One of the best defenses against illnesses and infections is having a strong and healthy immune system. Your immune system is the first line of defense whenever you are fighting off sickness. However, as people get older and enter their golden years, their immune system weakens. This can make it tougher to fight off and recover from illnesses. Because of this, seniors are more susceptible to dangerous infections including the coronavirus.
While this is concerning, seniors can strengthen their immune systems, giving themselves a better chance against sickness. One way they can do this is by eating immune boosting foods.
A healthy diet is important for maintaining one’s immune system health. Everyone, but especially seniors, should have a well-balanced diet that consists of numerous fruits and vegetables, proteins, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. Eating these foods will not completely protect you against coronavirus and other illnesses, but it will provide you with necessary nutrients that benefit your immune system, giving you a better chance at remaining healthy and fighting off sickness.
If you are concerned about an elderly loved one and their immune system health, especially in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, then continue reading for information on good foods for the immune system.
Vitamin A-Rich Foods
Vitamin A provides protection against infection by keeping your respiratory system, tissues, and skin healthy. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and eating just one carrot provides more than enough of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A needed.
Seniors can also get their vitamin A from other vegetables: broccoli, butternut squash, red bell peppers, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Fruit wise, cantaloupes, grapefruits, and mangoes are good sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin C-Rich Foods
Vitamin C lessens common cold symptoms and helps the immune system function better, so it is good to consume foods rich in vitamin C if you are feeling under the weather. This vitamin also stimulates antibody formation. Citrus fruits, in particular, are well known for their high vitamin C content. Strawberries, kiwis, and papayas are other fruits with high vitamin C levels.
If you want a low sugar, non-fruit option for vitamin C, then red bell peppers, broccoli, and other green vegetables are great alternatives. Broccoli also has antioxidants, so it is great for immune system health.
If you are going to eat red bell peppers, consider roasting or stir-frying them. The peppers’ nutritional content is said to be preserved better when roasted or stir-fried compared to other cooking methods.
Vitamin E-Rich Foods
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps your immune system function better. It helps by fighting free radicals off. These radicals can cause cellular damage, but vitamin E will prevent that from occurring.
Nuts and nut butters, such as almonds and almond butter, are excellent sources of vitamin E.
Protein is crucial for healing and recovery, so it is good to consume a lot of protein when you’re ill and on the mend.
To get your protein intake, you should not simply eat one protein source, though; you should consume a variety of protein sources. Some examples include beans, poultry, lean meat, eggs, and seafood, and nuts, peas, and soy products.
Zinc is essential for immune system health because of the role it plays in inflammatory response. If you do not have a sufficient amount of zinc, your immune system cannot work correctly. In such a case, your risk of illness and infection is greater. Zinc also aids in healing.
To increase your zinc intake, you can consume zinc-rich foods like beans, whole grains, poultry, lean meat, oysters, and milk.
Senior Troubles with Cooking and Meal Preparation
By consuming a variety of the aforementioned foods, your elderly loved one can get the nutrients they need to strengthen their immune system. This can, in turn, help them combat and recover from illnesses, such as the coronavirus.
However, elderly individuals can sometimes have a tough time cooking and preparing meals for themselves.
Whether it is due to limited mobility or something else, seniors may feel unsafe cooking for themselves. Some seniors might not be able to get groceries, including immune boosting foods, for themselves because they do not drive. This then may cause them to skip meals and avoid eating, so they will not get the nutrients they need. In such a case, it will be tougher for elderly individuals to strengthen their immune systems.
Senior Home Care Services
If you are concerned about an elderly loved one and their ability to care for themselves during these tough times, then consider hiring senior home care help.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, we offer senior home care services in Hinsdale, Downers Grove and surrounding areas to assist elderly individuals at their homes. Within these services, the caregiver assigned to care for your loved one can handle grocery shopping and meal preparation among other things. This will ensure that seniors have and can consume the immune boosting foods they need.
With elderly home care help from Assisting Hands, you can feel at ease knowing that your elderly loved one will be eating nutritious meals that will be filled with great foods for the immune system.