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How To Boost Your Immune System: 11 Key Factors

Updated on December 17, 2013
Stop Getting Sick
Stop Getting Sick

I hardly ever get sick. Maybe once every two or three years - and it is usually a virus that is going know, one that keeps you in the bathroom for the night.

I like to think that I have a pretty good immune system, and I like to think it is because I live by many of the points that I have outlined below.

Besides being backed by studies, I have personally seen how the following 11 factors influence people and their health.

For instance, a friend of mine who is always stressed is also always sick. It is just a matter of putting two and two together.

In addition, if you watch someone who abuses their body with drugs and alcohol, it is seldom that they look as healthy as a horse.

If you want to boost the immune system, and help it work at an optimal level, then read on and learn what you can do starting today.

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Lets Get Scientific: The Immune System Explained

Your Immune System Will Thank You
Your Immune System Will Thank You

11 Things You Can Do To Boost Your Immune System (Not So Scientific!)

Your immune system does an amazing job of protecting you against disease. However, sometimes it can become overloaded and fail to do its job properly, and you become sick. Is there a way to strengthen your immune system? Will your diet or other lifestyle changes really make a difference in how strong your immune system is? In short, yes. There are different things that you can start doing right now to boost your immune system.

1. Choose A Healthy Lifestyle

We all know that smoking, excessive drinking, and doing other drugs is bad for our health, but it may actually weaken our immune system too. Your immune system naturally functions better when you adopt healthy living strategies.

It is a simple rule: If you know that it is bad for you, then don't do it.

Quit being compulsively bad to your body if you want it to be good to you.

2. Eat Protein

Do not disclude protein from your diet. Foods high in protein often contain immune boosting nutrients like zinc that helps the body produce white blood cells that fight off infection. In addition, antibodies are made of protein, and since antibodies are what help fight off disease, we need to nourish them with the proper nutrients.

3. Eat Your Vegetables and Fruits

Besides protein, you need to nourish yourself with nutrients that nourish your body and help it function properly. Vegetables and fruits offer all kinds of nutrients for your body. In addition, certain nutrients found in fruits and vegetables help to combat flu and upper respiratory infections. For example, Vitamin A found in carrots and dark leafy greens, helps white blood cells function better. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, helps the immune system protect against disease and improves the absorption of other helpful minerals such as iron.

4. Exercise Daily

If we are going to be honest then we need to admit that technology has made us lazy. We used to get up and move around daily, but now we spend much of our time in front of a computer or TV. Our immune system has not changed, only the way we interact with it. Exercise is essential to maintain a healthy immune system and it can even help us strengthen it.

Exercise causes white blood cells and antibodies to start moving around in the body, which helps them to do their job better. In addition, exercise can help our body's circulation increase, which can trigger the release of certain hormones in our body that work with our immune cells to detect pathogens.

The good news is that you don't have to run a marathon to boost your immune system through exercise because high-intensity exercise can actually decrease the number of white blood cells that are circulating into the body and increase your chance of illness! Therefore, keep your exercise moderate for about 20 to 30 minutes a day.

5. Reduce Stress

Stress has a negative effect on your immune system. In a study of 176 people, the cold virus was dripped into their nose and then scientists later checked to see if they had caught the germ. People who were not under stress were half as likely to catch the cold. In addition, tests discovered that the people who were stressed had become sensitive to cortisol, which is a hormone that has a negative effect on the immune system.

More studies like this have been conducted and they all show the same thing, stress lowers your immune system without a doubt.

You can start to reduce stress through common relaxation methods such as deep breathing, visualization, or meditation. In addition, removing as many stress causes from your life as possible will greatly reduce the amount of stress you experience. This may mean you need to remove stressful people from your life, or it may mean that you need to change careers or move to another location.

6. Get Vitamin D

Most of us do not get an appropriate amount of vitamin D, and research has shown that the vitamin can boost our immune system. People who are vitamin D deficient are shown to have more colds.

Because sun exposure can be hard for many people to get, taking a vitamin D supplement may be necessary or eating vitamin D rich foods may be in order. Foods such as cod liver oil, fish, fortified soy products, fortified dairy products and mushrooms all have vitamin D.

If you are not sure about your vitamin D levels, then you can easily get them checked. Go to your doctor to discuss your levels and what method of getting vitamin D is right for you.

7. Cook With Healthy Oils

Oils such as olive oil contain healthy fat which has both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This helps to lubricate cells and improve their ability to function. When cells are able to function properly, then the immune system is able to work properly.

Just like exercise, you need to be careful that you don't go overboard with oils. Research has shown that high amounts of omega-6 in the body can cause a person to be at a higher risk for immune system issues.

8. Lose Weight

Research has shown that having extra weight on your body puts you at risk for all sorts of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The reason may be explained in how an excess of fat cells interacts with your immune system.

For example, when there are a high number of fat cells in the body, this causes chemicals to be released which cause inflammation. With a high level of inflammation, healthy tissues can be damaged.

9. Maintain Healthy Relationships

When you become isolated in your life, your immune system suffers. Research has shown that people who have a network of friends and family have stronger immune systems than people who are isolated and feel alone.

This doesn't mean that you need an intimate partner in your life. Friends and family can give you just as many benefits as an intimate partner can.

10. Be Optimistic

Have a positive outlook on life and see the glass half full. When you have a negative outlook towards life, you cause your mind and your body stress, and we now know that stress is not good for the immune system.

Being optimistic allows you to have a better relationship with yourself and the world around you, which helps you to make better choices for your body and your health. In short, having a positive outlook can benefit you in all areas of your life that influence your immune system.

11. Avoid Sugar

Sugar is in many foods that we eat, and then we commonly add more sugar to our cereals, coffee, and desserts. Consumption of as little as two 12-ounce sodas has been shown to suppress the cells that are responsible for attacking bacteria, which in turn lowers our immune system.

In the end, you can boost your immune system by adopting a number of healthy practices in life, or rather losing a number of unhealthy practices in life. A strong immune system will help you fight off major and minor diseases and live a healthier and happier life.

Do YOU Have More Tips For a Healthy Immune System?

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    • Relationshipc profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thanks for the comment Blossom. Yes, it is nice to live every second to the fullest, and being under the weather sucks. Although, the feeling of not being sick anymore after being sick for a few days really feels amazing and gives you a new appreciation for life!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      6 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Some very useful hints here and thank you for writing about them. Our health is important, so we can really enjoy a zest for living and not always be feeling a little 'under the weather.'

    • Relationshipc profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thanks for stopping by Chitrangada!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice tips to boost the immune system. I agree following a healthy lifestyle and eating right will keep our immune system in good shape and we will not fall ill frequently.

      Thanks for this useful hub....sharing too!

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 

      6 years ago from Georgia country

      Very useful tips!You are right. A healthy living is a good basis for boosting your immune system. Due to several allergies and intolerances I don't have a strong immune system. What really helps me is a basic (alkaline) nutrition and taking probiotics prescribed by my doctor.

    • Relationshipc profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      @Stephanie - I hope he feels better soon!

    • Cathy Fidelibus profile image

      Ms. Immortal 

      6 years ago from NJ

      Great advice, voted up!

    • stephanieb27 profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Timely hub as my son is sick with a stomach virus. Lots of talk around here about his immune system. Thanks for sharing this info! :)


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