10 Immune System Boosters for Seniors
For older adults, having a strong immune system is important, especially during the cold and flu season. Because they’re more vulnerable to infections, seniors need to take extra precautions to ensure they stay healthy.
Learn more about 10 immune system boosters to get your senior loved ones through the season.
Strengthening Immunity During Cold and Flu Season
Healthy-living strategies are something to practice throughout our lives. But they become more significant as we age.
Harvard Medical School describes how the aging process reduces the immune system response. So the older we get, the more susceptible we become to infections, inflammatory diseases and cancer.
In fact, the leading causes of death for people over age 65 across the world are respiratory infections: influenza and pneumonia. Fortunately, the following tips include some of the best immune system boosters for older adults.
10 Immune System Boosters for Seniors
Immune system boosters can help seniors who do catch a cold, allowing for a faster recovery and preventing a more serious health issue. (Sources: Harvard and WebMD, unless otherwise noted.)
Here are 10 tips that can help get your senior loved ones through cold and flu season:
1. Get Vaccinated
Flu vaccines have shown to be effective for around one-quarter of older adults. Seniors who get the flu vaccine have significantly lower rates of sickness and death.
2. Eat a Healthy, Nutrient-Rich Diet
Older people tend to eat less and have less variety in their diets. Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and zinc are essential to good health. So is maintaining a low-sugar, low-fat diet that incorporates whole grains and lean proteins.
Regular physical activity promotes circulation and heart health, and relaxes the body and mind. Walks, bike rides, yoga classes and other forms of exercise help boost seniors’ immune system performance and ward off infections.
4. Reduce Stress
Stress has been linked to a number of illnesses, including stomach problems and heart disease. Whether it’s social stress, isolation or another form, stress can suppress seniors’ immune system, making them more susceptible to viruses.
One of the best natural immune system boosters, sleep helps us respond better to stress and inflammation. It’s also shown to improve our response to the flu vaccine.
6. Wash Hands
Washing hands regularly scrubs away germs. Covering sneezes and coughs helps prevent diseases from spreading.
7. Stay Positive
A healthy outlook on life boosts endorphins, which make us feel good. Seniors who keep up with activities and hobbies that make them happy or challenge them in an enjoyable way have a better chance of staying positive and healthy.
8. Try Some Superfoods
Foods like kale, broccoli, avocados, certain mushrooms, berries and others have shown to improve seniors’ immune system performance. Some superfoods even boost cognitive function and help fight Alzheimer’s disease.
9. Consider Multivitamin or Herbal Supplements
An option for increasing nutrients and fighting infections, seniors should talk to their doctors first before adding multivitamins or herbs, such as echinacea, ginseng or probiotics, to their regimen.
10. Stay Hydrated
Seniors tend to sense thirst less than younger people. But older people need at least 8-9 glasses of fluid a day to keep mucous membranes moist, which lowers the chances of flu or colds. Water, coffee, tea and soup all count.
Illness isn’t inevitable for the elderly. But, good health habits lend to keeping seniors happy and active so they can enjoy the most out of life.
Do you have immune boosting tips for seniors? Share them with us in the comments below.
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