When the pandemic hit, it left many of us wondering what we could do to avoid becoming infected with COVID-19, especially since those 65 and older seemed to be the most vulnerable.
One of the most powerful things we can do to not only live longer but healthier, is to ensure that our immunity is in fighting shape. We have some tips for you, and while they aren’t necessarily groundbreaking, they just may be the reminder you need today.
We know that a healthy diet is paramount. But are you also getting the most powerful punch when you eat? Did you know that citrus, berries, and cherries are packed full of antioxidants? Did you know that garlic keeps away more than vampires, but is a powerful immunity booster? Here is a list of a few superfoods to add to your nutrition plan to help you keep germs away!
- Citrus fruits – vitamin C
- Berries and cherries – antioxidants
- Ginger, turmeric – anti-inflammatory
- Red bell pepper – has the most vitamin C out of any fruit or vegetable
- Mushrooms – vitamin D
- Broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage – vitamins A, C and E, and can help prevent DNA damage that can lead to certain cancers
- Leafy greens – vitamin C and E
- Yogurt – probiotics increase immunity
- Almonds, cashews, and walnuts – healthy fats, increase heart health, decrease bad cholesterol
- Fish – fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and herring are rich in Omega 3’s, aiding in heart health
- Poultry – rich in vitamin B and protein to support a healthy metabolism and increase energy
When you get moving your body does extraordinary things! Strenuous exercise may be off the table, but regular physical activity will strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off infections and viruses. Aim for 30 minutes of activity for three days a week. Gentle activities such as walking, yoga, and swimming are great low-impact workouts. Do this and increase blood circulation which has an anti-inflammatory effect!
- Decrease stress
Chronic stress will decrease the effectiveness of your immune system. When under stress, the body increases the production of cortisol. This is a hormone that helps the body deal with stressful situations. It also limits bodily functions that aren’t essential in a fight-or-flight situation. A little stress doesn’t harm the body. However, chronic stress lowers your immune system response, making you susceptible to viruses and illnesses. To reduce stress, find activities that you enjoy such as reading, gardening, spending time with a friend or whatever boost a feeling of well being for you.
- Get your ZZZs, please!
Sleep deprivation also reduces the effectiveness of the immune system. Sleep becomes more important with age because it also helps improve brain function, concentration, and memory. Older adults who don’t get enough sleep are also susceptible to nighttime falls as well. It’s suggested to get a minimum of 7 and a half solid hours of sleep per night. Sign us up!
- Get outside!
It’s no secret that the sun provides vitamin D. Vitamin D helps strengthen the immune system. If your vitamin D level is low, your doctor may prescribe supplements or recommend an over-the-counter multivitamin. Spending additional time outdoors allows your body to naturally convert vitamin D from sun exposure. The amount of sun exposure to get the vitamin D you need will depend on your skin tone. Some need only fifteen minutes, while others require a couple of hours. Check with your doctor to see what they suggest.
We hope these immunity booster reminders are helpful to you! We are wishing you the very best of health!