6 Foods That Boost a Senior’s Immune System Health

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6 Foods That Boost Immunity in Aging Adults in Portland, ME

The immune system is responsible for protecting the body from foreign viruses, bacteria, and toxins. As your senior loved one ages, the ability of his or her immune system to protect the body against foreign invaders may begin to decrease due to medical conditions, medications, and the natural effects of aging. Consider adding the following healthy foods to your loved one’s diet to boost his or her immune system.

1. Garlic

Garlic is a great way to flavor your loved one’s favorite foods, and it may also help him or her stay healthy during the flu season. A study published in the 2014 edition of Advances in Therapy found that seniors who took a garlic supplement had a much greater reduction in cold and flu symptoms compared to those who took a placebo. Researchers discovered that garlic contains an active compound called alliin. When alliin is crushed, it becomes allicin, which boosts the immune system by stimulating the immune cells.

Older adults who need help preparing nutritious meals should consider professional in-home care. In Portland, home care providers can benefit aging adults in a variety of ways. From cooking nutritious meals to offering timely medication reminders, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Assistance are available to help your elderly loved one 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Citrus Fruits

Encourage your loved one to start the day off with a glass of orange juice or a whole grapefruit to boost immune health. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which helps the immune system function properly. Inadequate vitamin C intake is among the many reasons immune function decreases with age. A 2014 study published in Nutrients found that consuming foods and supplements with vitamin C reduced the risk of contracting the common cold.

3. Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes, when cooked and eaten with their skin, have a high number of vitamins, including almost half of the daily recommended value of vitamin B6. A baked potato contains .61 milligrams of vitamin B6. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that seniors over 50 years of age consume 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 per day. Vitamin B6 is responsible for approximately 200 biochemical reactions in the human body, including the immune system. 

4. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are high in the trace element zinc, which helps the immune system function properly. Many seniors are deficient in zinc. A 2009 study published in Immunity and Ageing found that seniors who supplemented their diet with zinc had better immune function as well as cognitive function.

Preparing nutritious meals for a loved one can be a challenging task, especially if you have other important tasks to tend to. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior loved one in Portland, respite care is available when you need time away from your important caregiving duties. At Home Care Assistance, our respite caregivers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help your loved one manage everyday tasks in the comfort of home while you have the chance to take a much-needed break.

5. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe contains a healthy serving of vitamins A and C. Vitamin A derived from plants is known as beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that helps the immune system cells correctly identify harmful bacteria.

6. Almonds

Almonds contain healthy fats, protein, and a high amount of vitamin E. Just one-fourth of a cup of almonds contains 41 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin E. The vitamin boosts the immune system, and it is necessary for healthy eyes and skin.

A weak immune system can put older adults at risk for several health issues. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Portland families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. To create a comprehensive in-home care plan for your elderly loved one, give us a call at (207) 835-4849 today.