Helping the immune system in elderly people
If you are one of those kids who grew up with your grandparents, you will notice your grandparents are not as active as active as they used to be. They now will need someone to take care of things for them, especially if they have become bed bound.
It is a great blessing if your grandparents are in great health and passing their days happily with family. However, even if they are healthy, with the emerging infectious diseases outbreak, we have to be extra careful of their wellbeing.
How do we do that? How do we take care of our elderly family members so that they have an immunity strong enough to fight against infections?
Why do older people have weaker immune systems?
We all know that the functions of our internal organs, including the immune systems gradually decline with older age.
- When a foreign pathogen enters into an older adult, their body is not strong enough to actively respond to the stimulant so they can easily fall sick.
- The recovery time also takes longer.
- The cells of the immune system take longer to respond.
- Oxidants released due to aging have negative effects on the cells of immune system.
All these reasons lead to declined performance of the immune system.
What can we do to raise their body’s natural immunity?
Even though the immune system is affected largely by old age, we can still boost their body immunity with the following easy health tips.
- Eat a balanced diet.
Not just for older adults, it is a promising fact that everyone who eats good, nutritious food has a strong immune system. If you eat poorly, your immune system won’t be able to go against a mild disease, such as common cold. Food containing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and proteins are key to a well-balanced nourishing diet.
Proteins – The germ fighting cells called antibodies are built from proteins and amino acids. That is why you have to eat lean meat, beans, eggs and milk for proteins.
Vitamin A – It boosts the protective immunity of the skin, respiratory tract and digestive tract. Good sources of Vitamin A are leafy greens-, and yellow-colored fruits.
Vitamin C – It is the most popular antioxidant and protects the body from oxidizing effects of the cells. Vitamin C is readily accessible in citrus fruits and grapes.
Vitamin E – Another antioxidant Vitamin E is also responsible for keeping the immune cells strong and healthy. Vitamin E is abundant in sunflower oil, olive oil and almonds.
Vitamin D – It improves your body’s immunity., Vitamin D is acquired from the sunlight, and can also be obtained from dairy products.
Zinc – With exceptional healing properties, zinc is a great mineral for adults in recovery from a certain illness. Zinc is found in food sources such as seeds and red lean meat.
Other nutrients such as Vitamin B6, folate, selenium, and beneficial bacteria can also help in boosting the immune system.
Now that we know what to incorporate into their meals, some older adults have difficulty in chewing or keeping their meal down. Some adults are vegetarians and some have an aversion to certain foods. In cases like these, we can safely rely on the nutritious meal replacements and nutrient supplement smoothies and drinks which are suitable for old age and work great for their immune system.
- Get enough sleep.
Older adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Power naps in the late afternoons can also help preserve their energy.
- Be in touch with nature.
Some examples can be sunbathing under the early morning sun or going for a walk for a fresh breeze. These outdoor activities can improve their immunity as well as their well-being.
- Do some light exercise.
It becomes harder to move their body with each passing year but some light stretching, and light jog have many benefits for the health. During the time of social distancing, one can move in the house and try following along some fun exercise videos. The benefits of exercise are endless, from strengthening your bones and muscles, maintaining a healthy weight to supporting your lungs to work well.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
Eating a balanced diet together with some minutes of exercise everyday can maintain healthy weight for older adults. Obesity precedes diseases such as diabetes and hypertension while being underweight can expose the adults to many infections.
- Quit smoking.
Smoking affects not only your lungs but also your entire body. A damaged lung is a welcome sign to infections.
- Reduce stress.
Stress can stimulate the release of oxidizing agents in your body. Take some minutes to meditate and exercise.
- Get early vaccination.
Flu season is near and it is best to vaccinate the older adults. Adults over 65, those with weak lungs and underlying diseases are more susceptible to the long-lasting effects of the season flu. Their recovery period can be long so preventive measures should be taken. Consult a healthcare professional on your suitability for vaccination.