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Ways to Strengthen your Immune System against Microorganisms and Infection

The immune system does a great in defending your body against infections caused by microorganisms. There are many health and nutrition tips that can boost your immune system and its response to infection. These tips also improve the functioning of your organs and reduce your risk for non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.

  • Avoid smoking, both active and passive. 
  • Consume a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables to enrich your body with the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that nourish your immune system.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain your body weight within the healthy range.
  • Get adequate sleep (7-8 hours a day).
  • Avoid under-cooked foods such as meat and eggs and unpasteurized milk
  • Minimize stress by consuming healthy food; performing exercise; relaxing and breathing deeply; limiting your exposure to contaminants, pollution and noise; and keeping busy by volunteering. High levels of stress over a long period of time negatively affect the immune system. 
  • Consume foods and beverages that support your heart and circulatory system. These include fresh or dried fruits and vegetables, whole grains and cereals, legumes, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, salmon, skinless poultry and healthy oils. A strong circulatory system strengthens your immune system. Limit your intake of saturated and trans-fats and salt.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of fluid, primarily water. This helps your body function properly, including your immune system.
  • Consume well-balanced, healthy meals that provide your body with nutrients that boost your immune system. These include protein, vitamins (vitamins A, B6, C and E), minerals (iron, zinc, selenium, and folic acid), antioxidants and fiber. 
  • Consume an adequate amount of protein in your meals. Protein is found in lean meat, skinless poultry, eggs, seafood, low-fat and nonfat dairy products, nuts, seeds, and dried legumes such as lentils, beans, chickpeas and peas.
  • Consume food that help probiotics grow and multiply in your digestive system. These include fruits, vegetables and fermented foods such as yogurt.
  • Do not take any over-the-counter medications, antibiotics, herbs or supplements without consulting your doctor.
  • People with diabetes MUST keep their blood sugar controlled as high levels of blood sugar negatively affect immunity. It is also important to keep your blood pressure and lipids controlled to avoid serious health problems that may lead to chronic medical complications that weaken the immune system. 
  • Avoid foods and beverages that weaken your immune system against harmful microorganisms. These include sugar (white and brown) and refined carbohydrates such as sweets. Consume whole-wheat grains and cereals rather than white bread or refined grains and to replace sweets with fresh or dried fruits.
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