If we are going to fight viruses and infections, we need a strong immune system. One of the challenges of aging, is that the immune system weakens. Seniors, or those 65 years and older develop flu symptoms more severely than youth, which means that a diagnosis of Covid-19 will more likely take the life of a senior versus someone much younger. There are ways to strengthen the immune system, as I will list below.
- Balanced Diet: Diet is very important, not just to boost our immune system, but to give us energy and put our body in fighting mode. Leafy vegetables, fruits, protein, and calcium are important for a balanced diet, but additionally limiting sugars will help to keep our insulin and fat in check, not to mention that consuming sugars makes it difficult for our bodies to fight off bacteria.
- Vaccines: Work with your doctor and let them guide you in choosing vaccines. A pneumonia vaccine is popular and usually a good idea to get as you age. Shingles if you are over 50 years old, tetanus should be up to date, and a yearly flu shot is usually required. As long as your primary care doctor knows your history, they will be able to recommend what will be best for you.
- Vitamins: As hard as we try to eat properly and balanced, we will sometimes miss important vitamins or minerals. With that in mind, taking a multivitamin and supplements daily help to keep us on track.
- Sleep: We always hear how important sleep is to us, but it can be difficult to get enough of it. It may be stress, illness, depression, or anxiety that keeps us awake, so if we are experiencing any of these symptoms, finding ways to reduce them will help your body improve your immune system. Try walking, meditating and a creative outlet. “Sleep deprivation can hinder the body’s production of cytokines, a type of protein that targets inflammation and infection. Not only does a lack of sleep hinder the immune system, but it leaves you feeling foggy and sluggish-not the best recipe for coping with a sore throat or a case of the sniffles” The best immune system booster tips for seniors. Seniorlink on May 27, 2020.
- Exercise Regularly: I am sure we have all heard this at least a million times in our lifetime! But, it is right on…exercising will reduce the release of stress hormones while boosting our immune system, plus, it makes us strong and more agile in our older years. Expanding our lungs through aerobic exercise keeps it more possible to expand in the mist of a virus or lung infection.
- Stay Hydrated: We can never get enough water, am I right? It is always important, because it keeps our organs and tissues oxygenated. Water helps to carry this oxygen, which helps us to have energy, and function much better. Most importantly, “hydration helps to keep mucous membranes moist, especially during the dry winter months, which helps to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering.” The best immune system booster tips for seniors. Seniorlink, May 27, 2020.
If we are healthy and following all of the above listed guidelines, I would like to add one more suggestion…washing your hands and keeping a safe distance from others will help to prevent contracting illnesses and keeping your self healthy.
Stay healthy and stay safe!