As we age, our immune systems weaken slightly, which increases the risk of getting colds and the flu, especially during the cooler months. While seasonal illnesses might not cause an issue for some, those with chronic health issues, those age 65 and older and the very young are at risk for complications.
For this reason, it's important to take the necessary steps to help strengthen your immune system to prevent illnesses during the peak season. With the month of August being National Wellness Month, it's a great time to focus on self-care and plan how you intend to approach the season. Consider the following ways to help boost your immune system.
Supplements help ensure your body gets the proper amounts of vitamins and minerals it needs each day. If your daily diet is lacking in any specific food group, a multivitamin can offset these deficiencies. Proper use of vitamins has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts and other memory and mood disorders. Before starting any vitamin regimen, check with your physician for a recommendation.
The old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" has some truth behind it. Nourishing foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals help the body ward off illnesses. Choose fruits and vegetables, lean meat, fish and whole grains to ensure you are getting the right amount of nutrients. Some of the most nutrient-rich foods you can add to your diet include salmon, kale, seaweed, garlic, liver and blueberries. Check with your doctor first for suggestions on the best type of diet based on your own physical condition.
Studies have shown the annual flu vaccine can reduce your risk of infection up to 60 percent. It can take up to two weeks for the body to develop full immunity, so it's a good idea to get the shot in the early fall. For individuals over the age of 65, a new flu vaccine is available that provides a stronger immune system response than the standard dose.
One of the most natural immune system boosters for all ages is sleep. Most adults, including seniors 65 and older, should get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night to stay alert and rested the following day. To do this and to prevent insomnia and other sleep issues:
Go to bed and get up at the same time each day
Avoid naps that are longer than 20 minutes
Don't drink caffeine-based drinks before bedtime
Don't do anything that stimulates the brain while in bed, including reading or watching TV
Stay active during the day so you are tired and ready for bed
At Collinwood, we offer a variety of exercise programs to keep you healthy and active.
For seniors, healthy habits are the best way to keep the immune system strong and to safeguard against illness. At Collinwood assisted living community, we have a variety of options available to help keep seniors healthy, active and living their best lives..