Fruits, garlic, almonds and ginger are arranged next to a little chalkboard on which is written immune system.

A strong immune system is key to staying healthy, especially in times of great stress.

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy protein — and limited in processed and packaged food — provides the body with the nutrients it needs.

Mitigating stress while making sure your body moves enough are additional ways of improving immune health. (This article is not meant as medical advice.)

MASSAGE Magazine’s editors curated this selection of materials on stress, exercise and nutrition to help you make good choices when it comes to food and supplementation.

Diet, Stress & Exercise

Factors that can affect the health of your immune system include diet, stress and exercise. If the immune system becomes overactive the result can be inflammation; if underactive you can be vulnerable to catching the flu or infections.

Watch a video interview with Leonard Calabrese, DO, FACR, a rheumatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, on what affects your immune system — for better or worse.

• Read “Laughter Yoga Benefits Health with Happiness.”

Make Your Own Meals

Take a break from restaurant or commercially prepared food while developing a more intimate relationship with the substances you put into your body.

• Read “Get Cooking! For Better Nutrition, Make Your Own Meals.”

Protein & Vitamins Matter

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you can bolster your immune system by eating enough protein, and getting vitamins and minerals including Vitamins A, C and Z, along with Zinc. Some foods are just better than others when it comes to building a healthy immune system. From bone broth to yogurt, certain types of food are superstars, according to this article form CNN Health.

• Read “Protect Your Health with Immune-Boosting Nutrition.”

• Read “Eight foods to superpower your immune system.”

Win the Toxin War

Antioxidants found in carotenoids and vitamins “protect healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Supplementation does just what it sounds like: supplement your diet. Certain supplements can reduce inflammation, improve sleep and — important right now — contribute to a healthy immune system.

 • Read “Antioxidants – Protecting Healthy Cells.”

• Read “Targeted Supplements Could Make Your Self-Care Routine More Effective.”