6 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Several products on the market claim to boost your immune system. However, “boosting your immune cells does not make sense scientifically,” says Hansen.

Instead, focus on a healthy diet full of leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, dairy and lean protein. Moderate exercise also helps. Plus, be sure to stay hydrated.

Stay up-to-date on recommended vaccines

The immune system — a collaboration of organs, cells and proteins that fight germs and diseases–is complex. It changes throughout your lifetime as you get exposed to different bacteria and viruses. Vaccines help your body develop immunity to specific germs.

Vaccines contain either weakened or deadened versions of the germs that cause disease, or a harmless part of the germ (like the synthetic messenger RNA in some COVID-19 vaccines). They stimulate your immune system to produce antibodies that will recognize and eliminate the real germs if you are ever exposed to them.

Kids who aren’t up-to-date on their immunizations may be unable to participate in school activities or sports teams until they are fully vaccinated. Adults should also keep up with their vaccines to prevent diseases, like the flu and meningococcal disease.

Eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and quality sleep, not smoking or excessive drinking, and not stressing out are all things that can improve your immune system over time. Adding Vitamin D supplements to your daily routine can help strengthen your immune system, and make sure you are getting enough Vitamin C to fight off infections and boost your overall health.

Maintain a healthy diet

With the COVID-19 pandemic underway and seasonal illnesses aplenty, it’s no wonder the immune system is top of mind. While no diet or supplement can prevent you from catching a virus, certain healthy habits can help strengthen your immune system to fight off illness.

Your body’s immune system—a collaboration of organs, cells and proteins—is constantly battling germs to protect you from disease. Over time, it learns to recognize the microbes that cause specific infections and eliminates them before they can do any damage. But what we eat and drink, how much sleep we get, and even stress levels can all have an impact on our immune system, which can make us more susceptible to sickness.

To keep your immune system strong, be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. Add in some lean protein and healthy fats, like those found in nuts, avocados and eggs, for added protection. Spices like turmeric and ginger are also known to have immune-boosting properties, so don’t be afraid to use them in your cooking. And don’t forget about citrus fruits, which are high in vitamin C—a well-known immune booster—and can ease the duration and severity of cold symptoms.

Exercise regularly

While no single nutrient or food can give you a healthy immune system, certain healthy-living strategies have been shown to support immune health. These include getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly.

The immune system is a highly complex network of cells, tissues and organs that help the body fight off infections. It is constantly generating new cells and removing old ones through a natural process called apoptosis. While it’s impossible to predict exactly how many immune cells will be needed at any given time, we do know that the overall mix of cell types is important.

Immune health starts with good nutrition. The immune system army marches on its stomach, so it needs to be well fed with nutrients that will keep it strong and healthy. Aim for a diet high in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. Avoid high-sugar and processed foods and limit your intake of alcohol.

Yogurt, for example, can provide you with beneficial bacteria that may stimulate your immune system, and some brands have added vitamin D, which also may aid in the production of immune-strengthening white blood cells. You should also eat a wide variety of leafy greens and other colorful fruits and vegetables to get antioxidants, which protect against free radicals that can damage cells. Vitamin E is another powerful nutrient that can be found in avocados, kale, nuts and olive oil.

Stay Hydrated

Hydration is important year-round, but it’s especially critical during hot weather and when you’re physically active. If you’re dehydrated, you can experience a number of uncomfortable side effects like headaches, irritability and lack of energy. It can also cause your body to have difficulty regulating temperature and blood pressure, slow down digestion and hinder performance during workouts.

Sufficient water intake hydrates cells, which is vital for boosting your immune system and fighting off illness. It helps transport nutrients and communication signals to your organs and tissues, and swiftly removes toxins from your bloodstream. It also helps prevent overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the bladder, which can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs).

While drinking plenty of water is an important part of staying hydrated, don’t forget to include other fluid-rich foods in your diet like watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes and beans. You can also try incorporating whole grains, low-fat dairy and smoothies into your daily meals and snacks. Or, opt for specialized rehydration solutions that are formulated to replenish electrolytes and prevent or treat dehydration from diarrhea, vomiting and sports injuries, among other causes. These solutions typically contain a blend of sugar, sodium, chloride and potassium and are available as powders, tablets or liquids.

Get plenty of sleep

A network of organs, cells and proteins known as the immune system serves as the body’s first line of defense against harmful organisms such as germs. If the system is weakened, the person can become sick.

Fortunately, there are many things individuals can do to help boost immunity. According to UnityPoint Health, some easy ways to bolster the body’s natural defenses include:

Sleep and immunity are closely linked, as studies have shown that individuals who are sleep deprived are more likely to catch colds or flu viruses. In addition, sleep deprivation can also reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

A diet rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals can support the immune system, especially when it’s boosted by the inclusion of anti-inflammatory foods such as lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is thought to increase white blood cell activity, while garlic, ginger and turmeric are all believed to have powerful immune-boosting properties. In addition, incorporating plenty of water into the daily routine can improve immune function. As a guide, adults should drink between 8-10 glasses of water per day.

Minimize stress

While there is no quick fix to boost your immune system during a pandemic, healthy habits like staying up-to-date on vaccinations, eating a well-balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and regularly exercising can strengthen your body’s ability to fight infections over time.

Our immune systems are complex, with a delicate balance of white blood cells, antibodies and other specialized cells that work together to protect us from everything from the common cold to serious diseases. A well-functioning immune system requires a combination of factors, including vaccines, good nutrition and regular exercise, healthy weight and limiting alcohol and smoking.

Eating a well-balanced diet full of colorful fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats provides your body with the building blocks needed to strengthen your immune system. It’s also important to avoid processed foods and excessive sugar, as these can increase inflammation and inhibit proper immune function.

Staying hydrated is another key to immune health. Drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water per day can help ensure your body has the fluids it needs to function properly. Try adding herbal teas, infused water or other natural beverages to your daily routine. Be sure to adjust your water intake depending on activity level, weather conditions and individual needs.


There’s no way to boost your immune system instantly, and a “quick fix” isn’t likely to help you fight off COVID-19 or other germs. However, a healthy diet, regular exercise, quality sleep, and managing stress levels can all boost your immune system over time.

Your immune system is a complex network of organs, cells, proteins, and chemicals that protect you against bacteria, viruses, toxins, and other harmful invaders. Your immune system learns about the germs it encounters and creates antibodies to help prevent you from getting sick and to combat the germs once you do get sick.

Vaccines are one of the best ways to protect your immune system from disease. Keeping up with your vaccine schedule is one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself from getting sick.

Eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is also essential for boosting your immune system. Leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, citrus fruits, and berries are all good sources of immune-boosting vitamins. Vitamin C, in particular, is known to support your immune system. Additionally, garlic and ginger have been shown to have bacteria-fighting properties. Avoiding consuming cigarettes and other tobacco products can also improve immune function.

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