How to Keep Your Immune System Healthy and Strong

Your social feeds are lousy with a witch’s brew of supplements that promise to boost your immunity. Surely you’ve seen touts for products like elderberry extract, colloidal silver, and even mushroom powder.

But your immunity isn’t a switch—it’s a network. That means many factors come into play to keep it strong; there’s not just one magic bullet. Science shows there are smarter ways to protect yourself against disease.

We broke down the research to dispel the bull.

Science says: Helpful for supporting immunity

Exercising with moderate intensity for 60 minutes or less per day

If you exercise too long or too hard, your immune system actually weakens, according to research from Appalachian State University. Follow the 60/60 rule: Exercise for 60 minutes or less, with an average intensity of about 60 percent of your max heart rate. Note that we’re talking average intensity: You can still do HIIT workouts as long as you take it extra easy during the recovery periods.

Also helpful for immunity: Sleeping at least seven hours a night (or, better yet, eight), meditating regularly.

Science says: Can’t hurt

Having sex

While there’s some research indicating that people who have sex once or twice a week have higher levels of immunity-related proteins, the science isn’t great. Other research linked arousal and orgasm from masturbation to increased immune cells, but . . . ditto. Still, don’t let this stop you.

Also can’t hurt to try these to support immunity: Consuming alcohol in moderation; eating kale and other leafy greens frequently; eating berries and other flavonoid- rich fruits; taking cold showers.

Science says: Nope, won’t help support immunity

Taking vitamin C supplements

Surprise! Taking vitamin C supplements does not reduce your risk of catching a cold, according to a 2013 review of 29 clinical trials. Plus, supplements are not closely regulated and may have impurities. Last fall, authorities recalled a vitamin C supplement after they found it contained a prescription erectile-dysfunction drug. Oops? But for your health in general, it’s important to get this vitamin through food.

Taking probiotic supplements

There haven’t been any rigorous, long-term clinical trials showing that probiotic supplements offer tangible benefits for people who are already healthy, according to a viewpoint article by Peter Cohen, M.D., published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Now, probiotic foods like yogurt, kimchi, and miso? Those may help.

Source: Men’s Health