How to boost seniors immune system and prevent infections

Getting the common cold or even the flu, is common for seniors as their immune system weakens with age. However, there are ways to boost your immune system with natural remedies. These remedies not only help you avoid catching colds or the flu but also unwanted trips to the doctor or hospital. Diet and exercise very important for your health and in building a strong immune system. Along with boosting your immune system, having good hygiene practices is an essential part of staying healthy. There is no magic bullet to get your immune system back to the way it used to be but using a combination of vitamins and simple dietary changes can make a world of difference. There are other ways to boost your immune system that you may be unaware of. We will cover some of the things you can do to stay healthy.

1.     Sleep

Although sleep may seem like it is easy to do, most seniors have trouble sleeping and are not getting enough sleep throughout the night. In fact, poor quality of sleep is linked to a higher rate of sickness. Consider that when we get sick, we sleep more; this is caused by your immune system fighting off the illness while you are at rest. On average, you should be getting about seven hours of sleep each night. If you are a senior who has trouble sleeping, using herbal teas such as lavender and rose bud can help improve quality of sleep. Using a diffuser next to your bed with pleasant herbal scents helps to calm the mind and induce sleep. Without proper sleep, your energy levels, physical wellbeing and mental clarity can be diminished as well as your immune system.

2.     Exercise

As we get age, it is normal for us to become less active. For most seniors, maintaining an active lifestyle after 60 can be quite difficult.  This is often due to aches and pains in joints, less stamina and less overall energy. Studies show that maintaining or engaging in some form of exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week can improve overall physical and mental health while minimizing certain health risks. There are many exercises and activities that can fit into all levels of intensity based on your abilities.

Great exercises for seniors that naturally boost the immune system:

⦁ Water Aerobics
⦁ Chair Yoga
⦁ Resistance Band Workouts
⦁ Pilates
⦁ Walking
⦁ Body Weight Workouts

Based on your strength and mobility, most of these workouts are low to moderate intensity, but help to maintain muscle mass, bone density, improved blood flow and mental acuity.

3.     Diet

Everything that we put into our bodies is vital to how we feel and function. A poor diet is one of the leading causes of many, often serious health issues. Whether you want to boost your immune system or want a healthier lifestyle, there are different types of foods that you can add to your diet to help boost your immune system. You want to choose foods that are rich in vitamin C and probiotics. Fermented foods are a great source of nutrition and are beneficial to your digestive tract. A healthy gut is now considered the most critical piece of the health puzzle. Some fermented foods include yogurt, pickles, tempeh, natto and much more. Studies show that people who took probiotic supplements had a stronger immune system response than those who did not. Since your diet is the staple for a stronger immune system, avoiding added sugars and refined carbs can decrease inflammation and help with weight loss

Best foods to boost the immune system

⦁ Citrus fruits: vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.

a. Grapefruit
b. Oranges
c. Clementine’s
d. Lemons
e. Limes

⦁ Garlic: Contains the compound allicin, which contains antimicrobial properties that can boost the immune system.

⦁ Spinach: Rich in vitamin C, loaded with various antioxidants, iron and beta carotene. These properties help our immune system fighting abilities. (Cook lightly to make sure it keeps all its nutrients)

⦁ Turmeric: is an amazing ingredient all around. Turmeric contains high amounts of curcumin, which acts as an immune booster.

⦁ Sunflower Seeds: Contains vitamin E, which is important in immune system function. They are also high in selenium—one ounce can provide your needed daily intake.

4.     Lower Stress Levels

Life can be very hectic, which leads to stress. Having high levels of stress can lead to health risks and sickness. Finding ways to relieve stress is key to immune health. There are many ways to cope with stress, such as meditation, yoga, and a variety of herbs that you can add to tea. Long-term stress causes inflammation and imbalances in immune cell function. Any level of stress can have an almost immediate effect on your health the older you get. If you are someone with high stress levels, lowering them as soon as possible can prevent health issues.

5.     Supplements

Getting the nutrients and vitamins your body needs becomes increasingly difficult for seniors through diet alone. Supplements are essential to getting the vitamins and nutrients seniors need to maintain proper physical function and health. In studies, these supplements were shown to improve immune system health. Before taking these or any supplements, consult with a healthcare professional to avoid negative interactions with medications you may be taking.

Supplements that strengthen your immune response:

⦁ Vitamin C
⦁ Vitamin D
⦁ Zinc
⦁ Elderberry
⦁ Echinacea
⦁ Garlic

Conclusion

Health is very important no matter what your age. As we get older, eating healthy, taking supplements, staying active and getting enough rest are more important than ever. Doing these simple things will lead to better overall health and a strong immune system. If you need help changing your lifestyle, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend, loved one or a medical professional. Remember, health starts with you.

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