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Tips on Boosting Your Immunity with A Healthy Lifestyle in the New Normal

Leading a healthy lifestyle is essential to adopting and embracing the new normal as the world works toward preventing another pandemic.

Below are some practical tips on important lifestyle interventions that will boost immune response as shared by the World Health Organization (WHO), UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Non-Communicable Diseases, and the Philippine College of Lifestyle Medicine that may help to keep up in the new normal and the challenges it may bring.

Proper nutrition to boost immunity

A well-balanced whole-food, and plant-based diet is known to enhance immune function in contrast to meat, refined carbohydrates, and processed food. Eat a variety of at least 400g or 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

  • Intake of foods high in the anti-oxidant, resveratrol, (e.g., grapes, peanuts, soy, berries, etc.) is highly encouraged to help combat pathogens like bacteria and fungi owing to its immunomodulatory properties.

Cut back on salt and sugar and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

  • Avoiding sugary food and beverages helps prevent the suppression of immune responses. Limit intake of free sugars to less than 50g or around 12 teaspoons of regular powdered sugar each day.
  • Limit salt consumption to less than 5g of salt or 1 teaspoon each day. Iodized salt may be used.

Eat a moderate amount of fats and oils.

  • Eat less than 30% of the total energy intake from fats. Unsaturated fats like fish, avocado and nuts are preferable. Reduce consumption of saturated fats like butter, palm and coconut oil and cheese and trans fats like processed food, fast food and margarine.

Avoid processed food, meat products and refined carbohydrates which alter gut immune processes.

Make sure you’re getting enough of the immune-boosting vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins A, C, D, E and B complex and minerals such as Zinc, Selenium, Copper, and Iron are essential to boost immune response. Studies have shown that these vitamins and minerals have positive effects in resolving symptoms of respiratory diseases and in improving the immune function. Keen knowledge and careful appreciation of the correct supplements and the amount that should be taken are vital in boosting immunity.

Get sufficient sleep

As much as possible, avoid modest loss of sleep because this alters the immune function. Modest disturbance of sleep reduces the natural immune response thus resulting in an increased risk of viral infection.

Avoid exposure to LED screens and electronic devices 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime as this suppresses the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin thus, contributing to or exacerbating sleep problems.

Get good sunlight exposure in the morning. This is one proven way of improving sleep.

Avoid eating heavy meals at night. This is associated with the deterioration of sleep quality. Having a light meal during dinner will help in attaining a good quality of sleep.

Engage in adequate regular physical activities

Do regular moderate physical activities. This helps improve the function of immune cells.

Avoid sitting, reclining or having low energy expenditure during most of the day. A sedentary lifestyle is closely associated with an elevated risk of insomnia or sleep disturbance and cardiometabolic diseases. Furthermore, this ultimately affects the immune response.

Avoid strenuous and exhaustive exercises. This will decrease the natural killer cells and their immune response activity.

Seated exercises and stationary walking are encouraged. These are good examples of exercises that can be done at home especially during work from home set-up.

Stop cigarette smoking and avoid alcohol

Smoking impacts certain pathways of immunity and plays a complex role in causing numerous diseases such as cancers, allergies and heart and lung diseases.

Avoid alcohol as it disrupts immune pathways in complex ways that result in the impairment of the body’s defense against infection. It also interferes with gut microorganisms which are essential in normal gut function.


Acero Michelle. 2020. Immune Boosting Lifestyle Intervention for COVID-19. Philippine College of Lifestyle Medicine.

World Health Organization. 2020. Healthy at Home.

World Health Organization. 2020. Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable diseases.

Healthy dietImmune SystemNew Normal

Health tips, Vitamins