In the hurried pace of modern life, you might take your immune system for granted. Working quietly in the background, your immune system protects you from bacteria, viruses & other microbes &, when treated right, wards off disease. It’s a complex network of organs & cells — one affected for better or worse by what you eat, drink, think & do.
Here are the great ways to super-charge your immunity:
Consume a well-balanced diet:
Ensuring that you have a healthy & balanced diet is very important for maintaining a strong immune system. You can eat a variety of foods to boost immune system function, however, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits & vegetables are thought to be most important. Foods with adequate levels of a variety of vitamins & other trace minerals can play a role in boosting immunity. Some of the vitamins & trace minerals that have evidence for supporting healthy immune systems include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Iron (6)
Get a good night’s rest:
The body needs sleep to regenerate. This recovery time is even more important for older adults, who are more susceptible to inflammation, infection, & fatigue. Most health experts recommend eight hours of quality sleep per night. Unfortunately, older adults also suffer from insomnia in higher numbers than younger people. If you or a senior you love suffers from insomnia, help from a physician or sleep disorder specialist is vital.
Exercise & stay active:
Do some type of cardio exercise five days a week, 30 to 40 minutes per day it may help you fight off illnesses. In conjunction with exercise, avoid sitting for long periods of time. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to health problems ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure.
People often underestimate the importance of good hydration. Water helps with energy, digestion, skin health, & sleep. It also allows the body to better absorb vitamins & minerals & eliminate waste. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water every day. For example, a senior weighing 180 pounds should drink 90 ounces of water, broth, natural fruit juice, or tea each day. Consuming foods that have a high water content—leafy greens, berries, & melon—will also help.
Stress management is another immune booster people aren’t usually aware of. Among the many negative health issues caused by too much stress is havoc wreaked on the immune system. Stress decreases lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help the body fight off infection. It also increases cortisol production. Over time, too much cortisol can increase inflammation. There are a variety of ways you can manage stress without medication, including journaling, meditation, yoga, walking, & swimming.
Keep it clean:
When it comes to hygiene, remember you’re better safe than sorry. There are a few key tips to avoid coming into contact with harmful germs & pathogens. First, avoid touching your eyes, nose, ears, & mouth at all times. Wash your hands like you check your phone: closely & constantly. Washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds (& don’t forget the back of your hands, between your fingers, & under the nails.)
Just thinking about getting sick can be stressful in itself, so don’t overthink things. Instead, focus on practicing these immune-supporting habits every day & the odds should be in your favor. An immune body is a happy body!