Well, it’s officially that time of year again. Cold season.
This can be a scary time, especially for senior citizens who are more susceptible to infections. Did you know, a single cold virus can have 16 million offspring within the course of a day?! And the last thing you want is to be stuck in bed, fighting a cold.
In this article, we will cover the top ten immune system boosters for senior citizens.
10 Immune System Boosters for Senior Citizens
Multivitamins & Herbal Supplements
I think this goes without saying, consuming multivitamins every day will supply your body with any nutrients it’s lacking.
If you’re already starting to feel sick, herbal supplements are a great remedy to ease cold symptoms. Most herbal supplements are available at local health food stores, and are offered in multiple forms. Whether you choose to take these herbs in capsule form, or make a hot tea out of them, you can count on some natural, mild relief of common cold and flu symptoms.
Here is a list of the best supplements for fighting a cold:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Although vitamins and herbal supplements are good for the body, seniors should consult with their doctors first before adding additional supplements to their regimen.
Both the common cold, and the flu, cause less-than-desirable side effects.
Flu vaccines are proven to be effective for around one quarter of older adults. That said, seniors who receive a flu vaccination are that much less likely to suffer from sickness this season.
Healthy Eating & Maintaining a Nutrient-Rich Diet
As we age, our appetite and diet change dramatically.
According to The National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging, 1 out of every 4 older Americans have poor nutrition.
With that statistic in mind, maintaining a diet rich in beta carotene, vitamin C and E and zinc are absolutely essential for good health. In addition, ingesting low-fat foods that are also full of lean proteins and whole grains is important for seniors.
Some of the best nutrient-dense foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans and lentils
- Seeds and nuts
- Whole grain breads, pastas, etc.
- Low-fat dairy products
- Lean meat
Daily physical activity promotes heart health and better blood circulation. Exercise also helps relax the body and mind.
Even when you’re sick, it’s a good idea to participate in some form of physical activity, if you can. This could include taking a few laps around the inside of your home, or lifting light weights while you watch TV.
If you’re feeling up to it, bicycle rides, walks in the park, and yoga classes are great options. Again, exercise helps boost a senior’s immune system performance, as well as ward off other infections.
Sleep a Full 8 Hours Each Night
Believe it or not, sleep is one of the all-time best natural immune system boosters.
Studies show sleep helps the body respond better to inflammation and stress levels. It’s also proven to increase our response to the flu vaccine.
Relax and Reduce Stress
Both heart disease and stomach ulcers have been specifically linked to higher-than-average stress levels.
A big cause for immune system suppression is stress, making you more susceptible to viruses. This is especially true for seniors.
Make Hydration a Priority
Seniors require at least eight to nine glasses of water per day to keep mucous membranes moist, which lowers the chance of catching a cold or the flu.
Since seniors tend to sense thirst less compared to younger individuals, it’s important to keep a cup of water nearby at all times and try to mentally remind yourself to drink it.
Positivity is Key
Having a healthy, positive outlook on life can significantly boost endorphins, leading to a better and more productive life. In fact, there are many health benefits associated with positive thinking.
Here are a few of the health benefits of positive thinking:
- Proven to increase one’s life span
- Lower levels of depression
- Greater resistance to the common cold and flu
- Decreased levels of distress
- Heightened physical and psychological well-being
- Improved cardiovascular health, as well as a reduced risk of death associated with cardiovascular disease
- And many more!
Seniors who do their best to keep up with the activities and hobbies that make them happy, have a much greater chance of staying healthy longer.
Superfoods are scientifically proven to improve immune system performance. Additionally, certain superfoods can boost cognitive function and help fight against dementia.
Here are some of the best superfoods for seniors:
- Greek Yogurt
Always Remember to Wash Your Hands!
Fact: People touch their eyes, nose, and mouth regularly (without even realizing it!), spreading thousands of germs that can get you sick.
By remembering to wash your hands on a regular basis, you’ll decrease the chances of catching an illness. Plus, you’ll be getting rid of all those unwelcome germs.