December 23, 2019
Having a strong and healthy immune system is vital, especially when the temperature drops and flu season strikes. During the colder months, people tend to spend more time indoors, making it easier for viruses like the flu to spread. Likewise, a lack of sunlight in the winter can compromise our immune systems and cause our bodies to be more susceptible to illnesses.
Older adults, in particular, face a higher rate of infections due to flu-related complications. As we age, our immune systems get weaker, which increases the risk of getting sick and slows the body’s ability to heal.
Thankfully, there’s a lot you can do to stay healthy during the winter season, no matter your age. In addition to drinking water and getting plenty of rest, eating a diet filled with immune-boosting foods is a good place to start. Best of all, many foods that help the immune system also taste great!
Here’s a list of some delicious and nutritious foods that will help you fight the flu all winter long:
Vitamin C has long been known to boost the immune system and protect against the common cold. However, our bodies don’t naturally produce or store Vitamin C, so we have to get a daily dose from the food we eat. Almost every citrus fruit is high in Vitamin C, including oranges, lemons, tangerines, and grapefruit. And since most citrus is harvested in the colder months, winter is a perfect time to enjoy these colorful fruits in their peak state of freshness.
Eggs have a high amount of Vitamin D, which, combined with Vitamin C, provides immune-boosting benefits. The yolks are also packed with protein and iron to help the body maintain and build strength. Because eggs can be prepared in so many different ways, you can eat them throughout the winter without getting bored.
Did you know that blueberries have the highest antioxidant level of all fresh fruit? Specifically, they contain a powerful type of antioxidant called flavonoids, which reduce cell damage and strengthen the immune system. Not only are blueberries incredibly healthy, but they’re also delicious. Toss them in a salad, add them to a smoothie, or eat them by the handful.
Ginger is full of anti-inflammatory properties that help the immune system fend off bacteria and viruses. Consuming ginger can also help to reduce nausea, soothe an upset stomach, and lower blood sugar levels. Try adding fresh ginger to soups and stews or drink ginger tea to get the benefits of this flavorful spice.
There’s nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup when you’re feeling under the weather. As one it turns out, chicken soup is scientifically shown to help our bodies fight both cold and flu symptoms. The warm broth helps to break up congestion in your sinuses, and the salt soothes a sore throat. Chicken and vegetables in the soup also contain vitamins and nutrients that boost the immune system. For older adults who may have a decreased appetite, chicken soup offers a nutrient-dense meal when other foods aren’t as appealing.
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is important during the winter and all year round. That’s why retirement communities like Bethany Village make it easier for older adults to meet their daily nutritional goals. In a retirement community, residents enjoy delicious, chef-prepared meals each day in a vibrant dining setting surrounded by good friends.
Want to learn more about the dining experience at Bethany Village? Schedule a tour and stay for a meal in our community. We would be delighted to have you and your loved one join us for lunch or dinner.