7 Ways To Keep Your Immune System Strong and Healthy

However healthy you are, your immune system won't keep strong and healthy all by itself.  Strengthening your immune system requires effort from you to support it each day in a variety of  ways.  Then it will be able to fight off the various pathogens you are exposed to each and every day.

Here are 7 things you can do to enhance the functioning of your immune system so that it has the strongest possible ability to fight off disease:

1. Eat a healthy diet

However many times you hear the same message, this point cannot be underestimated.  Diets that are high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support the development of the immune cells you need to fight off infection.

Diets high in saturated fat do just the opposite.  They trigger inflammation that puts you at risk of many different types of chronic diseases for which the immune system cannot help.

Further reading:
9 Habits for Healthy Eating
How to Eat Healthily on a Limited Budget

2. Quit smoking

Another one you know already!  But do you know why?

Smoking wreaks havoc on your immune system by flooding the body with scores of toxins that keep your immune system too busy to fight off infections.  Smoking affects the cilia in your bronchial tree which are an important defence against pathogens that can cause various types of lung infections.

3. Maintain a healthy weight

People who are obese have a harder time fighting infection due to a weakened immune system.  Maintaining a healthy weight means getting enough exercise and controlling calorie intake.

4. Get regular exercise

Exercise helps you to maintain a healthy weight, or to achieve one if you are already overweight.  Start with a daily walk and build up from there.

Aerobic exercise is the best as it burns calories and is good for heart health.  Start slowly if you haven’t exercised before but build up to about thirty minutes of moderate to strenuous exercise at least four times weekly.

Further reading:
How to Fit a 20 Minute Walk Into Your Day
10 Sneaky Ways to Boost Your Daily Step Count
Easy Health and Fitness Tips for Beginners

5. Lay off the alcohol

Alcohol can adversely affect your immune system.  This is borne out by alcoholics who are at an increased risk of many different types of infections. A couple of alcoholic beverages per day is considered acceptable but drink too much and your immune system suffers.

6. Maintain a normal blood pressure

Blood pressure contributes to many chronic diseases, not least of which is heart disease.  Get your blood pressure checked regularly and, if you find you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower it before resorting to medication.

7. Get adequate sleep

Sleep is strongly linked to your immune system.  People who don’t get enough sleep have decreased levels of vital T cells in the body and are known to be more prone to catching colds and 'flu bugs.

Further reading:
18 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally
How to Naturally Boost Your Immune System
Winter Health: Busting the Myths About Colds and Flu

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