Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
How To Boost Your Immune System Naturally
Your immune system is your body's line of defense against harmful microorganisms and the engine that drives healing and repair. To function correctly, a whole host of reactions must take place. Unfortunately, elements of your lifestyle can interfere with this process, lowering immunity. Conversely, making healthy lifestyle changes can provide immune support to keep the operation running optimally. Read on to learn more about how to boost your immune system naturally.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes for Immune Support
By making some positive changes to your lifestyle, you can help support immune function.
Get a Good Night's Sleep
Much of the immune system's work is done while you sleep. When you fail to get enough rest consistently, you rob your body of the time it needs to repair and recover. Because of the importance of sleep, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that adults should strive to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. Waking up and going to bed simultaneously every night can help regulate your circadian rhythms to improve sleep. In addition, try to limit screen time right before bed, as blue light has contributed to poor sleep quality.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Your immune system needs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to work well but can't manufacture most of them on its own. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet helps to ensure your immune system has what it requires. To eat well for immune support, follow these tips:
- Consume plenty of whole grains
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Enjoy two to three servings of lean protein daily
- Choose dietary sources of foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotic foods “feed” the healthy probiotic microorganisms in your gut. Since your gut is the home to most of your immune system, we want to consume these foods daily. Prebiotics are foods like Jerusalem artichoke, chicory, oats, leeks and garlic and probiotics can be found in sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and miso.
- Use healthy fats like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in moderation
- Flavor foods with anti-inflammatory ingredients and spices like ginger and garlic
- Avoid foods with added sugar as much as possible
- Cut out highly processed foods
- Drink alcohol in moderation
Increase Physical Activity
Exercise has been shown to boost immune system activity. The CDC suggests that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 76 minutes of high-intensity exercise every week. In addition, the CDC recommends two to three weekly strength-training sessions. You can divide the moderate - and high -intensity workout sessions any way you like. Some people prefer to spread out their sessions or power through one or two long ones. If you're new to exercise, start slowly and gradually work your way to meet the CDC guidelines.
When your stress levels are high for a prolonged period, the amount of stress hormones present in your body rises, and these hormones like cortisol can interfere with immune function. Therefore, by taking steps to reduce stress, you can potentially support immunity. Although you may not be able to eliminate stressors from your life, you can improve how you respond to them. Meditation, mindfulness, and deep breathing exercises may help to lower your stress levels. Exercise, hobbies, and sharing your feelings with friends, family members, or a mental health professional can also aid in stress management.
Try the Best Supplements for Immune System Health
How to boost immune system naturally: Maintaining a healthy diet is challenging, especially in today's hectic modern world. Dietary supplements for immune support can help bridge the diet gap, lowering the risk of you becoming deficient in crucial nutrients like essential minerals for the immune system. In addition, some dietary supplements may support immune system activities to provide benefits even if you're not deficient. Liposomal vitamin C and elderberry are two of the best supplements for immune system health.
Elderberries are black-colored berries that grow on species of Sambuca trees. For centuries, elderberries have been used as a natural immune support remedy in Europe and among indigenous American populations. Because it is rich in antioxidants, elderberry benefits the body by breaking down harmful free radicals from ultraviolet energy and pollution. By doing so, they may help to reduce inflammation. Some studies suggest that elderberry may help people recover faster from colds and flu, but more research is necessary to examine the findings of these small clinical trials thoroughly.
Liposomal Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant and one of the most well-known immune support supplements. Research shows that the vitamin may reduce the duration of colds and flu.
There are many forms of vitamin C supplements available on the market. The unique structure of liposomal vitamin C sets it apart from other options. In this type of supplement, vitamin C is situated inside a sphere made of healthy fats similar to those that make up cellular membranes in the body. Liposomes may make it easier for the body to absorb vitamin C so that you get the best possible benefits. In addition, the liposomal vitamin C form may stay in your system longer for extended immune support.