Body Hacks

Improve Your Body & Life

Your body is an incredible machine, able to run on many different fuels and adaptable to a variety of environments and variables. Included with... Ways to Boost and Strengthen Your Immune System

Your body is an incredible machine, able to run on many different fuels and adaptable to a variety of environments and variables. Included with this body is a mechanism to keep it safe from ambient bacteria and virus which we call the immune system. While we still don’t know everything about how this complex machine works, science has done many studies on how to improve (and damage!) your immune system.

The best way to stay healthy is to have a strong immune system. In this article we will discuss simple things you can do everyday to improve your immunity, from diet to supplements to habits. Relevant studies and research are cited throughout.

Things you can do to improve your immune system


We all know there’s a lot of marketing involved in health foods, so lots of things are marked as having beneficial effects on your immune system. I operate by a pretty simple rule of thumb: Eat plants and animals, and a wide variety of them. But what can you focus on to specifically boost your immune system?

Vitamin C – Most people know Vitamin C is integral to your immune system [1], but what’s the best way to get it in your diet? Most people will reach for orange juice but I would avoid that unless you want the 30 or so grams of sugar that go with it. Other great sources of Vitamin C include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, Green and red peppers, leafy greens like spinach, cabbage, collards, turnip greens, potatoes, tomatoes, squash. Basically, a variety of fresh vegetables in your diet. The FDA says you can get all your required Vitamin C from a healthy diet, but just to be safe I like to take a supplement and, in times like these, get intravenous Vitamin C for real pharmacologic benefits. It’s really hard to take too much Vitamin C but I should mention the recommended daily upper limit is 2000mg.

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Vitamin B – What most people think of as one vitamin is actually 8 separate vitamins, all of which are essential for health but a few have specific effects on the immune system. Going right along with the “eat plants and animals” mantra Vitamin B is plentiful in many animal products including organ meat, beef, pork, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt. Want to stick with the veggies? Great sources of Vitamin B include avocados, leafy greens, nuts, legumes, grains and mushrooms [2].

Vitamin D – This vitamin plays a particularly important part in our immune systems, especially when it comes to SARS-COV-2 or COVID-19. Multiple studies have found that being deficient in Vitamin D could lead to more serious complications or even death compared to patients with adequate levels of Vitamin D [3]. The good news is you can get plenty of Vitamin D just by going outside. The best way to get Vitamin D into your body is sunshine directly hitting your skin, so strip down to your bathing suit and get out in the sun. Or, there are a lot of great ways to get Vitamin D from dietary sources including: fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. It’s also incredibly cheap to buy as a supplement which gets you more than your daily allotment in a tiny gelcap.

Maintaining a healthy diet is of the utmost importantance, but this is never truer than when you are beginning to feel sick or battling an illness. In order to help you be proactive, this article will list off five great foods that can help you boost that immune system and fight off potential illnesses.

Try these 5 foods:

1. Chicken Soup

This is a tried and true method used by mothers everywhere. Whenever you were sick as a child or not feeling the best, it’s likely that your parents served you up a nice bowl of chicken soup. And this is not by accident, as this one of the best things for you when you are sick. Studies have been shown that both the chicken and the salty broth are beneficial in blocking the migration of inflammatory white cells. If you are sick or worried that you will soon become sick, whip up a bowl of this elixir and you will be on your way to feeling better most likely.

2. Red Bell Peppers

We all know that vitamin C is perhaps the best thing to try and boost your immune system. But what most people don’t know, however, is that citrus fruit don’t actually have the highest concentration of vitamin C, that distinction belongs to the red bell pepper. The red bell pepper has nearly double the vitamin C than these fruits as well as having the added benefit of being high in beta-carotene.

3. Yogurt

Yogurts are on this list because they contain a large number of healthy bacteria called Probiotics. These probiotics can keep the stomach and intestines free of disease-causing germs that can reside there. Various studies have shown that these probiotics found in yogurt can not only keep your immune system firing on all cylinders, but eating enough yogurt can also have the same effect as taking probiotic supplements, which is a testament to how many probiotics are in yogurt.

4. Garlic

Garlic, though very hard to eat on its own, is one of the best things out there for helping your immune system function up to par [4]. Garlic contains an active ingredient called allicin, which is great at fighting bacteria and infections. Studies have shown that people who take garlic as a supplement as opposed to a placebo get sick less. In addition to helping with the immune system, garlic can help lower rates certain types of cancer as well if you take in more than six cloves a week.

5. Shellfish

Even though it seems a lot of people are allergic to this, those of us lucky enough to not be can get some real benefits. Shellfish (including oysters, clams, crabs and more) are very high in Selenium [5], which helps white blood cells clear flu viruses out of the body, which can obviously be extremely beneficial. Other kinds of fish can also help as they are high in Omega 3s which can help protect against colds.

These habits may be hurting your immune system

A healthy immune system is one of the driving forces behind a healthy individual. Your immune system directly relates to how good you feel and if feeling good is what you desire, it is best to make sure your immune system is functioning as best as it can. Unfortunately, some self-destructive habits can negatively impact your immune system, such as these three.

1. Being Constantly Stressed Out

While many people still think stress is all in the head and doesn’t actually affect our bodies, this is very wrong. A few different studies have shown that stress can have a very negative effect on your immune system. This includes things like: healing wounds slower, increased chance of getting a cold and a weaker fight back against infectious diseases. Cortisol (which is produced by stress) can also hurt the function of infection fighting cells.

2. Smoking

As if you needed another reason to stop smoking, it is also hurting your immune system in addition to the multitude of other problems it can cause. There are more than 4,000 different chemical compounds in cigarette smoke and those are not good for your body. There is really no reason to be smoking, and your immune system (along with the rest of your body) will thank you. While it may not be easy to quit, it can be done, and you should do all in your power to make it happen.

3. Living a Sedentary Lifestyle

It is not rare to find someone who does absolutely no exercise at all and that is a scary thought. Not exercising or keeping active is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Tons of different diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes can be made much better just by exercising a little. All of these can weaken you and make you more susceptible to other illnesses and infections as well. The lesson here is to do all you can to get at least in a little bit of exercise nearly every day.

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