Under the best of circumstances, it is important to keep our immune systems as healthy as possible. But for senior citizens facing the unique threats of the cold and flu season, we are reminded just how important it is to boost immunity whenever we can. In this blog we will discuss the natural ways to keep our bodies working optimally.
- Getting Adequate Sleep: When your body doesn’t get enough rest, the production of white blood cells is reduced. White blood cells are killer cells which aggressively fight disease. A body in deep, restful sleep also produces interferon and other immune enhancing compounds.
- Minimize Stress: Studies show that the more stressed an individual is, the more likely they are to get sick, and may experience more severe symptoms than those who are not anxious. If your loved one in assisted living is showing signs of stress or anxiety, you can suggest meditation, relaxation exercises, a warm bath or a weekly massage. Experts also recommend regular visits or conversations, and even journal writing if the individual is able.
- Get Some Exercise: Medical professionals agree that engaging in light exercise 5 days a week will do wonders to help boost immunity. Exercise helps to stimulate the production of white blood cells, but be careful when choosing an appropriate exercise based on age and ability.
- Treat Illness Quickly: Infections which are not treated quickly and fester can hurt the immune system. If a senior citizen has an infection, they may wish to check into herbs to treat the problem rather than antibiotics which hamper immune function.
- Take Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for immunity and bone health. In Florida, the sun is a helpful source of vitamin D if the senior is willing and able to go outside during the day. Oily fish and dairy products can provide a dietary source of vitamin D, or a daily supplement can also be of benefit.
Dietary Choices to Boost Immunity
Foods high in antioxidants can help one’s body to maintain a strong immunity. These include:
- Garlic: Cloves of garlic have been used in food over the years for a variety of health-related reasons. While most of the research has been utilizing garlic extracts and supplements, adding garlic to food may also provide beneficial results.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms such as shiitake, maitake, and reishi have been proven to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects, making them useful in warding off cold and flu.
- Colorful Vegetables: Beta-carotene and other carotenoids are powerful antioxidants. They are found primarily in bright yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables. There are different carotenoids in green vegetables, but all are necessary. Therefore a wide array of colors on your plate is the healthiest way to go to boost immunity.
- Nuts: Nuts are full of proteins, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants such as vitamin E, omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc. Not only can nuts boost immunity, but studies suggest they lower the risk of certain chronic disease.
- Berries: An excellent source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, berries contain phytochemicals which can prevent injury to cells. Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and blueberries are high in bioflavonoids. A bowl of mixed berries every day is a great way to help you stay healthy.
- Fish: Omega 3 fatty acids increase the activity of white blood cells. Omega 3s are utilized in the production of compounds that regulate immunity and protect the body from infections.
- Yogurt: Yogurt with live and active cultures is the best choice, as they help to protect against gastrointestinal conditions and may help the body to resist infections and even cancer.
The caring professionals at A Banyan Residence are happy to help you to make sure that your loved one is as healthy as possible. Call us today for a tour of our facility.