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7 Key Nutrients to support seniors’ immune system

Nutrition is the key to good health, but what exactly is nutrition? The scientific explanation of it says it is the physiological and biochemical processes within the body. It involves foods and other nourishments that provide energy your body needs and some are converted into tissues for the body. Especially in seniors, we see that if they have poor nutrition, their quality of life may not be as good as they can be, leading to immunocompromised conditions. If we were to list all the nutrients, the list will be far and wide, but here are 7 of them that seniors can have in their diet to support their immune health.1,4  


In Myanmar culture, you would hear your Grandmother or Mom tell you to eat plenty of meat to grow big and strong to resist the elements. That is technically true because protein is required to build antibodies and the cells for the immune system. By including a variety of protein rich foods such as seafood, lean meats, chicken products, sea foods, legumes, plain nuts, and various nutritional seeds, it will all help a senior’s immune system. It will also help a senior heal wounds and aid them through recovery from major illnesses.1,4 

Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E

Eat your rice and vegetables, they will make you feel full, make you less ill and improve your eyesight, another traditional parental advice. Vitamin A, C, and E helps regulate the immune system, protect against infections, stimulate the formation of antibodies, and work as an antioxidant. Working from the inside, if a senior was to include Vitamin A in their diet, the tissues of the mouth to their respiratory system will be healthy. That is because most infections come through the intestines and the skin. For all these 3 Vitamins, include plenty of vegetables, sweet potatoes, cereals, citrus fruits, tomatoes, almonds, and cook with vegetable oil.1,4 


Seniors with a Zinc deficiency are found to have bad bowel movements and necessary organs for that are inflamed. Your body needs Zinc for metabolism and facilitates in helping your immune system function properly with synthesis of new immune system cells. Wounds will heal better and keep a senior’s sense of taste and smell in good condition. 1,4 

Electrolytes and other Key Nutrients

Electrolytes may be a more recent nutrient term that is mentioned in most of our Myanmar food culture when it comes to health. But rest assured it has been always consumed through fluids, salt, potassium, and food grade chlorides. Drinking plenty of fluids will help regulate body heat, especially when you are ill. Seniors who are dehydrated will feel lethargic with dry throat and mouth. Some may even have trouble swallowing when these conditions are prolonged so if you are providing assistance to a senior, watch out for these signs.2

Vitamin D

Sunlight is a well-known source of life, especially for humanity. Sunlight helps your body produce Vitamin D from the cholesterol. And it is found that seniors with a Vitamin De deficiency have poorer mental health conditions with restless sleep. Osteoporosis is also a bone brittleness condition that results from Vitamin D deficiency, which leads to falls and other safety hazards. Vitamin D’s ability to manage the immune cells, they have a lower risk for developing debilitating major illnesses.3

How can Ensure help?

As young adults, we do not always get the required nutrition, so it may be harder for seniors to get it. From just food alone, a senior may find they are lacking. They can look towards supplementary nutrition such as various Ensure products. Formulated through scientific methods and multiple trials, it is quite a convenient way to get key nutrients like protein, vitamin A, antioxidants, zinc and vitamin D. For a senior the key is to follow a well-balanced diet, stay properly hydrated, and well rested to help keep an immune system strong.1