Flu season can be treacherous for many, as the CDC predicts that anywhere from 9 million to nearly 50 million people will develop the illness during its season (October to May). However, immunity, our body’s defense system, tends to get weaker with age.
Aside from getting the flu vaccination, which we at Senior Solutions Management Group highly recommend, there are natural ways to help boost your immune system. Healthy living habits are a key to boosting your immune system, and we are here to provide you with examples of these habits that can aid you this flu season!
Eating Healthy: A Natural Boost
Having a healthy diet can help with many aspects of living. From our mental health to our immune system, finding the right diet is a simple way to boost your immune system naturally. Having a nutrient-dense and vitamin-rich diet can provide your body with the boost it needs to defend itself against illnesses.
While there is no “perfect” diet, adding foods rich with vitamins and antioxidants can help boost your immune system. For example, vitamin C has been shown to help your body produce more white blood cells, which are tasked with protecting our body from infectious disease and foreign invaders.
Get Active, Get Moving
If you are trying to learn how to boost your immune system naturally, there’s almost nothing more natural than exercise. According to WebMD, one study found that 65-year-olds who exercised regularly had a T-cell (a specific type of white blood cell) count as high as someone in their 30s.
This study is significant because T-cells are a crucial component in maintaining a healthy and adaptive immune system to combat disease and illness. To reap the benefits of exercise, you should workout at least three times a week for 30 or more minutes. Exercise can be moderate to help boost your immune system, and even activities such as walking have been shown to help reduce the risk of developing a cold or other illness.
Sleep Well, Feel Well
Sleep is another natural way to boost your immune system. Though our conscious mind may take a break while we rest, our body continuously works in overdrive to heal and release hormones that repair or rebuild cells.
Sleep deprivation doesn’t only affect our mood; it has severe effects on our body, like a lowered white blood cell count, and can have a direct impact on how long we remain sick. For older adults, sleep is especially important as it helps regulate blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues.
Sleep is a vital component to health in general, and research has shown regular sleep can even help reduce the odds of Alzheimer’s disease. You should aim to get seven and a half hours to eight and a half hours of sleep each night. To help with your sleep, create a routine, avoid electronics 30 minutes before bedtime, keep your room dark and cold, and avoid drinking beverages (water or other) an hour or so before you go to sleep.
Healthy Habits and Living
Sleeping well, eating healthy, and being active are a few ways to help boost your immune system, but there are several other ways to help. More specifically, some habits should be avoided that can damage your immune system response. One such unhealthy habit is smoking, which can cause damage to your lungs, put you at an increased risk of cancer, and can lead to an increased risk of respiratory illnesses, such as the flu.
Another great way to help boost your immune system naturally is by spending time outdoors and getting some sun. Being exposed to the sun gives us a natural boost to our immune system as we get vitamin D, another crucial vitamin that helps modulate innate and adaptive immune responses.
Socialization is another way to help boost your immune system. Though you may not know it, specific hormones emitted during social activities can help reduce levels of stress. A reduction of stress can be beneficial as prolonged states of stress can damage our immune system. The importance of relationship-building is ever-present in our lives and has many health benefits. To learn more about the value of socialization and building relationships, read one of our previous Senior Solutions blogs.
Senior Solutions Management Group encourages our residents to socialize and to garner the health benefits by hosting engaging activities at our senior living communities. Our senior living communities can be found throughout Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee and provide a simple, yet refreshing approach in this constantly developing industry. We go back to the basics at our communities and highlight the dietary, activity, health, and resident safety experiences of our residents to provide them with an exceptional, personalized experience.