The body’s immune system helps provide protection from substances that are foreign to the body or harmful, such as toxins, viruses, bacteria, cancer cells, or blood or tissues from another person you’ve come into contact with. The job of the immune system is to create cells and antibodies to destroy the foreign and harmful substances in the body so you don’t get sick. Unfortunately, as we age, the immune system’s ability to do its job declines. Seniors may experience immune systems that are slower to respond, putting them more at risk for getting sick. A common senior health concern is the development of an autoimmune disorder, where their own immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissues. Here are 4 tips for strengthening a senior’s immune system and improving senior health:
A study published on Plos journal for medicine indicates that having multiple healthy social relationships was just as beneficial to their overall health as quitting smoking. While it is important for seniors to experience independent living, it’s necessary for good health that they continue to have opportunities for socializing. The study found there is a 50% higher chance for living longer if you have strong social relationships compared to people who don’t have a lot of friends or who don’t socialize much.
2. Maintaining a Balanced Diet
Eating foods high in nutrients and vitamins A, C, D, and E is necessary to keeping your immune system strong or build it up. For senior health, eating a balanced diet of animal protein, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, and fresh fruit and vegetables is the key to strengthening the immune system.
3. Fun in the Sun
Vitamin D is crucial for a strong immune system. People of any age should spend half an hour in the sun a few times a week without sunscreen on to allow your body to absorb the Vitamin D from the sunrays. Avoid peak periods between 10am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest, but otherwise, improve senior health by getting outdoors to enjoy some long walks. If getting outside is a challenge, take a Vitamin D supplement or increase the amount of fatty fish in your diet.
4. Stay Active
As we age, our physical abilities tend to decline, which only leads to doing less and less activity and experiencing a more rapid decline in strength. Making exercise part of your daily routine should be part of every senior health plan. In an independent living community or retirement home, many activities are offered to encourage fitness and exercise. Exercising can prevent heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis while also improving sleep quality and strengthening the immune system.
A healthy immune system helps people live longer and gives them the strength to live their lives to the fullest! Staying active, socializing, eating a balanced diet and spending some time in the sun are all ways to improve senior health and strengthen the immune system.