Most Americans understand the importance of maintaining a healthy regimen that includes a nutrient-dense diet, exercise at least several times a week, and self-care activities to de-stress. But in addition to that being good for a healthy weight and clear skin, and preventative for long-term health issues from cancer to diabetes, taking care of ourselves has the added benefit of boosting our immune systems to ward off everything from the common cold to the flu—or at least help our bodies to fight illness when we get sick.

Our immune systems help to keep bacteria, toxins, and viruses at bay, and prevent us from getting sick from the diseases they cause. Immune systems further help remove unhealthy or infectious cells from our bodies and regulate the body's responses to otherwise harmless activity (whether food or our own bodies).

With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the world and numbers continuing to climb in the U.S.—the country outpaced China on March 25 to become the country with the most cases in the world—many doctors and scientists have been weighing in to separate fact from fiction when it comes to natural ways to fight coronavirus. There’s no silver bullet for preventing or fighting COVID-19; but it’s as good a time as any to discuss natural ways to keep our immune systems high-functioning—especially while so many people are stuck inside, unable to visit a gym, and prone to adopting some unhealthy habits.

To that end, we scoured health studies, expert medical advice, nutrition facts, and recent headlines to deliver 25 natural ways to boost your immune system. The gallery includes interesting facts—did you know your body can’t produce vitamin C on its own?—and guidelines for optimizing your water intake and figuring out which foods function as the strongest antioxidants.

KEEP READING: See 25 natural ways to boost your immune system

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