Our immune systems naturally start to decline with age. That’s just a natural part of aging but there are things that can be done to give it a boost. Our immune systems are strongest between the ages of 10 and 50 so after the age of 50 is when we need to take active steps to strengthen our immunity. From simple changes to our schedules, a few extra vitamins, and being conscious when we fall ill during the change of seasons, these are all simple approaches to strengthening our bodies and giving them the necessary shields they need to help protect our systems in everyday life. While there are multiple things that can help to give our levels of immunity an upward kick, there are just as many things that can compromise them.
Let’s talk about what seniors in Florida should start to eliminate from their day-to-day lives to better protect themselves and the top ways to approach building and maintaining a healthy immune system.
What Puts Our Immune Systems at Risk?
Constant smoking and alcohol usage can weaken your immune system. Additionally, your nutrition plays a large part as well. As we age, our cellular functioning can become unbalanced and this is what causes our immune health to fluctuate. The best way to combat this issue is to stay physically active, eliminate over usage of alcoholic beverages, and quit smoking if you are a smoker while also redesigning your diet.
Sleep doesn’t just improve our mood or make us feel well-rested. When we fall asleep there is a certain protein that we produce that specifically targets inflammation and signs of infection and this is what forms an immune response. Basically, when we get good sleep we are enhancing our T-cells which is a fancy way of saying that we create a form of enhancement for fighting off pathogens. Seniors should be focused on getting a good night’s sleep and making up for missed sleep with naps when needed.
Becoming More Physically Fit
Let’s keep in mind that our white blood cells are what help us to fight off infections and exercise helps to improve white blood cell circulation. This means that seniors in Florida should be taking advantage of different activities like cycling, swimming, water aerobics, and yoga. Regular exercise can also help to improve the quality of the sleep that we get and as we know. Adequate sleep is a natural way to boost our immune systems so when we implement this change to our lifestyle, we get the benefit of another as well. Basically, the more we exercise, the more we are promoting the actual movement of our immune systems.
Making Use of Different Recipes
When you get sick, have you thought about making recipes that specifically contain immune-fighting ingredients? For example, don’t just opt-in for canned chicken noodle soup. Try visiting and supporting your local farmers market and get fresh ingredients that create an immune-boosting bowl of soup like fresh ginger lemons, dill, and carrots.
Another idea is trying something new like tomato apple jam. It might sound odd but Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Center features this recipe to help boost immunity. With a bit of yellow onion, allspice, tomatoes, and apples, you’re off to a good start with a healthy serving of tomato apple jam. As a senior, you can create your own recipes that give you the results you’re hoping to achieve by adding other immunity-enhancing ingredients.
Making Vitamins Our Best Friends
Let’s be clear, there is a common myth about vitamin C that people often believe and that’s that vitamin C prevents illness. This vitamin does not actually prevent illness in any way but it does help to shorten the time that you’re sick and help to rid you of symptoms much quicker than if you weren’t making use of vitamin C at all. If you aren’t taking supplements, you can get a natural dose of this vitamin from produce you might have in your home or at the closest Florida market. Some delicious options are berries, bell peppers, and broccoli. You can’t forget the citrus fruits and different types of melons as well.
Also, you’re going to want to ensure that you start taking zinc as it’s a key nutrient in boosting immune health. The same goes for Vitamin D which you can get healthy doses of from eggs or milk and don’t forget about your probiotics. There are yogurt options that make it easy to have a source of probiotics and if you’re a fan of fermented treats like kimchi, you’re in luck as they promote bacteria-fighting probiotics as well.
How to Recognize a Strong Immune System
Recognizing a strong immune system isn’t hard to do and it’s not hard to feel either. If you are a senior in Florida, pay attention to your diet, your gut health, and what your water intake is like. Keep in mind that temperatures in Florida are often warmer than other places year round so you should already be in the good practice of drinking around 8 8-ounce glasses of water per day either way. Water intake is interesting as it doesn’t only keep you hydrated.
It’s actually a key feature of our lymphatic fluid. What happens when we drink water is that it allows for better circulation of our lymphatic fluid which contains white blood cells. Our white blood cells are what help to aid our bodies in fighting off pesky infections. The fluid essentially removes toxins from our bodies and considering that this is a time when bacteria and viruses are spread more often, it’s important to recognize that it helps to fight off these things as well.
Additionally, seniors in Florida may be quite accustomed to eating Florida oranges which if you didn’t know are great for your gut health. To tell if you have a strong immune system, you can also pay close attention to how long it takes you to recover from the flu or the common cold and while it may not seem important, your mood plays a part in this as well so make sure that you are able to enjoy a laugh often.
Changing Our Habits and Improving Quality of Life in Seniors
Simple lifestyle changes can improve the lives of not just seniors but any age group. The thing is though, after the age of 50, our immune systems may start to become a bit sluggish. This is why it’s important to ensure that we are altering our diet, our exercise and sleep schedules, and even our social lives to better form a natural defense against harmful bacteria and viruses as we age.
If you’re a senior in Florida, take advantage of local markets to start buying healthier foods, take advantage of Florida weather and get outside, and start tapping into the natural healing properties that the famous Florida orange has to offer.