Although the immune system is the body’s first line of defense against infections and viruses, it can be weakened by the aging process, especially in times of COVID-19. Aged adults are more likely to develop flu complications that end in hospitalization or, in rare circumstances, death. In fact, according to a 2013 study, individuals 65 and older account for between 70% and 90% of seasonal flu-related fatalities and 50% to 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations. Taking efforts to boost your immune system can help you fight off common colds and other diseases, lowering the risk of serious complications such as pneumonia. Here are some tips to improve your immune system and strengthen your body’s natural defenses.
Have a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Want a strong immune system? Make sure you have a balanced and nutritious diet. Foods and beverages with high sugar content should be avoided as sugar suppresses immune cells that fight bacteria. Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, which contain nutrients such as vitamin A, C, D, and E, zinc, beta carotene, and many other essential minerals. All meals should come with a source of protein like milk, yogurt, or lean meat.
Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation can impair the body’s ability to produce cytokines, which are proteins that fight inflammation and infection. Lack of sleep not only weakens the immune system but also makes you feel foggy and lethargic, which is not ideal when dealing with a sore throat or a cold.
Aged adults should ideally engage in as much physical activity as possible throughout their lives. Although you may not be as fit as you once were, regular physical exercise like walking, yoga, swimming, or cycling can minimize the release of stress hormones while also lowering the risk of developing chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Regular exercise can also improve immune system control and efficacy, as well as strength and overall well-being.
Keep Up with Vaccinations
Vaccinations can help strengthen your immune system against some infections including the seasonal flu, tetanus, pneumonia, and whooping cough. Consult your healthcare provider to verify that all of your routine vaccines are up to date, and to find out whether any additional vaccinations are suitable for you. For example, individuals 65 and older are advised to take the pneumonia vaccination, while adults over the age of 50 or 70 can get one of two types of shingles vaccines.
Although it is hard to avoid all that is stressful in life, aged adults who have positive outlets and activities that help to reduce stress may develop a more robust immune system. Stress disrupts the body’s natural defenses by generating a stress hormone called corticosteroid, which inhibits the immune system by reducing the number of lymphocytes, or white blood cells that attack invading viruses and germs. Find a stress-relieving activity or creative outlet you enjoy, and let it work wonders for your health and immune system.
Prioritize Your Health and Wellness at Veranda Club
Here at Veranda Club, our lifestyle programs are designed with residents’ health and wellness in mind. If you are interested to find out more, feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to assist, schedule a tour, and answer any questions you may have about the living options, amenities, and more.