How to Support Your Immune System

Good nutrition, adequate sleep, and stress management are imperative for supporting your immune system. However, remember that not one vitamin, a specific amount of sleep, or stress tip can work single-handedly to support your health, so it is essential to find the balance that works for you and your body.

Below are a few of our tips to help your immune system stay strong.

Nutrition

toddler looking at different fruits and vegetables

Nutrition is an important factor when maintaining a healthy immune system. Below are some dietary supplements you can start adding to your plate to support your immune system.

Protein

Eat various protein foods, including seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.

Vitamin A

Get this vitamin from sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots, eggs, or foods labeled “vitamin A fortified,” such as milk or some cereals.

Vitamin C

Include more sources of this healthy vitamin by choosing citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice, or foods fortified with vitamin C, such as some cereals.

Vitamin E

Include vitamin E in your diet with fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts, and peanut butter.

Zinc

Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds, and nuts.

Additional Nutrients

Vitamin B6, B12, copper, folate, selenium, and iron may also support immune response and play a healthful eating style.

Source – eatright.org

 

Sleep

kid sleeping

The general guide is toddlers need around 12 hours of sleep at night with naps during the day, children aged three to six should be getting 10-12 hours of sleep at night, seven-12 years olds should be getting around 10-11 hours, and teenagers needs around eight to nine hours of sleep. If you are having a hard time getting your child on a sleep schedule, check out our article, Tips for Improving Bed Time Routines.

While there are many benefits to getting a good night’s sleep, one of the most important is helping to maintain a robust immune system.

 

Stress Management

kid drawing on a coloring sheet with parent

Find healthy and appropriate ways to cope with stress. This might include meditation, listening to music, exercising, writing, coloring, or drawing.

Physical activity is a great way to help manage stress and may help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases that could weaken your immune system further.

Source – eatright.org

 

These three elements are essential to your health, so finding what works for you and your body in all areas is essential. If you aren’t sure where or how to start healthier habits for your child or yourself, talk to your doctor. Pediatricians at the Youth Clinic are available to make sure you are supported. Please contact us with any questions!