The human immune system is a marvel of evolution, carefully coordinating an army of cells and body functions to fight off disease. No defense is perfect, however, and as one ages, it is essential to give the body’s defenses all the help they can get. To boost the immune system and maintain a healthy life, seniors should:
More than half of seniors suffer from insomnia, and failing to address this problem has serious consequences for the immune system. A good night’s sleep prevents colds, flu, inflammation, and a myriad of other diseases. Anyone not getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night should strive for more.
From fiber to vitamins to antioxidants, vegetables offer the body a variety of crucial resources. Many seniors fail to eat enough leafy greens, leading to deficiencies in iron and folic acid. Sunshine Retirement Living provides 3 vegetable-rich meals a day that include leafy greens such as: Kale, Collard Greens, Turnip Greens and Spinach, making it easier for residents to meet their daily needs.
Antibiotics are effective medicine, but only against bacteria. Use them excessively and the body depends on them, losing the ability to fight bacteria on its own. Seniors should talk to a doctor about using or avoiding antibiotics and antibacterial soaps. Always consult your physician with any medically related questions.
Exercise has a variety of benefits for the immune system. Chief among these is improved circulation of white blood cells and antibodies, which allows the body to distribute white blood cells more effectively. Seniors often struggle to exercise, especially if they have mobility issues, but even 30 minutes a day of yoga, resistance bands, or other low-impact activities can lengthen and enrich their lives.
Older adults often suffer from a lack of vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and other crucial vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Poor nutrition makes it harder for the immune system to function, so it is crucial to eliminate any deficiencies. Although the best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet, doctors may also prescribe multivitamins for patients with certain nutritional issues.
High blood pressure is a serious health risk on its own, but it also leaves the body vulnerable to other illnesses. Narrowed arteries impede blood circulation, slowing down the spread of disease-fighting white blood cells. To avoid high blood pressure, seniors should maintain a healthy weight, consume less sodium, exercise regularly, and drink alcohol in moderation.
Prolonged stress strains the immune system, leaving the body unprepared to fight off infection. While there are many ways to reduce stress, meditation is one of the most effective, especially for older adults who have mobility issues. Start by closing your eyes and focusing your breath for 5 to 10 minutes. Even a few minutes of meditation a day will calm the body, improve breathing, and markedly reduce anxiety. If this helps, you may consider signing up for a meditation class.
The risk of social isolation grows with age, but staying social has important benefits for both physical and mental health, including improved immunity. Seniors who attend community events, join clubs, volunteer, or otherwise stay socially active will live longer, healthier, more purposeful lives. The Sunshine Retirement Living offers a variety of activities and events to promote senior social engagement.
Antioxidants prevent damage to the body’s signals, allowing the immune system to communicate more effectively and respond to disease more quickly. Foods rich in antioxidants include red beans, kidney beans, cranberries, blueberries, and pecans. Seasoning one’s food with basil and oregano will also provide antioxidants.
Staying healthy isn’t hard if you have a community committed to your wellness, and Sunshine Retirement Living provides this support to all residents. For more information on senior health, happiness, and living with a purpose, visit our website today.