By EM Nutrición


Your immune system is incredibly complex. It has to be strong and sophisticated enough to fight off a wide variety of diseases and infections, but not so strong that it doesn't react unnecessarily, causing allergies and other autoimmune disorders. In order to operate in such a delicate balance, your immune system is tightly controlled by a variety of factors.

But despite that complexity, there are everyday lifestyle habits you can focus on to help give your immune system what it needs to fight infection or disease.

Here are five science-backed ways to ensure your immune system has everything it needs to function optimally, as well as information on why you shouldn't rely on supplements to boost your immune system.

Maintain a healthy diet

As with most things in your body, a healthy diet is key to a strong immune system. This means making sure you eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats.

In addition to providing your immune system with the energy it needs, a healthy diet can help ensure sufficient amounts of micronutrients that play an important role in maintaining your immune system, including:

  • Vitamin B6, found in chicken, salmon, tuna, bananas, green vegetables, and potatoes (with the skin on)
  • Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, including oranges and strawberries, as well as tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach
  • Vitamin E, found in almonds, sunflower and safflower oil, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and spinach

exercise regularly

Physical activity isn't just for building muscle and de-stressing. It is also to be healthy and promote a healthy immune system.

One way that exercise can improve immune function is by increasing general circulation, which makes it easier for immune system cells and other infection-fighting molecules to travel through the body more easily.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Water is vital for your body, as well as helping the immune system. There is a fluid in your circulatory system called lymph, which carries important infection-fighting immune cells around the body, and is made up largely of water. Being dehydrated slows down the movement of lymph, which sometimes leads to an impaired immune system.

get enough sleep

Sleep certainly doesn't feel like an active process, but many elemental activities are going on in your body when you're not awake. For example, important infection-fighting molecules are created while you sleep.

Studies have shown that people who don't get enough sleep are more likely to get sick after exposure to viruses, such as those that cause the common cold. To give your immune system the best chance of fighting infection and disease, it's important to know how much sleep you should get each night, as well as what steps to take if your sleep is being affected.

minimize stress

Whether it comes on quickly or develops over time, it's important to understand how stress affects your health—and your immune system. During a period of stress, particularly chronic stress (which is frequent and long-lasting), your body responds by initiating a response. This reaction of the body suppresses our immune system, thus increasing the probability of infection or disease.