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How to Boost Your Immunity and Overall Health

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich:

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich:

Boosting your immunity is an important step towards maintaining good health and preventing illness. While there is no surefire way to completely prevent illness, there are a number of steps you can take to help support your immune system and reduce your risk of getting sick.

Eat a healthy diet

A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help support your immune system and keep it functioning at its best.

A review of studies published in the journal Nutrients found that diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were associated with a lower risk of infectious diseases. In particular, foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as minerals like zinc and selenium, may be particularly helpful in supporting immune function.

Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is essential for overall health and can help support your immune system. A review of studies published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews found that sleep deprivation was associated with an increased risk of illness and impaired immune function. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule.

Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water is important for maintaining good health and can help support your immune system. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that mild dehydration (loss of 1-2% of body weight due to fluid loss) can impair immune function. Aim for at least 8 cups of water per day, or more if you're physically active or it's hot outside.

Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity can help support your immune system and reduce your risk of getting sick. A review of studies published in the journal Exercise Immunology Review found that moderate-intensity exercise was associated with an increased production of immune cells, while vigorous-intensity exercise was associated with a temporary decrease in immune function followed by an increase.

You want to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise.

Manage stress

Chronic stress can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to illness. A review of studies published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that chronic stress was associated with an increased risk of respiratory tract infections.

Try to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and loved ones.

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Wash your hands frequently

Proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness. A review of studies published in the journal PLOS ONE found that hand hygiene interventions were effective in reducing the transmission of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coming into contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.

Consider supplements

Certain supplements, such as vitamin C and zinc, may help support your immune system. A review of studies published in the journal Nutrients found that vitamin C supplementation was associated with a reduced risk of respiratory tract infections, while zinc supplementation was associated with a reduced duration of cold symptoms.

However, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen, as certain supplements can interact with medications or have potential side effects.

By following these tips, you can help boost your immunity and reduce your risk of getting sick. Remember to also follow any recommendations from your healthcare provider and practice good hygiene to further protect your health.

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© 2022 Dylan Anthony

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