Which vitamins strengthen your immune system

9 tips for a strong immune system

We have 9 tips to strengthen your immune system and protect yourself against viruses: Particularly important in times of the rampant coronavirus.

Short version:

  • Balanced diet with lots of vegetables and fruits
  • Sunlight and vitamin D.
  • Sufficient exercise
  • Don't overwork
  • Reduce stress
  • Drink enough
  • Make sure you sleep well
  • Do not smoke
  • Wash hands regularly (disinfect on the go)

Bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites: Countless harmful microorganisms cavort around us, some are particularly threatening for the elderly and the immunocompromised, such as the coronavirus.

Whether runny nose or other infections: why do some people get sick and others not? Many are much more susceptible to viral infections. A weak immune system is often to blame for this.

We have collected some tips for you on how you can strengthen a weak immune system with simple measures.

1. Proper nutrition for the immune system

The body needs many different vitamins and nutrients for a well-functioning immune system. These include in particular:

More and more scientists suspect a direct connection between intestinal health and the entire immune system - this is why a high-fiber diet is also a good tip for people with a weak immune system. Organic food from local cultivation is also said to have particular health benefits.

Most of these ingredients are adequately covered by a balanced diet. However, the following are considered to be particularly good for the immune defense:

  • broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • tomatoes
  • garlic
  • spinach
  • Citrus fruits
  • Dark berries and grapes
  • nuts

While vitamin C deficiency is extremely rare these days, you should ensure that you get enough other vitamins and nutrients. The effectiveness of dietary supplements is highly controversial among medical professionals. It is therefore best to try to meet your nutritional needs through food. Whether certain food supplements make sense can be clarified with your family doctor. Important: Vegans who completely avoid animal foods must supplement with vitamin B12.

Relying solely on so-called superfoods such as chia seeds, mangosteen and the like can be devastating due to their one-sidedness - no food, however hyped, contains all the nutrients you need. Superfoods should therefore only be seen as a supplement to a healthy mixed diet.

+++ More on the topic: balanced nutrition +++

2. Off into the sun - even when it's cold

Vitamin D is essential for an intact immune defense. We take in part of our needs through food - for example through fatty fish. But our body itself also makes a significant contribution: When sun rays hit the skin, it independently produces vitamin D.

Especially in the autumn and winter months, when the UV radiation is lower thanks to the cloud cover, you should spend as much time as possible outdoors in order to get your healthy dose.

In the case of a vitamin D deficiency, the use of vitamin D supplements can be discussed with a doctor during the low-light months. A visit to an infrared sauna can also be beneficial.

+++ More on the topic: Healthy UV radiation +++

3. Move, move, move!

Running, swimming, cycling: the classics of endurance sports are still among the most effective endurance sports. They not only strengthen the heart and blood vessels, but also our immune system. With every moderate workout, the immune system is gently stimulated. The speed and the degree of exertion are decisive: if you overexert your body, you usually achieve the opposite effect.

+++ More on the topic: The ideal running technique +++

4. Avoid excessive exertion

Have you ever dated Open window phenomenon belongs? During excessive physical exertion - such as running a marathon - the number of immune cells in the blood increases sharply. However, if the body relaxes again afterwards, the number of immune cells falls below the initial value before the exercise. Since pathogens can only be fought to a lesser extent at this point in time, infectious diseases occur more frequently. So if you don't want to get sick, you shouldn't overdo it with the exertion of sports.

+++ More on the topic: Our immune system against SARS-CoV-2 +++

5. Avoid stress, stay healthy

Thanks to intensive research, we now know that severe stress weakens the immune system and thus increases the susceptibility to infections. Chronic stress can also lead to states of exhaustion, which - just like physical overload - offer pathogens the ideal conditions to multiply. It is therefore important to avoid stressful situations as much as possible and use quieter hours for targeted relaxation.

+++ More on the topic: How to fire the stress! +++

6. Drink enough

Those who drink too little are not only tired and drained, but also more prone to infections. This is due, among other things, to the dried out mucous membranes. Due to the lack of moisture, attacking viruses and bacteria cannot be sufficiently transported away.

Drinking tea is also positive for the immune system. Green tea, for example, contains a lot of antioxidants that additionally support the immune system and have a preventive effect against cancer.

+++ More on the topic: How much water does the baby need? +++

7. Make sure you sleep well

Those who start the day well-rested are not only more productive, but also less prone to colds and other infections. Several studies have shown that insomnia drastically reduces the number of immune cells and results in a weak immune system. Who every day about seven to eight hours sleeps, gives his body enough time to recover.

+++ More on the topic: The best sleeping tips +++

8. Quit smoking

In addition to their cancer-promoting effect, cigarettes also have a negative impact on the immune system.

  • Tobacco smoke dries out the mucous membranes,
  • promotes inflammatory processes
  • and affects the natural cleansing system of our airways.

So: Get rid of the glowing stick and enjoy a whole new attitude to life!

+++ More on the topic: Stop smoking +++

9. Wash your hands several times a day

Admittedly, thorough hand washing does not directly strengthen the immune system. But it prevents cold viruses, for example, from entering your body and being able to spread. If you want to avoid colds in the cooler months of the year and have a weak immune system anyway, you are well advised to wash your hands several times a day.

The following video gives you helpful tips on how to protect yourself specifically against the coronavirus:

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Katrin Derler, BA
Medical review:
Dr. Ralf Kleef
Editorial editing:
Elisabeth Mondl (2015), Mag.Julia Wild (2020)

Updated on:

Herold: Internal Medicine, 2014

Irwin et al .: Partial sleep deprivation reduces natural killer cell activity in humans. In: Psychomatic Medicine, Nov / Dec 1994, Volume 56 (6) (Online. Last opened: August 26, 2015)

Savard et al .: Chronic Insomnia and Immune Functioning. In Psychomatic Medicine, Mar / Apr 2003, Volume 65 (2) (Online. Last opened: August 26, 2015)

Kakanis et al .: The open window of susceptibility to infection after acute exercise in healthy young male elite athletes. In: Exercise Immunology Review 2010 (16) (Online. Last opened: August 26, 2015)
Schedlowksi et al: Stress and the immune system. In: Naturwissenschaften, May 1996, 83 (5) (Online. Last opened: 26.08.2015)

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