As a person ages, eating a variety of foods supplied with the essential nutrients and vitamins can work like medicine. Moreover, having a balanced and vitamin-rich diet can help seniors maintain a healthy weight and stay active. Not to mention that there will be fewer health problems and, therefore, no need to spend time and money visiting doctors.
So, what does a healthy plate look like?
As the first tip for senior nutrition, a healthy diet for the elderly should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, a low-fat diary, lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
Taking care of the immune system is also important for seniors. As we age, having a strong immunity system is the best way of defense against toxic microbes. For seniors, it is crucial to provide their bodies with all the necessary ingredients that will keep the immune system strong. Regular intake of specific foods will protect the body from harmful substances, infections, and diseases.
Here is a list of essential vitamins that every senior needs to strengthen the immune system.
Best Vitamins for Immune System
Dairy products such as carrots, broccoli, melon contain a huge amounts of Vitamin A. For elders, it is necessary to consume such products on a daily basis to ensure the sufficient amount of intake of Vitamin A. Moreover, Vitamin A works on vision problems, which is a common problem among seniors and also boosts the immune system.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin A is 900 micrograms (mcg) for adult men and 700 mcg for adult women.
Vitamin D is another important element of a strong immune system. It is important for seniors to consume products that are rich in Vitamin D, as it consistently works on development of new cells. Also, it ensures the right amount of phosphate in seniors’ body which helps to keep teeth, bones and muscles healthy for a long time. Some great sources for Vitamin D are salmon, egg yolks, breakfast cereals.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin D for seniors 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70 years, and 800 IU for people over 70 years.
Vitamin C intake is strongly encouraged for seniors as it is one of the best ways to develop infection-fighting cells, especially during the cold seasons. Moreover, it stimulates the generation of new cells which can fight against diseases which you might have for a long time. Seniors, who have blood pressure or any chronic illnesses will highly benefit from the intake of Vitamin C. You can boost your Vitamin C intake from foods like pepper, oranges, broccoli, and lemon.
The recommended daily dose of Vitamin C for seniors is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is highly-required to seniors. Vitamin E is popular among adults as studies suggest that vitamin E’s antioxidant properties could help avert common age-related ills, such as heart disease, cancer, and cataracts. Foods like sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, pumpkin seeds, red bell pepper, and others are an excellent source for Vitamin E.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin E for adults is 15 milligrams a day.
Vitamin B6 and B12
This collection of these vitamins helps seniors to maintain their energy level high, stimulates appetite and strengthens immune system. In case of digestive problems these vitamins are also helpful. Good sources for Vitamin B6 and B12 are oats, bananas, fish, peanuts, cheese, some fortified breakfast cereals and other foods.
Adults (aged 19 to 64) need about 1.4mg a day (for men) and 1.2mg a day (for women) of vitamin B6 and about 1.5 micrograms a day of vitamin B12.
To keep the immune system healthy and strong iron intake is highly-recommended especially for seniors. Lots of dangerous disorders which are common among elderly such as anemia, inflammation and many can be caused because of iron deficiency. Some iron-rich foods are seafood, peas, spinach, dried fruits such as raisins and apricots, beans, etc.
Recommended intake of Iron for seniors is 10 mg per day.
Best Immune-Boosting Foods
Blueberry is the number one recommended berry by doctors and nutritionists. They are full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, Vitamin A which boost the immune system and keep the cells protected. It is proven that those who eat blueberries on a daily basis have less chance of getting a common cold or flu in comparison with those who do not.
Also, a regular intake of 150 grams of blueberries will reduce the chance of heart disease by 15%.
Spinach is full of antioxidants and is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E which keeps our body safe from infections and boosts our immune system. Only two cups of Spinach each day will ensure more than 100% of your daily needed Vitamin A and more than 30% of Vitamin C.
Broccoli is not only full of antioxidant-rich vitamins and minerals which ensure the strength of the immune system, but also contains nutrients that are necessary for a healthy diet. It is recommended to eat 2-3 servings of broccoli (or other cruciferous vegetables) per week. This is enough for your immune system and also reduces the risk of having certain types of cancer.
Protein is a crucial component in boosting immunity especially in the elderly. It increases the chances of developing new cells while repairing the old ones. It also takes care of digestive problems and keeps it healthy. Foods like lean meats, poultry, fish and seafood are great sources for protein.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, fiber, and magnesium which are guarantees of having a healthy immune system. Also, it contains high levels of Vitamin E and antioxidants. Approximately 30 grams (approximately a quarter cup) of daily intake is enough.
Carrot is a great source of Vitamin C which is responsible for building antibodies that keeps the immune system strong. Carrot is a vitamin-rich vegetable that is good for health. Beta-carotene in carrots is responsible for its orange color and is a predecessor of Vitamin A. Eating too much carrot in a day may cause carotenemia, which leads to the discoloration of the skin.
7. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain vital amounts of vitamins and minerals which help seniors fight against viruses and microbes which weakens the immune system. Eating 30 grams a day is the recommended amount of intake.
8. Green Tea
Green tea is responsible for increasing the number of “regulatory T cells” which play a key role in the proper functioning of the immune system. Drinking 2-3 cups of green tea on a daily basis is the recommended amount.
Side effects: Drinking more than the optimal amount can cause headaches, sleep problems, nervousness, diarrhea, etc.
The immune system plays a vital role in the human body. As we grow older, we tend to become more vulnerable to infections and disease, as our immune system loses its proper functioning. As an elderly, it is highly important to ensure the proper functioning of immune system as it will guarantee the prevention of infections and toxins. Having a weak immune system can also cause issues such as high stress levels, tiredness, and weakness.
These above-mentioned foods and vitamins are one of the many options for boosting the immunity system and keeping it strong. However, there are many lifestyle factors that have a negative influence on the immune system, such as lack of sleep, certain medications, high stress levels, and etc.
Although these foods’ positive influence on the immune system is scientifically proven, it is recommended to see doctors if you are experiencing any signs of a weak immune system.
Anytime Home Care, as a reliable and personalized home care agency has a wide range of services that also include meal preparation for seniors. Our professional caregivers will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle of your elderly loved one and make sure they get their daily dose of essential nutrients and vitamins. Contact our caregivers to create a personalized care plan today.