As we grow in years, our immune system tends to weaken and decline, even with regular exercise and a healthy diet. Our body slowly loses the ability to absorb the necessary vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy level of nutrients and keep our body strong. This gradual deterioration of the immune system is known as immunosenescence.
As a result of a weakened immune system, seniors are more prone to disease and illnesses ranging from the cold and flu, to other more serious illnesses. To help the seniors in your life, we have compiled a list of several things that done on a regular basis can assist in keeping immune systems strong, or help get it closer to fighting shape.
- Eat brightly colored foods – These are full of antioxidants that improve health and keep our system strong.
- Eat foods with probiotic bacteria – Consuming foods that contain these bacteria such as yogurt, certain milks and cheeses, are reported to enhance the immune system
- Exercise, and get moving – Taking a walk, doing water exercise or a variety of light exercises has been shown to improve the function of our immune system over time. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins which have a positive effect on our system.
- Get plenty of rest – Lack of sleep impacts our body's ability to function at 100%. When we are running on a little or no sleep our systems tend to weaken impacting our overall health.
- Reduce Stress – Stress can spread through the body slowly and weaken our system with time. Engage in social activities, or take other measures to reduce the negative stress.
Though changing a diet and lifestyle late in life can be challenging, it can be done. We advise taking small steps at first and incorporating a few of these tips at a time. If you're actively involved with a senior member of your family volunteer to go on a walk or bring them a new dish that incorporates some of these extra fruits, vegetables or foods.