The immune system protects you from foreign and harmful environmental hazards. These include bacteria, viruses, fungi, cancer cells, and toxins. It makes cells designed to destroy the invaders, keeping you healthy and unaware of the battle raging in your body. Maintaining a strong immune system is vital to overall health. It is particularly important to the elderly who may have a chronic condition that is causing their immune system to work overtime.
The choice of food you put into your body is one of the most important decisions you can make in regards to keeping an immune system strong and vital. While almost all fruits and vegetables are a good bet, there are some super foods that can kick up one’s immune system into overdrive.
Garlic. The immune-boosting effects of garlic are numerous. Due to allicin, its sulphur-like component, garlic has been used as a natural antibiotic. It also stimulates the production of white blood cells, a component of the immune system.
Brazil Nuts and Sunflower Seeds. Selenium is a potent antioxidant known to prevent free radical damage in the body. It is found in high concentrations in these two super foods.
Shitake, Maitaki and Reishi Mushrooms. These mushrooms have been used medicinally by the Chinese for over 6,000 years. They are rich in B vitamins as well as selenium and zinc, nutrients that are vital to a strong immune system.
What you leave out of your body can sometimes be as important as what you put in. If you or your loved one smoke—quit. This, and alcohol in access, are two of the hardest hitting immune destroyers that you can find. Limit prepared and packaged foods that are usually filled with partially hydrogenated oils and an over-abundance of salt.
Your immune system operates at its peak when it has a good supply of blood and oxygen provided by exercise. Even a walk around the neighborhood can get the heart pumping and the lymphatic system, a part of the immune system, moving. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week.
Stress wreaks havoc on the immune system. It produces cortisol, a hormone that overtime, weakens the immune system. If you find your loved one preoccupied with worries or concerns, help them refocus. This can be accomplished by taking mindful walks in which you focus on your breath or the scenery. Taking time out to enjoy a tasty meal together or a good movie are also good stress reducers.
Home Care Provider
An elder home care provider can not only assist with the daily activities of living, they can accompany your loved one on mindful walks, prepare immune-boosting meals, and provide the companionship so essential to a healthy life well-lived.