The body’s first line of defense against viruses and infections is our immune system.  Weak immune systems make us vulnerable to a higher risk of developing flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. Unfortunately, 50-70% of flu related hospitalizations occur in adults 65 and older.  Following the tips below will help boost your immune system and support a healthy lifestyle:

  • Keep vaccinations up to date help to protect you against illnesses
  • Follow a balanced, nutrient-rich diet is one of the best ways to maintain a strong immune system. That means eating lots of fruits and vegetables and a good source of protein at each meal. Consider taking a multivitamin to close the gaps in vitamins and minerals lacking in your diet.
  • Prioritize sleep to give your body a chance to repair itself. Lack of sleep can also leave you feeling foggy and sluggish. Consistency is key to maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day promotes a healthy sleep schedule.
  • Reduce stress through healthy and fun activities. Meditation, yoga and listening to quiet music can all help reduce stress.
  • Exercise regularly such as walking, yoga, swimming, biking to reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol and thus reduce your risk of developing chronic conditions like high blood pressure.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking the recommended eight, 8-oz glasses of water a day. Hydration helps to keep mucous membranes moist. This helps to prevent viruses and bacteria from entering the body.
  • Washing your hands is one of your best defenses against germs.

For seniors, maintaining a healthy immune system is crucial for overall health. Following these tips can lower your risk of developing serious complications from common viruses and infections.

By Peter Yurek, BSc.Phm.