The human immune system is one of the most important body processes. With a weak immune system, we’d be no match for the various bacteria, toxic chemicals and viruses that bombard us on a daily basis. Disease-causing microorganisms are everywhere, but luckily we have an in-built mechanism for dispensing with them and keeping us in good health.

Even if we know how important the immune system is, that does not mean we always take every precaution necessary to maximize its microbe-fighting ability. Turns out there are several steps we can take to boost our own immune systems, keeping us in optimal health.

Take a stroll down the vitamin aisle in the grocery store, and you will see a variety of supplements claiming to boost the immune system. Some of these claims may be true, but as a whole, the ability of herbal and antioxidant pills to significantly bolster your body’s defenses is overrated. The best way to improve your immune system is to live a healthy lifestyle.

Living a healthy lifestyle starts with developing healthy habits. This includes sticking to a sleep schedule that ensures you get eight hours of sleep a night. It also includes regular exercise, consuming alcohol only in moderate amounts (if at all) and abstaining from smoking. Any routine that caters to your self-care will boost not only your present but also your future health.

The other critical element of a healthy lifestyle is eating a healthy diet. This means high consumption of fruits and vegetables. You should also seek out the foods that naturally produce the vitamins supposedly found in the recommended supplements. The best example of this is oranges, which are famously high in Vitamin C. In addition to these, some food items have come to be connected to strong immune systems, most notably garlic and mushrooms.

Above all, the immune system goes part and parcel with everyday well-being. Mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression come with deleterious physical effects, and you should do everything in your power to fight them while you can. Take a breather from your work and relax whenever you can find a spare moment. Treat yourself to a massage, either by a professional or with an at-home massager. And always make sure you are getting enough sleep so that you do not feel listless and enervated throughout the day.