guarantee good health, but a balanced diet heavy in whole foods is one of the best ways to protect yourself against illness. So, when trying to get your health on track this summer, reach for fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods and sugar-laden drinks. You'll be giving your body the nutrients it needs to protect itself.

    Consume Healthy Fats

    One of the best ways to boost your immunity is to eat foods high in healthy fats, including salmon, trout, avocados, flaxseeds, eggs, and coconut oil. This will help you manage levels of the cytokine IL-6, which is involved in maintaining the integrity of the immune system. It also helps to build new cells and repair damaged tissue.

    Eat Fermented Foods

    Fermented foods are great for gut health and can also boost your immune system. Cultural traditions have long incorporated fermented foods into people’s diets to improve digestion and immunity.

    The fermentation process involves introducing bacteria and yeast into food, which creates probiotics that feed the good bacteria in your gut. These probiotics can also help to prevent harmful bacteria from growing in your digestive tract. Eating fermented foods like sauerkraut or kimchi helps to increase the number of good bacteria in your digestive tract, which in turn helps to strengthen the immune system.

    Limit Added Sugars

    Added sugar can interfere with the immune system in many ways. For starters, it can lead to an increase in inflammation by causing an increase in levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

    In addition, excess sugar can cause insulin resistance, another critical factor in developing many diseases. Lastly, high levels of sugar consumption over time can lead to changes in gut bacteria that can harm immune function. Make sure you cut back on your intake of added sugars as much as possible to keep your immune system healthy and strong.

    Factors That Play a Role in Your Immune System

    Although there are many different types of immune cells, it’s important to remember that they all work together to protect you. They do so by recognizing foreign antigens, which trigger their production of antibodies.

    Here are some of the most significant factors that directly affect your immune system:


    A recent study has shown that the immune system is age-sensitive, so its response may get slower over time. Therefore, our immune system becomes less effective at fighting diseases and infections as we age.

    This could be a result of an aging immune system, or it could be due to a decrease in the number of cells produced in the immune system. Either way, it is an important consideration.


    Several studies show a link between diet and the immune system. In fact, diet can affect the T-cell response, which stimulates immune function. Diet can also affect B-cell activity, which is involved in the production of antibodies. Some nutrients that support T-cell and B-cell formation include zinc, selenium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid, and copper. To get the range of nutrients you need, it’s important to have a balanced diet rich in a variety of nutrients.

    Furthermore, getting enough zinc can be important for your immune system. Zinc helps your body develop, differentiate, and activate T-lymphocytes, which help your body fight infection. Some foods rich in zinc include meat, nuts and seeds, shellfish, and legumes. Iron, copper, and selenium help those infection-fighting T-lymphocytes differentiate and proliferate.

    Ancient wisdom always points to chicken soup to help you feel better. The wisdom may be in the nutrients. For example, it contains lean protein and combines it with antioxidant rich vegetables to make delicious soup. Getting enough protein in general is important for managing several aspects of your immune system. Chicken soup can be a great way to heal your body from the inside out. You can also simply incorporate more foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus, bell peppers, tomatoes, and broccoli.

    What you put into your body matters, and whether it’s soup packed with healthy ingredients or a diet filled with colorful fruits, veggies, and protein, what you choose to eat can make a difference in your overall health.


    One part of the body involved in the stress response is called the adrenal glands. They sit right above the kidneys and play a role in managing the immune system as well. They produce cortisol, a hormone that helps fight infection and inflammation.

    Cortisol also makes blood vessels more sensitive to adrenaline, another critical factor in stress response. Elevated cortisol levels can adversely affect the body, including by increasing risk of certain diseases.

    Another part of the immune system that is affected by stress is the immune cells. When stressed out, you may release higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that can damage your own tissues. These cytokines can lead to swelling and tissue damage and make it harder for your immune cells to fight off infections.

    Stress also affects your ability to regulate your emotions and think clearly. When stressed out, it’s harder to focus and process information correctly, making it harder for you to deal with health care needs.


    Sleep is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system by helping the immune system fight off infection and keep the body functioning at its best. It also helps the body to repair damaged tissue and cells and to make new cells. In addition, getting enough sleep helps to manage stress and improve emotional regulation.

    Are You Ready to Boost Your Immune System Function?

    Consider taking supplements if your diet is incomplete. Regarding boosting immunity, supplements are one of the best ways to do so – along with making lifestyle changes, staying physically active, hydrating, managing stress levels, and eating a healthy diet. Many immune-supportive supplements include probiotics, multivitamins, and vitamins C, A, and E.

    While there are many options for boosting immunity, the best approach is to take supplements containing all the right ingredients to get you the most benefits. We at Care/of have many vitamins and immune system supplements to help boost your immune system and keep you healthy. Shop with us now to get yourself on the right track.

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    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Our Editorial Staff
    Freelance Contributor
    The Care/of Editorial Team is made up of writers, experts, and health enthusiasts, all dedicated to giving you the information you need today. Our team is here to answer your biggest wellness questions, read the studies for you, and introduce you to your new favorite product, staying up to date on the latest research, trends, and science. Each article is written by one of our experts, reviewed both for editorial standards by an editor and medical standards by one of our naturopathic doctors, and updated regularly as new information becomes available.