One of the best ways to ward off the flu is by boosting the immune system to fight whatever tries to take you down. Eating the right foods is one of the ways how Florida seniors get their bodies ready for flu season.
Increase Vitamins and Nutrients
Vitamins and nutrients are essential to building your immune system. In addition to eating a balanced diet, supplements help strengthen your immune system. Here are a few of the essential vitamins and minerals that help fight the flu.
Vitamin C is at the top of any list for strengthening your immune system. Scientists believe that it helps boost the production of white blood cells which in turn help your body fight infections. When you think of Vitamin C, you think of oranges but there are tons of fruits and vegetables that are loaded with Vitamin C. Red bell peppers are loaded with it – loaded in the sense that they contain about twice the amount of Vitamin C as any citrus does. Other fruits and vegetables with tons of Vitamin C include kale, spinach, broccoli and strawberries. Vitamin C supplements are also a great back-up to ensure adequate levels of Vitamin C.
Iron carries oxygen to blood cells which is essential to maintaining a strong immune system. The best sources of iron include lean meat, poultry and seafood not to mention vegetables like kale, broccoli (it packs a powerful punch) and beans.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is important to fight infection. Foods that are high in Vitamin E are nuts like peanuts and almonds as well as sunflower seeds (great on salads), greens including turnip, collard and mustard, and delicious avocados.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
To combat the flu, maintain a healthy lifestyle. This goes way beyond eating healthy foods.
Exercise Every Day
Exercise does so much for anyone at any age because it keeps us strong which is why it is important to exercise every day. Independent living communities constantly offer exercise classes designed for older people, and luckily for Florida seniors, the weather is somewhat cooperative during flu season making it easy for them to maintain an exercise regimen. Even if it is chilly, throw on a jacket and a sweater and get out there to breathe fresh air and maintain a strong body and spirit.
Ditch the Cigarettes
Not that cancer and heart issues are reason to ditch the cigarettes, smoking weakens the immune system to a point that most any senior who smokes is a walking target for the flu. It is very difficult for some but once this bad habit is terminated at any age, better health is inevitable.
Watch the Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol tends to weaken the immune system. Most people have the ability to fight the flu until they enjoy a couple of glasses of wine or other drinks which is why it is helpful to watch the alcohol consumption and not overdo it.
Eat Garlic and Ginger
Garlic is an amazing food – it reduces inflammation and acts as an antimicrobial agent to support and build up the immune system. Ginger does so much for the body from relieving nausea to helping stave off viruses. Both herbs are delicious added to foods, taken as a supplement or eaten alone (breath beware).
There is nothing like a cup of hot tea on a chilly day so it is easy to add it every day. There are so many herbal teas that focus on different conditions of which several are considered “immune boosting” blends. Whether they really work or not, they do taste good and lift the spirits. Green tea is another powerful antioxidant that fights germs making it an excellent option (or coffee replacement in the morning).
Add Some Honey
Raw, unfiltered, organic honey has amazing healing benefits. Not only does it help thwart outdoor allergies, it also helps in treating colds and coughs. Honey coats the throat to help alleviate coughs as well as helps with congestion. Studies indicate that this type of honey does as much or more than taking medicines typically used to treat the symptoms of colds and flus. Home remedies that combine honey, ginger, and lemon and take daily help boost the immune system.
Get Ready for Flu Season
It takes a little work and preparation to get ready for flu season; but as it unfolds, taking the necessary steps to build a strong immune system makes for a healthy season free of any illness. But if the symptoms taking hold, it is important for Florida seniors to seek treatment from a physician before it turns into something worse.
Discovery Village at Deerwood offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 904.667.3500.