8 Ways to Help Maintain a Healthy Immune System

| WRITTEN BY: Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN

I’m delighted to have partnered with Tropicana on this blog post. All opinions are my own.

To help maintain a healthy immune system, try incorporating these 8 tips into your daily routine.

1. Power up on produce.

Produce (like citrus, apples, carrots, bell peppers, beets, and dark green leafy vegetables) is a good source of Vitamin C and other nutrients — find creative ways to include it in your diet. Check out my Orange Goddess Vegetable Minestrone for a comfort recipe packed with produce. An excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber and a good source of calcium, iron, and potassium, this soup recipe is a nutritional powerhouse.

2. Keep active.

There are many health benefits to being physically active, including improved sleep quality and lower risk for heart disease. While the direct impact of exercise on a maintaining a healthy immune system isn’t conclusive, exercise is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Even if it’s cold outside, try to maintain an active lifestyle by going to the gym, taking the dog for a walk, or playing outside with your kids. Your body will thank you!

3. Get your zzzs.

According to a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 63 percent of Americans say their sleep needs are not being met most of the time. When you are sleep deprived, your body is at a higher risk for illness. While sleep needs vary, according to the National Sleep Foundation adults require 7 to 9 hours a night. If you’re not getting enough sleep, try hitting the sack 30 minutes earlier each night until you reach your goal.

4. “Squeeze” your morning right. 

Is the first thing you do when you wake up check your cell phone? Rather than jumping into your day full force, take a few minutes to ease in with foods or activities that fuel you both physically and emotionally. For example, drinking an 8-ounce glass of Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice every morning is a good way to start your day off right, providing two servings of fruit and a full day supply of vitamin C that helps support a healthy immune system. Squeezed from fresh oranges, Tropicana is pure 100% fruit juice with no added sugar.

5. Minimize stress. 

While susceptibility to stress is influenced by many factors and can vary from person-to-person, some studies have shown that chronic stress may impact the immune system.The link between stress and immune health is still being explored but reducing chronic stress is an important aspect of overall wellbeing. Whether it’s meditation, a nature walk, or an epsom salt bath, stress reduction strategies can give your mind a break.

6. Don’t forget the sunshine vitamin. 

Research has found that vitamin D helps support your health and immune system, so be sure to consume foods (or supplements) that help you meet your daily needs. The Institute of Medicine recommends an intake of 600 IU of vitamin D for everyone aged 1-70, and 800 IU for adults older than 70. Vitamin D is found in fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon), cheese, and egg yolks, as well as in vitamin D fortified foods (dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals), so try to include a few of these in your daily diet to meet your nutritional requirements.

7. Water works. 

Drinking water is one of best things you can do to keep healthy. Not only does it make your skin glow, it also impacts your immune system. In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. If you live in a hot climate or exercise a lot, you should drink on the higher end of that range.

8. Probiotics are good for your gut. 

Probiotics boost your body’s natural microbiome and may aid in the breakdown of non-digestible components of your diet to produce beneficial compounds that can be converted into energy, out-compete the bad bacteria and interact with the cells in your intestine. In addition, research is looking at the connection between the microbiome and immune health. To supplement your established microbiome, probiotics should be consumed regularly. You can find probiotics in whole and fermented foods (like raw sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and microalgae), or in supplement form. Personally, I’m a fan of Tropicana Essentials Probiotics, which is a delicious and convenient way to add more probiotics into your daily routine. Each 8-ounce servings contains one billion live and active cultures. Cheers to that!

What are some of the things you do to support your immune system? I’d love to hear from you!

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