It’s cold and flu season. The elderly have a slower immune system than younger adults. It’s part of the aging process. Immune cells aren’t as plentiful, so when a virus sets in, it takes longer to bounce back. Keeping the immune system as strong as possible is important. Diet and exercise help.
Here are some of the foods that can help boost a senior citizen’s immune system against the common cold.
Almonds and Vitamin E
The Journal of the American College of Nutrition took a close look at a study involving senior males who smoked. The study lasted almost five years and showed that men who took a vitamin E supplement each day had a lower risk of getting a cold. Another study performed in Finland found that vitamin E reduced the rates of pneumonia in smokers over the age of 50 by 69 percent.
While a vitamin E supplement may appeal more to an aging adult, a handful of almonds is rich in vitamin E. Almonds a quick, healthy snack that may help boost the immune system and prevent or keep colds from worsening.
Teas are rich in antioxidants that help with immune response. While black tea is fine, green tea is better. It’s rich in EGCG, which has antibiotic properties. The British Journal of Pharmacology found that EGCG helped lower bacteria counts and aided in keeping certain viruses from entering the bloodstream.
Fresh vegetables are a good way to boost the immune system. Look specifically for things like chili peppers that have capsaicin, red peppers and tomatoes that are rich in vitamin C, and broccoli that’s high in antioxidants.
Oranges and Other Citrus Fruits
Oranges and other citrus fruits offer high counts of vitamin C. It’s believed that vitamin C helps with white cell production, which helps with immunity. A glass of fresh squeezed orange juice is tasty and beneficial, but lemon or lime juice added to a glass of water or a half a grapefruit for breakfast are equally helpful.
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in keeping a sore throat from worsening. Ginger root is easily added to a stir-fry, but it can also be made into a tasty hot beverage with a little honey and lemon to round it out.
While preventative care is great, sometimes a home care services professional is equally helpful. If your parents don’t drive, a caregiver can. If they don’t like to cook or shop for healthy ingredients, a caregiver can do that too. If they do get a cold, caregivers can help with household chores so that they can rest. Talk to our home care services agency today to discover the full range of services.