As much as we wish it were true, there is no magic pill to prevent you from getting sick. Even the healthiest of people get sick from time to time, it’s just a part of life.

But while you can’t prevent sickness, you can ensure your immune system is in the best state to fight off infection and illness when they hit. Remember, your body is as healthy as your lifestyle.

Here are my top science-backed tips to keep your immune system is in optimal shape to fight against disease-causing germs.

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Eat a healthy diet

Your immune system does an incredible job of defending you against disease-causing germs, we wouldn’t be here today if it didn’t. But your immune system is only as healthy as the nutrition you give it.

Studies continue to identify Nutrition as key for your body’s immune response. Zinc, selenium, iron, copper, vitamins A, C, E, and B-6 are all micronutrients that have important influences on immune responses.

While there is no single food that protects you, a healthy, balanced diet ensures your immune system has the tools it needs to defend against infection.

Click here for a list of immunity boosting foods!

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Get enough sleep!

Your immune system is directly influenced by your sleep quality. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, studies have shown that you are more vulnerable to infection, including viruses.

Not only are you more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, a lack of sleep also affects how fast you recover if you do get sick. Remember, your body needs time to fight infection, and it does this best when resting.

Think about how you feel at work when you hardly slept the night before. You know the feeling? That’s how your immune system feels trying to fight disease when sleep deprived.

For tips to get more quality sleep, click here.

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Stress less

Stress is just a part of life. We all experience it at different times and different levels, and in response to different things. If you experience stress frequently, however, it can begin to take a toll on your immune system.

When you’re stressed, your body treats everything as a threat. When it does this, it surpresses what it deems to be ‘non-essential emergency functions’ of the body, one of which is your immune response. This can leave you more susceptible to infection and disease.

Stress isn’t just limited to worrying and anxiety. Things like high alcohol intake, smoking, and even too much exercise can all stress the body, impairing your immune system.

For tips to manage stress and anxiety in tough times, click here.

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Exercise regularly

Regular exercise is a pillar for healthy living. It improves your health in so many ways that are important for immune function, some of which include cardiovascular health, lowered blood pressure, and weight loss.

If you aren’t exercising, it’s important you start. Not only will it help your immune response itself, but it will also help you deal with stress and improve your sleep quality.

You should be aiming for 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, and this can include walking, cycling, or workouts. Exercise is also important for your mental and emotional health.

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Get enough sunlight!

If you’re worried about getting sick, the worst thing you can do is hide away inside all day. Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for immune health and where do you get it from? The sun.

Studies have proven Vitamin D to be essential for normal immune function, and that insufficient vitamin D levels may lead to dysregulation of immune responses.

The table below gives an estimate of how much sun exposure to get on your face, arms and hands each day to make enough vitamin D. The darker your skin, the more sun exposure you need.

  Summer Autumn/Spring Winter
Fair Skin 10 min 20 min 30 min
Dark Skin 20 min 60 min 90 min

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In summary…

If you combine these tips in your daily life, you give your immune system the best possible chance to fight off disease-causing germs and infections when they occur.

We get that in today’s society, sometimes the healthy decision isn’t the most convenient decision, but now more than ever healthy choices prove to be the most important decisions to make.

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