Maintaining a healthy immune system is important, but most people don’t do much to help keep it strong so it can protect you when it counts. While it usually does handle itself fairly well, there are ways you can boost your immune system and help keep you illness free. Here are five simple ways to boost your immune system.

Keep a Healthy Diet

Keeping a healthy diet plays a bigger role in keeping your immune system active and healthy than you might expect. Just like all of your other body systems, your immune system needs nutrition to function properly. On top of that, eating fruits, vegetables, and nuts can help provide essential vitamins to help your immune system function more efficiently, like Vitamins B6, C, and E.

Stay Active

Staying active is also an important part of keeping your immune system healthy. It is a great way to relieve stress and help reduce the harmful effects that chronic long-term stress can have on the body, but it also helps with a variety of other things, like improving circulation to help your white blood cells get where they need to faster, increase oxygen intake to help provide more ATP and energy to the systems that need it, and some research has even shown it helps reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s later on in life.

Keep Hydrated

Our bodies are approximately 80% water, so it goes without saying that staying hydrated is extremely important. Water and oxygen play an important role in all of the major body systems, and the immune system is no exception. Without water, the immune system can start to slow down and not work as efficiently, and other systems might not perform as well either, increasing your risk of getting sick.

Keep a Good Sleep Schedule

Our bodies need sleep. While our consciousness fades and our cognitive systems take a break, the rest of our body uses that time to kick things into high gear, especially our immune system. Sleep is when the body does most of its healing and repair, so keeping a good sleep schedule will help make sure you’re always making the most of your body’s recovery time.

Keep Stress Low

Stress can have a lot of detrimental effects not only emotionally but physically. Stress has been shown to increase muscle tension, slow down the digestive and hepatic systems, and also reduce immune system activity. The stress response is meant to help your body power through a difficult and stressful situation in the short term, but it’s not designed to stay in that mode for long. Chronic stress can keep your body in that stress management mode for longer than it should be, which can slowly wear down your body systems and keep your immune system suppressed for longer periods of time, opening you up to illnesses and diseases.