Our immune system acts as our body’s defense mechanism against infection, disease, and illnesses. When an unwanted invader appears in our body, white blood cells move quickly to eliminate the threat before it causes severe damage. For adults, a robust immune system helps prevent infections and diseases from developing and helps us recover quicker after an illness has been contracted. By boosting your immune system naturally, you can keep yourself from getting sick more often and recover from illness faster when you do become ill. Here are some of the best ways to keep your immune system strong as an older adult.
Choose Fiber-Rich Foods
Fiber not only promotes colon health but fiber also reduces your blood pressure and triglyceride levels, making it easier for your body to digest cholesterol. Eating high-fiber foods is especially important as you age because older people tend to consume fewer fruits and vegetables, which are vital sources of dietary fiber. So it’s important to choose whole grains, beans, and other plant-based foods that contain some fiber. Just be sure to keep portion sizes moderate so that you don’t consume more calories than your body needs.
Drink Water and Beverages Low in Sugar
Drinking plenty of water is an important habit to maintain if you want to keep your immune system strong. That’s because water helps flush out toxins from your body. Plus, when you’re dehydrated, your immune system is less effective at fighting off infection. If you need a pick-me-up during the day, don’t reach for sugary drinks or sodas – try juice diluted with seltzer water instead.
Eat More Dark Green Vegetables
Green vegetables are your immune system’s best friend. They’re packed with antioxidants that help fight off infection and disease. A study from Johns Hopkins University found that people who ate just two servings of green leafy vegetables per week were 24 percent less likely to catch a cold than those who didn’t. So make sure you make room for a serving of salad greens, broccoli, or spinach with every meal. The key is variety. While all dark green veggies provide vitamin C and folate – two nutrients known to boost immunity – different types have varying amounts of these vitamins, so mix it up as much as possible.
Use Fortified Foods or Supplements
The use of fortified foods is significant for the elderly. The immune system naturally weakens as we age, so it’s essential to give your body everything it needs to fight off colds and viruses. A diet rich in calcium-rich foods can keep bones strong, while vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that helps protect tissues. Zinc can help maintain a robust immune system, along with probiotics that may help ward off respiratory infections.
Choose Fresh, Frozen, Canned or Dried Fruits
Consuming fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits can give your immune system a massive boost by providing your body with essential vitamins and minerals that are hard to find in other foods. Some of these nutrients include zinc, vitamins A and C, calcium, and selenium that are important for healthy skin cells and strong teeth and bones. Consuming adequate amounts of fruit will ensure that you receive all of these benefits without taking high doses of supplements.