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Healthy Habits to Enhance Your Immune System

Release Date: October 14, 2021

Your immune system plays a vital role in keeping your body healthy. It identifies foreign substances in the body like bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites, and develops a defense against them. The immune system is your personal line of protection against infection, sickness, and disease.

Your immune system is complex and influenced by many factors, but you can keep it strong by practicing the following healthy habits:

Eat a Healthy Diet. Eating healthy food such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products, helps ensure that you are consuming nutrients that support optimal immune function. Maintaining a healthy diet also means limiting saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars.

Get Enough Sleep. Studies show that sleep has a powerful effect on your immune system. While sleeping, your body repairs tissues, fights off pathogens, and forms memories of your daily experiences. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommends that adults sleep 7 or more hours per night.

Reduce Stress. Long-term stress can disturb the functions of your immune, digestive, cardiovascular, and reproductive systems. To decrease stress, try relaxation strategies that incorporate mindfulness, such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation.

Be Physically Active. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health, maintain a healthy weight, and boost your immunity. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults perform at least 150 minutes a week of moderately intense activity like brisk walking, as well as at least 2 days of muscle strengthening activities per week.

Get Vaccinated. Vaccines can lower your chance of getting certain diseases by working with your body’s natural defenses to help you safely develop immunity. To learn more about important vaccines you need as an adult, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccines You Need as an Adult webpage.

For more information about enhancing your immune system, visit the CDC’s Tips for Immunity webpage.

Last Updated: 10/14/2021
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