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5 Tips To Boost Seniors’ Immune System

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health coverage, provides five tips to help seniors strengthen their immune defences and stay healthy.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our immune systems change as we age, making us more vulnerable to diseases and infections. As a result, the risk of significant repercussions from colds, flu, and coronavirus is higher in older people.

The good news is there are steps seniors can take to boost their immune system and reduce the risk of falling ill.

Maintain a Nutrient-Rich Diet

healthy immune system relies on a well-balanced diet to function optimally. Seniors should focus on consuming a diet rich in nutrients that support immune health.

  • Vitamin C: Found in citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli, vitamin C aids in the formation of white blood cells, which are necessary for combating infections.
  • Vitamin D: Exposure to sunlight and dietary sources like fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and supplements can help maintain proper vitamin D levels.
  • Zinc: This mineral is involved in immune cell development and function. Seniors can obtain zinc from lean meats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries, spinach, and almonds, can protect immune cells from free radical damage, supporting general immunological health.
  • Fibre-Rich Foods: Fibre, found in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, helps digestion.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics help maintain a healthy gut microbiota, which is essential for modulating the immune system. Probiotics can be found in foods such as yoghurt and over-the-counter supplements.
  • Food Safety: Avoid consuming undercooked food to prevent infections that can weaken your immune system.
  • Limit Processed Foods: Limit processed and sugary foods, which can contribute to inflammation and weaken immune function. Instead, focus on whole, natural foods for better nutrition.
  • Adequate hydration: Proper hydration is required for the immune system to function correctly.

Prioritise Regular Exercise

Exercise helps improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and enhance the body’s defence mechanisms. Seniors should aim for cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises to maintain overall health and immune function.

Choosing exercises that align with individual fitness levels and physical conditions is essential. Walking, swimming, yoga, and tai chi are excellent for seniors.

Get Adequate Sleep

During sleep, the body repairs and regenerates immune cells. However, changes in hormone synthesis, such as melatonin and cortisol, can contribute to sleep disruption in older persons. Melatonin, generally created in reaction to darkness and helps promote sleep by synchronising circadian cycles, is secreted less by the body as people age.

Aim for 7-9 hours of unbroken sleep per night to enhance immunological function. Creating a sleep-friendly environment by keeping the bedroom dark, quiet, and calm can help improve sleep quality. A regular sleep regimen and avoiding stimulating activities, coffee, and electronic gadgets before bedtime will help enhance sleep quality.

Manage Stress Effectively

Seniors should be mindful of their stress levels, as chronic stress can compromise the immune system and increase the likelihood of sickness. Seniors should focus on managing stress through relaxation techniques and stress-reduction strategies. Deep breathing techniques, meditation, gradual muscular relaxation, and mindfulness can all assist in alleviating stress.

 

Stay Up-to-Date with Vaccinations

Vaccinations are important to maintaining a healthy immune system, particularly for seniors. They aid in preventing avoidable illnesses and infections that can be serious in older persons. Seniors should check with their doctor to ensure they are up to date on prescribed immunisations, such as the yearly flu, pneumonia, and shingles vaccine.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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