Following a diet rich in antioxidants is essential to supporting your immune system. Abundant in many fruits and vegetables, antioxidants combat free radicals chemical byproducts known to damage DNA and suppress the immune system. Choosing healthy fats (such as the omega-3 fatty acids available in oily fish, flaxseed, and krill oil) over saturated fats (found in meat and dairy products) is generally recommended by health authorities. As well, it may help increase your body’s production of compounds involved in regulating immunity. Drinking plenty of water helps cells operate efficiently and allows your body to process food and eliminate waste. For an additional immune boost, try adding garlic (shown to possess virus-fighting and bacteria-killing properties) and ginger (a natural anti-inflammatory) to your meals on a regular basis. The good news is that regular moderate-intensity exercise confers several benefits to the immune system. A 2019 study shows that moderate exercise mobilizes immune system cells, helping the body defend itself against pathogens and cancer cell growth. Those who regularly engage in this type of exercise have fewer illnesses and less systemic inflammation. Exercise may also protect the immune system from the effects of aging. Regularly engaging in intense, vigorous activity like running, on the other hand, may temporarily weaken your immune function and leave you more susceptible to viral infections. Proper nutrition and hydration are important with prolonged and intense exercise, and research is ongoing as to what athletes must do to stay healthy. Chronic stress can have a negative impact on immunity, according to a landmark 2004 review of 293 studies with a total of 18,941 participants. The review suggests that while short-term exposure to stressors can rev up your immune defense, prolonged stress may wear down the immune system and increase your vulnerability to illness. Addressing chronic stress is something you can take action on. To keep your stress in check, incorporate a relaxing practice like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing into your daily routine.