As you get older, your immune system doesn’t work as effectively as it used to. This is why seniors are more prone to getting illnesses and infections such as pneumonia. You may find that vaccinations, such as the common flu vaccine don’t work as well as they should, or don’t last for as long. Your immune system also becomes less effective at identifying defective cells, meaning that there is an increased risk of more serious diseases like cancer. For aging seniors, this is why it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle in order to boost your immune system naturally, helping you fight off infections, viruses, and harmful bacteria.
Add probiotics to your diet
Research has found that several compounds in probiotics help to mediate immunoregulatory effects, in particular the mucosal and systemic immune cells. Probiotics can help to treat many immune-response related diseases including viral infections, allergies and eczema. It is easy to introduce probiotics into your body through diet and effectively improve your immune system. Yogurt, cottage cheese, and lassi are great natural sources of probiotics – you can include them in your breakfast and start the day with a boost. Fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, tofu and kombucha are also rich in probiotics.
Address your stress
If you are dealing with stress, then your immune system will struggle – it’s natural ability to fight antigens is greatly reduced, meaning that you are more susceptible to become unwell. Corticosteroid, the stress hormone, lowers the number of lymphocytes the immune system produces, making you more prone to infection and disease. If you are under stress for any reason, then it is critical to address this as soon as possible. Try and find time for self-care and timetable light exercise into your daily routine. You can also turn to pilates, yoga, meditation and mindfulness to help reduce your stress levels.
Develop a healthy sleep routine
Whilst you are asleep your immune system is hard at work producing cytokines. These protective cytokines are needed to fight inflammation and infections. When you don’t get enough sleep your body also can’t produce enough fighting antibodies to keep you fit and healthy. As you get older, it is important to develop a good sleep routine.
Every morning set your alarm for the same time, even on weekends. Don’t be tempted to sleep in or stay up late if you can help it. Most seniors need 7-8 hours sleep a night. Try not to nap during the day and if you do, 20 minutes is the maximum amount of time you should sleep for, or it may affect the quality of the sleep that you get at night. Before you go to bed at night make sure that you spend some time winding down – this is the ideal time for relaxation exercises.
You don’t need to take medication in order to give your immune system a natural boost. Have a good diet, get plenty of sleep and make sure you address any issues that are causing you stress.