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Immune System Boosters | Foods To Boost the Immune System

Foods To Boost the Immune System...

Washing your hands thoroughly and often can help prevent the spread of disease-causing germs from one person to another.

 Be sure to lather hands with soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing with water.

A healthy diet is essential to a strong immune system. As you age, nutritional needs and eating habits may change for a variety of reasons. 

But in addition to a weakened immune system, poor nutrition and/or malnutrition can also affect heart health, lead to type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer, and weaken bones and muscles.

A well-balanced diet includes a variety of vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy and a variety or protein foods. 

The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends including foods rich in the following nutrients to strengthen immune system health:

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Protein – seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, beans, peas

Vitamin A – sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach

Vitamin C – citrus foods, strawberries, certain cereals

Vitamin E – almonds, hazelnuts, peanut butter

Zinc – lean meats, poultry, milk, whole grain products, beans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. 

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Encourage your aging loved ones to find enjoyable activities that match their fitness level. For example, a short 10-minute walk around the block may be a good way to start or try yoga and Tai Chi for improved flexibility and a boost to mental and emotional health.

 The National Institute on Aging also has many sample workout videos to help older adults strengthen muscles, improve balance and get active right at home.

Managing stress is an important aspect of immune health. Studies show that chronic stress takes a toll on immune health and hinders your immune system’s ability to fight inflammation and infections.

Participating in enjoyable activities that promote relaxation, such as meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and deep breathing exercises can have positive effects on health. 

If your aging loved one needs additional help managing stress, cognitive behavioral therapy can be a good tool to replace negative thoughts with a more positive outlook.

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Senior isolation may lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, which can compromise immune health. 

So find creative ways to stay connected: Call, text, or use video technology, such as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom to stay in touch while keeping your loved one safe.

Insufficient sleep may hinder your immune system’s ability to respond to infection and inflammation. 

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Additionally, sleep disorders are linked to many chronic diseases and conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder among older adults. If lifestyle changes, such as staying physically active, keeping a regular sleep schedule, and limiting caffeine don’t help, your loved one may need to seek medical help.

As you age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst, but adequate hydration is also key in boosting immune function.

 Water helps your body absorb nutrients and minerals, and flush body waste.

Drinking at least eight to nine glasses of fluid a day can help you avoid dehydration.

 Drink lemon, honey, ginger and turmeric with warm water.

Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called theobromine, which may help to boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals.

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 Turmeric is a yellow spice that many people use in cooking. It is also present in some alternative medicines. Consuming turmeric may improve a person’s immune response. This is due to the qualities of curcumin, a compound in turmeric.

 Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

 Broccoli is another source of vitamin C. It also contains potent antioxidants, such as sulforaphane. For these reasons, it is a good choice of vegetables to eat regularly to support immune system health.

 Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, a type of antioxidant that gives the skin of the potatoes its orange color. 

Spinach may boost the immune system, as it contains many essential nutrients and antioxidants, including:

 People use ginger in a variety of dishes and desserts, as well as in teas.

 According to a review, ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties and is likely to offer health benefits. However, more research is necessary to confirm whether or not it can effectively prevent illness.

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Garlic is a common home remedy for the prevention of colds and other illnesses.

 Green tea contains only a small amount of caffeine, so people can enjoy it as an alternative to black tea or coffee. Drinking it may also strengthen the immune system.

 Kefir is a fermented drink that contains live cultures of bacteria that are beneficial for health.

 Sunflower seeds can make a tasty addition to salads or breakfast bowls. They are a rich source of vitamin E, an antioxidant.

 

Almonds are another excellent source of vitamin E. They also contain manganese, magnesium, and fiber.

Oranges and kiwis are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is the vitamin that many people turn to when they feel a cold developing.

 Berries are naturally high in vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants that can be enjoyed fresh or frozen. Elderberries may help to recover from illnesses faster, but further research is needed to know for sure.

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 A fall and winter favorite, cinnamon contains essential oils that may help reduce the amount of time we spend getting over a cold or the flu.

 Honey, This sweetener has been used as an antibiotic for centuries. 

It was believed that ancient Romans would apply it to their eyes when they had about conjunctivitis (“pink eye”). 

 Turns out, they were on to something: honey has been found to prevent the growth of bacteria. Add it to your tea or as a topping on your whole-grain pancakes or waffles.

 Mushrooms, A good source of vitamin D and an underutilized immune-boosting food. 

In fact, clinical researchers discovered improved immune responses in cancer patients who are receiving chemotherapy and radiation after consuming mushrooms.

 Turmeric, Typically found as a bright yellow powder, this immune system booster is often used in Asian curry dishes. 

You may also find turmeric supplements, but be careful with these – many have failed quality testing but are still available on store shelves.

 
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