The natural aging process can decrease the efficiency of your body’s immune system, leading to frequent illnesses such as colds or influenza. That means if you’re over the age of 65, you can be at a higher risk of getting sick.
However, you can improve senior immune system responses by following an assortment of helpful tips. Here are some of the tips that are recommended by experts to keep you healthier as you age.
1. Get Enough Sleep Each Night
No matter your age, you should continue to get enough sleep each night. Adults require seven to nine hours of sleep, but it’s essential to have high-quality sleep.
While you’re asleep, your body’s glands secrete healing hormones that replenish the immune system, especially in seniors.
Create a restful environment with a quiet bedroom that’s dark and cool. Leave the television off and think about getting heavier curtains if there’s light or noise coming from outside.
2. Get Your Immunizations
It’s crucial to protect your health with the proper immunizations, including a flu shot each year. Senior citizens should also consider getting an immunization for pneumonia and shingles because these dangerous conditions can lead to long-term illnesses.
When you schedule an appointment for these vaccines, make sure to bring along your childhood immunization record. It’s possible that you need booster shots for conditions such as tetanus, and you may have missed out on a measles shot during your childhood.
3. Avoid Tobacco Products
If you smoke cigarettes, then you should begin a smoking cessation program to stop this bad habit. The tobacco in cigarettes can destroy your body’s immune responses in addition to damaging your lungs, heart and other organs.
It’s also a good idea to stay away from secondhand smoke by avoiding public places where smoking is permitted. Chewing tobacco is also detrimental for your well-being, and it can cause problems with the gums, tongue, or other soft tissues in your mouth.
4. Consume Colorful Produce
When you consume colorful produce such as tomatoes, spinach or cherries, you are eating more antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants can protect your body’s cells and improve the senior immune system by eliminating the free radicals that develop as part of the natural aging process.
Begin your supermarket shopping trips by looking for fresh produce, and make fruits or vegetables the focus of your meals. Dietitians recommend eating up to 13 servings of vegetables and fruits each day, so you should also select these foods when you want a tasty snack.
5. Avoid Alcoholic Beverages
If you drink too much alcohol, it can have a negative impact on your body’s immune system. In addition to harming the liver, leading to major health problems, alcohol consumption can damage the digestive system’s functions.
When you drink a lot of alcohol, it can keep your stomach and intestinal tract from absorbing all of the nutrients from your foods. When your body isn’t absorbing enough minerals and vitamins, the functions of your immune system will decline.
6. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Another way to improve senior immune system responses is by reducing your stress levels. When you’re experiencing anxiety, your body’s glands secrete cortisol, and this natural chemical can damage your body when it remains at a high level for too long.
Cortisol secretions will trigger your fight-or-flight response by increasing your breathing rate and heartbeat, while at the same time, making your body’s muscles tense. Remaining in this stage of agitation is bad for your body’s immune system, and this is why people who experience stress get sick frequently.
7. Stay Social
Did you know that socializing can improve your body’s immune system? Researchers know that the individuals who socialize a few times a week have fewer illnesses. This is because associating with others can make you feel happier while reducing your stress levels.
Constant isolation is bad for your health, so you should get involved in community activities, or you can have a hobby that involves associating with others. Find ways to socialize in your city by looking for a senior citizen center where people congregate for fun.
8. Add Probiotics to Your Diet
You may not have learned about probiotics when you were in school, but this is a valuable type of nutrient. Probiotics protect your body from infections, and these substances can prevent digestive issues such as nausea, constipation, or diarrhea.
Many foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and miso soup contain probiotics to improve your body’s immune system and digestive tract. Try to eat several servings of probiotic-rich foods each week, or you can look for dietary supplements that contain probiotics.
9. Get Some Sun Each Day
With frequent exposure to sunlight, you can increase your body’s vitamin D levels to improve your immune system’s functions. One of the reasons that people are ill more often during the winter is because they are outside less due to the inclement weather. If you’re unable to get outside enough, then you can use a special UV light in your home to increase the level of vitamin D in your body.
10. Exercise Several Times a Week
Inactivity is bad for your body’s immune system, so you must have an exercise routine that includes safe activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming. In addition, you can perform gentle yoga routines, or alternatively, you can play golf.
If you’re in great shape, then you can engage in strenuous exercises such as tennis or baseball. Experts believe that you should exercise for at least 45 minutes, three times each week, but it’s okay to have a shorter exercise routine to improve the senior immune system.