There are a number of natural methods to build and rebuild your immune system that doesn’t involve popping pills or hoarding bottles of supplements. Here are some things you can incorporate into your daily routine without pulling out your wallet:

Get Enough Sleep

This is something most of us struggle with. Whether it’s reading a book in bed or binge-watching just one more episode of our favorite TV show, we deprive ourselves of getting enough sleep. Inadequate sleep increases your chance of getting sick as it does not allow your immunity to build overnight with deep sleep. Getting enough sleep decreases your chance of getting sick and helps you stay at a healthy weight, reduces stress, improves emotions, clears your thinking and lowers your risk of serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease.

Eat Whole Plant Foods

Eating whole foods is one of the top things you can do to build your immune system and keep it strong. Whole plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and legumes are rich in antioxidants and nutrients that help fight off pathogens harmful to your immunity. These foods are especially helpful for decreasing inflammation due to their antioxidant properties. Inflammation can suppress the immune system and cause serious health issues such as heart disease and early-onset Alzheimer’s. Additionally, the fiber in whole foods strengthens your digestive system and feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, where much of your immunity is built.

Moderate Exercise

Many of us are culprits of waking up one day and deciding to workout every day and overdoing it. We go hard at it for a month, get fatigued and then avoid all forms of activity for the next few months. Instead, break this cycle and engage in moderate exercise 4-5 times per week. Prolonged exercise that taxes the body can actually suppress your immune system. Moderate exercises reduce inflammation, increases blood circulation and help your immune cells regenerate regularly. Some examples of moderate exercise include steady bicycling, brisk walking, light hiking and swimming. 

Supplement Wisely

If you are already getting enough sleep, eating whole plant foods and engaging in moderate exercise, but you feel like something is still missing, you can supplement the right way. Sometimes a weak immune system can be an indication of something deeper going on in the body. Make sure to get your yearly physical check-ups with your physician to rule out any chronic underlying illnesses. 

Challenge yourself this year and give your body the fuel it needs to thrive. Skip the take out and opt for whole foods, turn off your lights by 11 pm every night and get moving during the day to keep yourself functioning at your optimal level.

By Dr. Nirali Patel