Your immune system fights off infection, disease, and viruses. To help stay well all year long, it’s important to know how to support your immune system. And while there’s no secret trick to maintaining good health, there are steps you can take to help keep your immune system strong.
In this article, we provide seven tips for a healthy, robust immune system.
How to Support Your Immune System: 7 Tips
1) Take Black Elderberry Daily
The right plants and herbs can provide the support your body needs to stay healthy, and when it comes to immune health, Black Elderberry is one of our favorites.*
Black Elderberry has a natural concentration of anthocyanins (the antioxidants that give it that deep purple color) as well as other flavonoids, which provide both antioxidant and immune support.*
For the best results, consume Black Elderberry daily. Our Black Elderberry Syrup concentrates the juice from 14.5 grams of fresh Elderberries into just one teaspoon. This Certified USDA Organic syrup is delicious, too.
You can take Black Elderberry by spoon — we recommend one teaspoon daily for everyone ages four and up — or mix it in food and beverages. From lemonade and freezer pops to energy balls and baked apples, there are lots of ways you can get creative with Black Elderberry Syrup.
2) Manage Stress
Sometimes there’s no way around stress, but what matters for your health and your immune system is how you respond to it.
When your body is focused on responding to stress, it diverts attention from other normal bodily functions. Plus, managing constant stress can affect your psychological well-being, which can, in turn, affect much more. As researchers Abdurachman and Herawati note:
“The psychological well-being could improve the human body immune responses, enhance resistance towards diseases (including infectious diseases), and create a spiritually and physically more prosperous life.”1
To have a healthy response to stress, take a breath — literally and figuratively. Practicing yoga, breath control, and meditation are great ways to start.
Find what works for your body. You can also stay mindful and reduce anxiousness by getting outside to enjoy nature, laughing, spending time with loved ones, and exercising regularly.
Another way to help your body respond healthily to stress is to nourish your adrenals. A supplement like Adrenal Health® Daily Support can support the healthy function of adrenals and help balance your body.*
Finally, adaptogenic herbs, such as Ashwagandha, can also support your immune system by promoting a healthy stress response.*
3) Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is an important part of overall health and wellness, but it also helps support your immune system.
In a review entitled “The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system,” Nieman and Wentz note that moderate to vigorous activity (not high workloads or competition) for less than an hour can support your immune system:
“With near daily exercise, these acute changes operate through a summation effect to enhance immune defense activity and metabolic health.”2
They go on to say there is data to support the idea that habitual exercise can improve “regulation of the immune system” and delay the breakdown of the immune system due to aging.2
For the sake of your health (and your immune system specifically), move your body and stay active on a regular basis. If you need inspiration, here are a few ideas:
- Go for a hike
- Hit the slopes in the winter
- Enjoy a bike ride
- Take your dog for a walk
- Practice yoga
- Go to the gym
- Play sports with friends
4) Care for Your Gut
Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down and processing the food and drink you consume. But here are a few other things your gut can do:
- Produces most of your body’s serotonin3
- Communicates with your brain through nerve cells3
- Impacts immune function3
Take extra care of your gut by taking prebiotics and probiotics. Probiotics are the microorganisms (good bacteria) that live in your gut, while prebiotics are the nourishment those microorganisms need to thrive.
In addition to consuming probiotics through fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, pickles, and kombucha, talk to your doctor about adding a high-quality probiotic supplement.4
And to nourish those probiotics, look for a high-quality prebiotic supplement that will support digestive health, function, and regularity as well as immune health, such as Gaia Herbs Microbiome Food.*
Our Microbiome Food is made with Larch, Acacia, Acerola, Inulin, Fenugreek, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Marshmallow — without added fillers, flavors, or sweeteners.
5) Eat Well
While we’re discussing food and your digestive system, don’t forget that what you put in your body directly affects how well it functions. To give your immune system what it needs to stay healthy, eat well.
Karen Collins, the Nutrition Advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research, says:
“Like gas for your car, a healthy diet is crucial to provide the nutrients your immune system needs to keep functioning. It may even slow the gradual decline in immune function that tends to occur with aging.”5
6) Sleep Well
A good night’s sleep isn’t always easy to come by. But sleeping well is important if you want to support your immune system and keep your body in tip-top shape.
Researches Besedovsky, Lange, and Born note:
“Prolonged sleep curtailment and the accompanying stress response invoke a persistent unspecific production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, best described as chronic low-grade inflammation, and also produce immunodeficiency, which both have detrimental effects on health.”6
If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, click here for sleep tips from Ayurvedic Wellness Coach Anna Levesque.
And for sleep support, consider taking an herbal supplement, such as Gaia Herbs Sound Sleep® to help your body relax and fall asleep easier or our SleepThru® to help prevent occasional restless nights.*
7) Take Echinacea at Onset
No matter how well you take care of yourself and your body, you will inevitably get sick at one point or another. When you do come down with something, take Echinacea at the onset of symptoms to support your immune system.*
Echinacea is the name of a group of flowering plants in the daisy family that are native to North America and Europe. This herb supports a healthy immune response, which is why we crafted our top-selling Quick Defense with Echinacea as well as Elderberry.
Our Quick Defense formula provides fast-acting support for your immune response at the onset of symptoms.* For adults experiencing the first signs of a sniffle or other immune challenge, simply take two capsules five times a day for two days.*
There are more than 20 varieties of Echinacea. One type called Echinacea Purpurea is grown on our very own Certified Organic farm and used in our supplements. If you were to visit our farm in late summer, you’d see the brightly colored Echinacea flowers in full bloom with bees and other pollinators buzzing about.
Strong and Healthy All Year Long
Rather than looking for a quick fix when you need to support your immune system, the best thing you can do is to care for your body all year long so your immune system can stay strong.
Provide the nutrients your gut needs with Microbiome Food, and support your immune system by taking Black Elderberry Syrup daily.* And, for the days that you start feeling under the weather, turn to Quick Defense with Echinacea.*
Additionally, manage stress, exercise regularly, and eat and sleep well. With these tips, you’ll be that much closer to a strong immune system, a healthy body, and living the life you love every day.
1 The Role Of Psychological Well-Being In Boosting Immune Response: An Optimal Effort For Tackling Infection. African Journal of Infectious Diseases.
2 The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system. Journal of Sport and Health Science.
3 Your Gut Feeling: A Healthier Digestive System Means a Healthier You. NYU Langone Health.
4 How to get more probiotics. Harvard Health Publishing.
5 Can Your Diet Boost Your Immune System And Provide Better Protection Against COVID-19? American Institute for Cancer Research.
6 Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Archiv.