Put simply, it’s your immune system’s job to defend your body against illness and disease. The complex system is made up of cells in your skin, blood, bone marrow, tissues, and organs that — when working the way they should — protect your body against potentially harmful pathogens (like bacteria and viruses), and limit damage from noninfectious agents (like sunburn or cancer), according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Think of the immune system as an orchestra. For the best performance, you want every instrument and every musician in the orchestra to perform at its best. You don’t necessarily want one musician performing on double speed or one instrument suddenly producing sound at twice the volume it usually does. You want every component of that orchestra to perform exactly according to plan.
The same goes for your immune system. To best protect your body from harm, every component of your immune system needs to perform exactly according to plan. The best way you can ensure that happens is to practice the good-for-you behaviors every day that your immune system runs on. Here are seven key ones.