Orange halves

give yourself a boost.

5 ways to support your immune system.

Cold and flu season is here. Is your immune system ready? A healthy immune system protects your body from bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens you encounter daily. And while there’s no way to prevent illness entirely, keeping your immune system healthy can help protect you.

What is your immune system?

A person stands within a shield, representing their immune system's protection

Several components make up your immune system:

  • white blood cells
  • bone marrow
  • the spleen
  • the lymphatic system
  • thymus
  • tonsils, adenoids, and appendix

This system works in unison to circulate white blood cells throughout your blood and lymph nodes, serving as a defense against infection, disease, dead cells, and more.1

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Five tips for boosting your immune system:

A tossed salad

1. Eat right.

Fruits and vegetables provide immune-boosting nutrients like vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, and zinc.

Healthy fats found in olive oil, salmon, and chia seeds are anti-inflammatory and may boost your body’s immune response to pathogens.

Fermented foods like yogurt, raw sauerkraut, and kimchi can help improve your gut biome.

Click here for more foods that may boost your immune system.

Legs running

2. Exercise right.

Exercise is always good for your immune system and overall health. It improves your cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against diseases.

For boosting your immunity, research shows that moderate-intensity exercise for up to 60 minutes a day gives you maximum immune benefits. A brisk 30-minute walk each day is ideal. Biking, swimming, and hiking are also great options.2

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Crescent moon sleeping

3. Get more sleep.

You likely don’t get enough sleep. Few people do. A lack of sleep can not only make you more susceptible to viruses such as the common cold but can also make it harder to recover after exercise.3 To keep your immune system in fighting shape, you should get 7-8 hours of sleep daily.

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4. Reduce stress.

Some stress is normal. But if you have pressure weighing on you for a prolonged period, you are more vulnerable to illness, infection, and disease. Chronic stress suppresses your immune system.

Reducing stress is an excellent way to boost your immune system. Try activities like meditation, exercise, and yoga.

rolling laughing

5. Laugh more.

Laughing reduces your level of stress hormones and boosts white blood cells to fight infection.

In fact, it may be enough just to anticipate a laugh. In one study, subjects were told that they were going to watch a funny video three days later. Their levels of stress hormones dropped before ever watching the video.4

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Another great way to reduce stress is talking with an MDLIVE licensed therapist. If you’re anxious, overwhelmed, or just not feeling like yourself, you can have an appointment in as little as one week from the comfort of home.

Help yourself.

Here’s a recipe for a delicious soup brimming with immune-boosting ingredients – Chicken Noodle Soup with Dill

Or try these recipes for meals, soups, smoothies, and even healthy desserts.

Did you know?

Your immune system has a great memory. It remembers information about past infections you’ve had – even if it was 25 years ago – and uses that information to fight off future infections.5

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Here for your health.

MDLIVE board-certified doctors are dedicated to keeping you healthy and happy. For more general health tips and information, explore our blog.

  • 6 Following these wellness tips does not guarantee that your immune system will be boosted or that you won’t get sick sometimes. But it will help you get healthier, and that’s the first step toward better immunity.

Posted date: October 04, 2022

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