8 natural ways to boost your Immune System in your golden years, By – Dr. Kanchan Sanyal, Advisor Health and Wellness, Columbia Pacific Communities

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Immune system starts to weaken with age and becomes less efficient when responding to infections. With age, one has to bring a few changes in lifestyle to build and maintain a good immunity system.

 Here are 8 strategies that the elderly can employ to give their immune systems a boost.

  1. Wash hands: Washing hands thoroughly and often helps prevent the spread of disease-causing germs. Lather hands with soap and scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing with water.
  2. Eat a healthy- balanced diet: Eating nutrient-rich food is another way to boost immune system. This includes eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which contain vitamins and antioxidants. Reduce the intake of sugar, fat, and processed foods, and choose lean meats to maintain a healthy dietary regimen
  3. Be active: Practicing physical activities such as walking, running, yoga, swimming, or any other low impact workouts regularly plays an essential part in boosting immunity. Taking up 30 minutes of physical activity everyday can be very beneficial as it increases blood circulation and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.
  4. Reduce stress level: Chronic stress affects immune system and decreases its effectiveness. Chronic stress lowers immune system response, making the body susceptible to viruses and illnesses. To reduce stress levels, engage in relaxing activities, such as reading or gardening.
  5. Get plenty of sleep: Insufficient sleep may hinder the immune system’s ability to respond to infection and inflammation. Sleep becomes increasingly important with age because it also helps improve brain function, concentration, and memory. A good 7 to 9 hours of sleep is advised to older adults for a healthy body.
  6. Avoid smoking and drinking: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption weakens the immunity system making it more difficult to fight colds, the flu, and other viruses.
  7. Stay hydrated: Adequate hydration is also key in boosting immune function. Water helps the body absorb nutrients and minerals, and flush body waste which is critical in building immunity. Aim to drink at least eight to nine glasses of fluid a day to avoid dehydration.
     
  8. Spend time outdoors: Vitamin D also helps strengthen the immune system. Spending additional time outdoors allows the body to naturally convert vitamin D from sun exposure which helps in building immunity.

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