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The Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the significance of immunity and made people think about it more seriously. Consequently, doctors and nutritionists exhorted people of all age groups to improve the body’s ability to combat harmful elements by boosting immunity. Senior citizens are one of the most vulnerable groups. As new variants of Omicron surface, bringing back the Covid-19 scare, here’s how to boost immunity in seniors.
Why is the immune system weak in the elderly?
Consequently, improving one’s immunity has become crucial for everyone, especially for elderly people. Due to numerous biological changes, the immunity level of elderly people decreases, making them susceptible to infections and diseases. Additionally, the presence of comorbidities, including diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular and lung diseases, among others, in elders increases their vulnerability to catching infections and developing ailments.
Also, these conditions and the age-induced changes within the immune system influence the effectiveness of medicines and the body’s response to vaccines. This, in turn, can have a negative impact on the pace of recovery in case one contracts Covid-19 or other infections as well.
In order to protect their health and well-being, elderly people need to follow an effective nutritional diet plan to boost their immunity. So here we’re revealing some effective ways that can help strengthen immunity and ensure healthy ageing.
Follow these 5 tips to boost immunity in seniors
1. Give then a nutritious and fibre-rich diet
Having a diet packed with certain minerals, nutrients, and fibre can help strengthen immunity in elderly. It should include fruits and vegetables that are rich in beta-carotene, iron, and even zinc to fight infections. Having a balanced amount of superfoods such as mushrooms and broccoli, or fruits and vegetables, can help boost immunity. One should also consider including berries in their diet along with foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids—beans, flax seeds, and even varied types of nuts.
Also read: This winter, strengthen your immunity with herbal tea
2. Vitamin C-rich food
Vitamin C plays a vital role in improving immunity, be it for kids, young adults, or the elderly. Increasing the intake of vitamin C-rich fruits like papaya, orange, kiwi, and guava helps strengthen immunity. Also, vegetables like eggplant, bell peppers, beetroot, spinach, and cauliflower are known to be quite rich in vitamin C and are good to boost the immune system.
Vitamin D and iron deficiency are prevalent in most elderly people, especially in women after menopause. Therefore, foods that naturally supplement these, such as leafy vegetables, are essential. If there is a deficiency of vitamin B12 or other vitamins, one can consider taking supplements for the same to quickly improve their level in the body. It is always advisable to consult a doctor and ask them for the right kind of supplement, if required. Lethargy, sleep disorders, and muscle pains are often caused by vitamin deficiencies and can be tackled with the right corrective diet.
Also read: As the threat of Omicron variants XXB, BQ.1 looms large, load up on these immunity-boosting foods
4. Plenty of water intake to stay hydrated
Nutritionists suggest that senior citizens should consume at least 8-9 glasses of water every day as it keeps their mucous membranes moist, which decreases the chances of catching colds and flu. Water helps in carrying nutrients and oxygen to the body cells, flushes bacteria from the bladder, aids in digestion, and regulates body temperature. It ultimately strengthens the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases. Apart from water, consuming coconut water, milk, homemade juices, and green tea is also beneficial.
Herbs should be an important part of the diet for the elderly. Having measured amounts of immunity-boosting herbs like garlic, ginseng, black cumin, black pepper, and liquorice in the form of tea or food can help boost immunity.
6. Ensure a healthy lifestyle
Apart from taking a proper nutritional diet, one should adopt some healthy habits that will help boost immunity. For instance, dedicate some time to exercise or yoga, which helps improve oxygen flow in the cells of the body, resulting in a boost in immunity. Besides this, ensure adequate sleep of around 7-8 hours, as it is crucial for immunity. Quality sleep leads to the sufficient release of cytokines, a protein that plays a major role in fighting infections and inflammation. Alcohol and tobacco consumption should be avoided or minimized.
The secret to a strong immune system lies in adopting simple healthy eating habits, following a daily exercise regimen, allowing the body to get adequate rest, and, of course, always staying positive! So, make sure you’re following all the above-mentioned advice.