How Working Out and Proper Nutrition can Boost your Immune System

How Working Out and Proper Nutrition can Boost your Immune System

Author: Brandon Amoroso

Every year as New Year's rolls around millions of people set ambitious resolutions to start exercising more or try out a more nutritious diet. One goal that is not as popular as the rest of the resolutions is improving your immune system. 

The immune system is often set aside in people’s mind despite its vital role in fighting off disease and allowing us to make it to the gym every day. Lucky for you, new evidence has shown that your immune system is actually improved with good eating habits and regular exercise.

Great, now all you have to do is eat healthy and workout! Well, it turns out this isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, but with a little insight into how eating healthy and working out can improve your overall health you can start making the change today. 

What Factors Affect My Immune System?

One of key ingredients to better understanding how to improve your immune health is to start by considering the factors that affect its functioning most. These include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Unhealthy nutritional habits
  • Intense physical stress (exertion) 
  • Intense mental stress
  • Poor hygiene

Managing these factors is hugely important to keeping your immune system strong and keeping in mind which of these factors you experience is an important step to improving your immune response system. Planning ahead is a great way to help monitor these factors, especially nutrition. A great way to ensure you are taking in the right amount of nutrients is to meal prep and plan out meals so you don’t find yourself eating fast food out of simplicity.

How to Keep a Healthy Immune System

Although boosting your immunity sounds like an easy feat, it has proved much more difficult for a few reasons. The first reason being it is not just a single thing to boost, it is a system. In order for this system to function well it needs to be balanced and all of the parts must contribute to keep it in equilibrium. 

Although there is still much to learn about the immune system, it is clear that healthy living not only increases its stability but also decreases factors that can lead to it growing weak. So what is healthy living?

Healthy living can be achieved with a few simple strategies:   

  • Don’t smoke
  • Maintain a balanced diet
  • Get adequate sleep for your age
  • Stay a healthy weight
  • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Exercise regularly

Does Working Out Boost Your Immune System?

One of the big questions regarding the immune system is if working out is directly correlated to having a better immune system. Research from the Cleveland Clinic has shown that no matter your age, getting even a little bit of exercise can be hugely beneficial for cardiovascular health and improving your resting heart rate. Exercise has also been shown to lower blood pressure, better control body weight and even help fight off a variety of diseases. But does this alone help boost your immune system and fight off infectious diseases?

The short answer is yes. Similar to a healthy diet, exercise greatly contributes to overall good health and a strong immune system. Although it may be difficult to get yourself to the gym everyday, just remember that you’re helping yourself out in more ways than one. 

How Does Eating Healthy Improve my Immune System?

Your body is a finely tuned machine, and like a finely tuned machine it requires a particular set of parts to run properly. Just like an expensive car requires specific quality parts, your body needs a specific set of foods to run at its optimal potential. The downside to this is that some of these optimal foods for our body might not be your favorite. As much as you would like to eat that bag of candy, choosing the route of food with natural sugar is much easier for your body to process. 

The Good:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables! These are rich in nutrients such as vitamins C and E, along with zinc and beta-carotene. These help strengthen your immune systems ability to fight viruses and bacteria 
  • Many other plant-based foods are also filled with antioxidants and can reduce oxidative stress

The Bad:

  • Eating or drinking too much sugar hurts the immune cells in your body that are used to attack bacteria. This last for several hours after you consume the sugar and allows viruses and bacteria a chance to build up and beat down your body’s defense
  • Drinking alcohol also suppresses your bodies immune cells in several organs and even damages some such as those in the lungs in which the alcohol hurts the fine hairs that clear pathogens out of the airway 

What Steps can I Take Today to Improve my Diet?

In order to improve your diet, it is crucial to understand what a healthy diet is. Although the easy answer might seem to just be eating fruits and veggies, there's a bit more to it. 

A healthy diet is one in which the same quantities of energy are consumed and expended, and which holds all the essential dietary nutrients (e.g. vitamins, protein and minerals). As you grow older the amount of energy you consume will change as well as the exercise habits you hold will determine how much energy you must make up. 

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) suggest that adult women should base daily food groups and proportions as follows:

  • Dairy Products: 2 servings (one serving could be 40g of cheese or 200g of yogurt)
  • Cereals: 4-9 servings (one servings might be one cup of cooked rice)
  • Vegetables: 5 servings (one serving would be 75g of cooked vegetables)
  • Fruit: 2 servings (one serving is a medium piece of fruit)
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish, and legumes: 1 serving (one serving is 65-100g of cooked meat)
  • Fats and Sugars: very minimal 

The following is the suggested daily food proportions and groups for men:

  • Dairy Products: 2 servings (one serving could be 40g of cheese or 200g of yogurt)
  • Cereals: 5-10 servings (one servings might be one cup of cooked rice)
  • Vegetables: 5 servings (one serving would be 75g of cooked vegetables)
  • Fruit: 2 servings (one serving is a medium piece of fruit)
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish, and legumes: 2 serving (one serving is 65-100g of cooked meat)
  • Fats and Sugars: very minimal  

Diet Improvement Techniques

  • Track how much you eat and don’t eat more than you expend
  • Eat a variety of foods every day and change it up
  • Reduce fat, sugar and salt intake
  • Base your diet on cereals and grains
  • Drink plenty of water!!!


Once you get yourself into a good workout routine or even if you just want to get in some healthier snacks to provide you with a great daily dose of nutrients, you should definitely pick up a few items. 

These include protein bars, protein powders and electrolyte drinks. Not only do these help you reach your daily energy requirement, but they are also tailored to provide a well-rounded snack that hits several food group daily necessities. 

A couple of my favorites for helping me get back the energy I lost after a long run are ATAQs energy and focus booster drink and their raw energy bars




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