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COVID-19: Foods To Boost Immunity In Older Adults

When you age, the taste buds on your tongue start to lose its utility - one of the main reasons why older adults tend to get fussy about the food they eat. After the age of 65, the immune system in your body gets weaker, making one prone to several health problems.

A well-functioning immune system help removes foreign bodies and malignant cells from the system and helps regulate the immune responses against external harmless triggers such as food, or the bodies' tissue.

For seniors, boosting the immune system comprises of a good and well-balanced diet that has herbs and spices rich in certain vitamins and minerals, which in turn can help build a strong and capable defence mechanism against infections and illnesses [1].

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, health experts have pointed out that, while it is crucial to mention hygiene standards like washing your hands frequently - it is equally important to improve your immunity and with older people belonging to the risk group of contracting the coronavirus, it is essential that one consumes foods that can help improve their immunity [2][3].

In this article, we will look at some of the healthy foods that can help boost immunity in older adults or people over the age of 65.


1. Brown Rice

Brown rice contains many vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds, which when consumed in controlled portions can help support immune system function [4]. In addition to that, brown rice is rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals that cause damage to the immune system and overall health [5].


2. Sweet Potato

Rich in beta carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants that can benefit an older adult's immune system [6]. Also, this sweet vegetable is rich in good carbohydrates which are good for older adults to consume at least once a week.


3. Spinach

Rich in vitamin C, and packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, spinach is a good addition to the diet [7]. Spinach is rich in vitamin K as well, which makes the leafy vegetable a must add in an immunity-boosting diet for older adults.


4. Eggs

Rich in proteins and vitamins which can help boost the immune system, eggs are defined as storehouses of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for improving an older adult's immune system [8].


5. Yoghurt

Eating yoghurt can help strengthen the intestinal tract, which will help to prevent gastrointestinal illnesses [9]. Yoghurt is full of probiotics (good bacteria) that help destroy the bad bacteria in the stomach and is a great immune booster for older adults [10].


6. Herbs & Spices

Consuming herbs and spices such as turmeric and ginger can help your body combat infection and illness in older adults [11]. These can also help repair damaged cells and strengthen one's ability to function well [12]. In addition to this, cinnamon and oregano are healthy additions that can boost the immune system function.


7. Lean Protein

Foods such as skinless chicken, lean cuts of beef, oysters, salmon and soy are healthy additions that can help boost brain function and promotes cardiovascular wellness. Being rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, lean protein like salmon can improve the immune system and help protect the body against various illnesses [13].


8. Water

It is essential for older adults to drink at least eight glasses of water per day to keep the mucous membranes moist and lower the chance of flu or colds [14]. Keeping oneself hydrated can help the immune system function.

In addition to these, incorporating berries, apples, leafy lettuce, bell peppers, almonds and beetroots into the diet can help improve the immune system and its function.


On A Final Note…

The aforementioned immunity-boosting foods will help to keep your heart active, your brain in circulation and most importantly, help in the improvement of the overall health of your body. Following a well-balanced diet, along with good exercise and a healthy sleeping schedule can help reduce the risk of colds and can lessen damage from or slow the progression of respiratory infections, rheumatoid arthritis and vision-related conditions in older people.

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