Studies have shown that both Vitamin C and Zinc contribute to a more productive immune system, but one current study from Switzerland found that a combination of the two nutrients may be more effective than one nutrient alone. The National Institutes of Health recommends 75mg of Vitamin C for women and 90mg of Vitamin C for men per day. For zinc, they recommend 8mg for women and 11mg for men each day. Many fruits and vegetables, particularly citrus fruits such as oranges, are high in Vitamin C, and seafood, red meat, beans, whole grains, and dairy products provide zinc.
Take Steps to Reduce Stress
The Harvard Medical School suggests that stress may contribute to less effective immune systems, citing mice studies that looked at the link between stress and immune system function. These studies showed that stressful situations delayed antibodies and suppressed the immune system and that social stresses contributed more than physical stresses. Some ways to reduce stress include:
Identify the stressors in your life and determine which ones you can change, and then take action.
Take a break and meditate to help relax your body and your mind.
Write about your stress in a journal to help release your emotions.
Avoid stressful situations when possible.
Stay organized to avoid getting overwhelmed, and drop certain activities if you feel you have too many responsibilities.
Reducing stress is not only beneficial to your immune health, but it can also help boost your mood and reduce your risk of gaining weight.
Regular exercise is not only a great way to prevent weight gain, but it can also improve your mood, reduce your stress levels, prevent chronic diseases, and improve immune system function. The reasons for these benefits are not entirely understood and may intertwine, but scientists do know that people who exercise regularly tend to get sick less. In fact, a recent 2013 study showed improved immune system function in rats who underwent an 8-week exercise program compared to a sedentary group of rats.
Limit Alcohol and Cigarettes
Certain drugs, even legal ones, can have a poor effect on your immune system when abused. While moderate amounts of alcohol may have a positive effect on the immune system, overconsumption of alcoholic beverages can suppress immune system responses. The same goes for cigarettes. While the nicotine in them may have some potential as an anti-inflammatory agent, the continued use can suppress the immune system.