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5 Immune Boosters

You have the power to strengthen your immune system – here's how.

With the coronavirus pandemic on everyone's mind, you may be wondering if there are things you can do to avoid getting sick. Although there is nothing that will guarantee you won't catch COVID-19, there are steps you can take to make it less likely you will.

The most important things you can do are to stay home, wash your hands often and avoid touching your face. Those are the keys to slowing the spread of the virus, according to public health officials. Keeping your immune system strong may not stop you from getting COVID-19 but it may help your body fight off viruses, bacteria or other disease-causing pathogens it encounters. You don't need to take a bunch of supplements to strengthen your immune system. These 5 tips will help to naturally boost your immune system so it functions optimally.

1. Reduce Stress: Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which can negatively affect your immune system. Find ways to relax, such as meditation, yoga, journaling and other activities you enjoy.

2. Eat Healthy: A balanced diet filled with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables supplies you with vitamins and minerals that help support immune health. Also include whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean protein and foods with healthy fats such as olive oil and salmon.

3. Exercise: Low to moderate intensity exercise lowers cortisol levels and can boost immune function. Aim for 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day, but don't go overboard. Too much exercise can weaken your immune system.

4. Sleep: Your body needs adequate sleep each night to keep your immune system functioning optimally. Adulst should get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Children and teens need more.

5. Stay Hydrated: Drinking water is the best way to keep you body well hydrated and your immune system going strong. Avoid too much alcohol, caffeine or sugary drinks.

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