3 easy tips for boosting your immune system naturally, according to a doctor

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On In The Know’s Wellness Lab, we’re busting common health myths and sharing the best products for keeping your health in tip top shape with our host, Dr. Alok Patel.

A strong immune system is pretty important for your overall health, but that doesn’t mean you need a magic pill to take care of it. Instead, Dr. Patel breaks down a few easy things you can do every day to keep healthy, like managing stress, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and washing your hands — just to name a few.

Here are Dr. Patel’s tips for boosting your immune system naturally:

1. Work out

Dr. Patel says you should exercise at least five times per week. He recommends finding something that gets you excited and that you enjoy doing. That means if you don’t like running, don’t force yourself to get out and hit the pavement or the treadmill. For him, he prefers martial arts and yoga, and even keeps a Yoga For Beginners Kit by Gaiam in his hospital call room. It comes with a thick, comfortable mat, a yoga block and a yoga strap for a deeper stretch.

Shop: Yoga For Beginners Kit by Gaiam, $29.98

Credit: Gaiam
Credit: Gaiam

2. Get Enough Sleep

Not enough people get the recommended 8–10 hours of sleep per day, according to Dr. Patel. Lack of sleep has been associated with some chronic diseases and can affect your ability to concentrate and learn. If you have trouble sleeping, Dr. Patel recommends talking to your doctor about taking a melatonin supplement.

“Melatonin is natural hormone your body makes. Your body makes this to regulate your internal clock, and you could absolutely talk to your doctor and ask if melatonin is right for you,” Dr. Patel says.

He has some patients who use a melatonin supplement by Natrol, which you can usually find on Amazon or at your local drugstore.

Shop: Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep Tablets with Vitamin B6, $10.61 (Orig. $15.49)

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

3. Wash! Your! Hands!

If you didn’t think much about washing your hands prior to the global pandemic, by now, it should be a habit.

“Keeping your hands clean is a surefire way [to ensure] you are protected against a lot of things like influenza and food poisoning,” Dr. Patel says. “When you wash your hands with soap, you use friction, you create something called micelles, and it basically traps and removes dirt and bacteria off your hands.”

Any soap will do, but he recommends Mrs. Myer’s soap or something with a scent that you look forward to smelling every time you wash your hands so it feels like a treat (you know, like when you go to the spa).

Shop: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Liquid Hand Soap 3-Pack, $11.37

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

By doing these very basic things — working out, sleeping and washing your hands — you can help to keep yourself healthy and feeling your best.

Stay tuned and check back every Wednesday for a new episode of The Wellness Lab with Dr. Alok Patel.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to read about how Lysol disinfectant spray actually works and if you can’t find it, which substitutes work just as well.

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