While eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is important at any age, it’s especially crucial for seniors. If you are a caregiver for a senior loved one, helping them eat a proper diet ensures they have the energy and nutrients to maintain a strong immune system. Below are several foods to incorporate into their meals to help them fight common illnesses.
What Foods Can Benefit a Senior’s Immune System?
1. Leafy Greens
This is a broad group of vegetables that includes kale, spinach, rhubarb, and cabbage. These items are some of the best to eat for improved immune health, as they contain plenty of vitamins C and A. Vitamin C helps the body produce more white blood cells, which are the body’s first defense against disease-causing bacteria and viruses. As for vitamin A, this nutrient has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps soothe your body as it fights diseases. It also regulates the immune response of cells, which means they are more effective when trying to combat bacteria.
While leafy greens provide some vitamin C, one of the easiest and tastiest ways to get plenty of this nutrient is by consuming citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and limes. While you can drink juices made from these fruits, opt for varieties that don’t have added sugar. Citrus fruits are also high in fiber, which aids in digestion and contributes to reduced inflammation in the body.
Even though many people love chicken because it is delicious and versatile, this protein also has immune-boosting properties. Chicken contains bitamin B6, a nutrient that increases red blood cell production. These cells scan the body for infection and alert the immune system of danger. As a caregiver, making chicken noodle soup or chicken salad sandwiches are easy, affordable options for both lunch and dinner. Avoid fried chicken, as the oil used can increase cholesterol levels.