How to Support Your Immune System

Good nutrition, adequate sleep and stress management are imperative for maintaining a healthy immune system. Keep in mind that not one vitamin, a specific amount of sleep or stress tip can work single-handedly to support your health, so it is important 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.



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

Vitamin A

Get this vitamin from foods such as 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 and tangerines, or 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 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 also may support immune response and play a role in a healthful eating style.

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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.

While there are many, many benefits to getting a good nights sleep, one of the most important is helping to maintain a strong immune system.


Stress Management

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.

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These three elements are essential to your health, so it is important to find what works for you and your body in all areas. 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!