Looking after your immune system shouldn't just become a priority when you get sick. Taking steps to strengthen your body's natural defenses can prevent you from getting sick in the first place and allow you to recover more quickly.
Below you'll find our 15 best ways to support your immune system.
1. Eat more mushrooms.
Mushrooms contain antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. They may also have anti-tumor properties, although this is still being investigated. Add them to soup, salads or stir-fry to boost immunity. Mushrooms are also a popular meat replacement.
2. Start your day with a green drink.
Green foods are loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals, which can weaken the body's immune system. Whether it's a juice or smoothie, start your day green. You can blend your green food powder with fresh or frozen fruit and some plain yogurt for a delicious and healthy sip.
3. Take your multivitamin.
A complete multivitamin will provide the vitamins and minerals you may be missing out on in your daily diet that help fight threats of infection and illness. Put the bottle by your car keys so you remember it each day. If your multivitamin calls for two doses, try to take one dose in the morning and one after dinner.
4. Get plenty of sleep.
When you're asleep, your body has time to recover from the day and restore itself. You give your phone plenty of time to recharge, why not your body? Aim for seven to nine hours of undisturbed sleep per night to stay well. Supplements like valerian root can help.
5. Remember your vitamin C.
A potent antioxidant that supports the immune system as well as wound healing, vitamin C can be found in foods like broccoli and citrus fruits as well as supplements. Get your daily vitamin C and enjoy its free radical-fighting benefits for your entire body.
6. Don't forget about vitamin D.
The body normally produces vitamin D after sunlight exposure. But if you aren't spending time outside, you may be missing out. You can get vitamin D from fortified foods as well as supplements to support immunity as well as bone health.
7. Limit stress.
Being stressed or anxious can severely impair the immune system. Take steps daily to unwind and reduce stress in your life. Aromatherapy can be practiced at the office and you can meditate or take a bath when you get home.
8. Drink plenty of water.
Water is essential for flushing out toxins and other waste. This is how your body naturally detoxifies every single day, so make sure you're getting enough water on a daily basis -- at least eight glasses. If you're exercising, make sure to have more to combat dehydration.
9. Exercise regularly.
Make exercise a priority and work your way to a stronger immune system. Aim for 30 minutes a day of exercise that gets your heart rate up. You'll also be speeding up your metabolism.
10. Take elderberry at the first sign.
Elderberries are rich in nutrients shown to enhance the body's natural defenses after exposure to a pathogen. If you start to feel a cold or the flu coming on, make sure to get your hands on some. You can find elderberry syrup, tea and lozenges for this purpose.
11. Eat more colorful foods.
Color means nutrients, so the more vibrant the foods in your diet the better. Unhealthy foods that are fried and processed are bland and beige and lacking in nutritional value, which weakens the immune system. Go for lots of fresh produce and you'll be feeding your immune system instead.
12. Check your zinc.
Zinc is a mineral found in foods like pumpkin seeds that supports the immune system. When taken at the first sign of illness, zinc is also said to improve recovery time. Make sure zinc is included in your daily multivitamin as a preventative measure, or try a zinc supplement for additional support.
13. Take a probiotic.
Seventy percent of your immune system lives in your gut, where you also find bacteria. Good bacteria, called probiotics, help balance out the bad bacteria that can cause the immune system to become impaired. A daily probiotic supplement can help maintain this balance.
14. Stop smoking.
There are more than enough reasons to quit smoking and poor immunity is one of them. Don't let your vice make you sick now and in the future.
15. Maintain a healthy weight.
Being overweight puts great strain on the body's vital organs. It also triggers the release of hormones that can impede the body's immune response. Reaching a healthy weight in a safe manner can counteract this -- make sure to exercise and eat a balanced diet.
Try making these changes in your life to support your health now and down the road. Get everything you need at eVitamins!
eVitamins recommends that you do not rely on the information presented in this article as diagnosis for treatment to any health claim. Content and information on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. The information and statements in this article have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. eVitamins assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements.