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Natural Ways to Boost the Immune System

A healthy immune system is the body’s first and most important line of defense against disease and illness, especially for people susceptible to age-related injuries and health problems.

According to Harvard Medical School, the body’s ability to successfully build and maintain immunity against disease and infection consists of a delicate and complicated system that researchers are still trying to fully understand.

As researchers and health professionals continue to study how factors like diet, environment, and lifestyle affect overall health, wellness, and the body’s ability to prevent and fight illness, they are finding that active, healthy living can contribute to preserving and even improving a senior’s quality of life and immune system.

While there are no magic pills when it comes to healthy aging, there are some natural ways to boost the immune system, increase energy levels, and remain active.

Five Natural Ways to Boost the Immune System

1. Diet

A person’s diet greatly impacts their overall well-being. A healthy diet and lifestyle, no matter the age, improves brain function.

The effort to eat a good balance of healthy foods with enough vitamins and nutrients can be stressful. Dietary restrictions and limitations can be common as people age and can make mealtime feel like a chore. Experimenting with new recipes and nourishing combinations that incorporate a mix of fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and proteins can help make meals more enjoyable while maintaining health.

In addition to eating healthy, balanced meals, it is important to drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is an integral part of supporting a healthy mind and body. Learn more about the importance of hydration here.

Click here to learn more about brain-healthy foods and related recipes.

2. Exercise

Understandably, many people tend to slow down and become more cautious as they age; they may be afraid of falling or developing injuries that can compromise their ability to move freely and continue to live independently. However, studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can pose serious health risks. The trick for seniors is to find activities that are enjoyable and appropriate for their fitness levels.

Speak to a physician to find safe and healthy exercises. Seniors can benefit from physical activities that incorporate stretching, balance, cardio, and strength training.

Some examples of exercise that can naturally boost the immune system include:

  1. Water Aerobics
  2. Chair Yoga
  3. Resistance Band Workouts
  4. Pilates
  5. Walking
  6. Body Weight Workouts

Find out more about the importance of exercise for seniors here.

3. Sleep

In addition to diet and exercise, getting enough sleep is extremely important to maintaining health. Sleeping well positively affects mental and physical health; without proper sleep, energy, productivity levels, and emotions can be in disarray.

4. Establish Healthy Coping Mechanisms for Stress and Anxiety

Physically fit and healthy people should always monitor their mental and emotional health as well. Many studies have found that immune function and health are also affected by uncontrolled stress and anxiety.

From taking a relaxing walk to calling a family member, friend, or professional during times of anxiety, seniors need to find healthy outlets to help ease stress and other mental health issues.

Discover other ways to improve senior mental health here and take a few tips from a senior living program that aims to increase joy.

5. Be a Lifelong Learner

According to Harvard Business Review, lifelong learning is a commitment to gaining new skills and acquiring knowledge at any age. Lifelong learning is not only good for overall health but social health as well. From studying a new language to playing an instrument, embracing new challenges can help offset some of the effects of age-related cognitive decline, reduce stress, and broaden one’s social circle.

Changes in health and immune function are a normal part of the aging process, but taking a proactive approach to physical, mental, and emotional health can have a significant, positive impact on seniors’ quality of life. Following these natural ways to boost the immune system can help people live the healthiest life possible.

SALMON Health and Retirement