Especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all been inundated with the advice to practice social distancing and maintain proper hygiene. However, it’s also critical to boost the immune system; after all, a robust immune system can be more effective at fighting off viruses, bacteria and illness. Here’s why…
Your body acts as a host for viruses at all times, and if you’re not strong enough to combat a given infection, the cells mutate and can aggressively cause you to become very ill. One way to either ward off infections completely or fight them proficiently is through a bolstered immune system. This is especially important for seniors, who may be more susceptible to infections and communicable illness.
So let’s explore five (5) ways to boost immunity by focusing on certain lifestyle factors that are relatively easy to control. Take these into consideration and it’s possible to make minor lifestyle changes that can give your immune system a major boost.
Emphasize Nutrition and Dietary Supplements
A diet that’s high in antioxidants is critical for immunity. Foods like fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate, olive and coconut oils, avocado, legumes, garlic, onions, cold water fish, bone broth and eggs all contain vital nutrients that can keep you healthy throughout the year.
Vitamin C, Green tea, curcumin, ginger and garlic all have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in both supplement and food form. Glutathione is also a great supplement to boost immunity. Glutathione is one of the most potent antioxidants and tends to be most useful for detoxifying and healing the body.
Due to the modern lifestyle and poor dietary choices, the average person has a reduced amount of “good bacteria” in their gut. Good bacteria is critical for overall health. As such, it’s recommended to either consider taking a probiotic supplement or eat more fermented foods which can support your health. Those may include probiotic yogurt, cheeses, and foods like kombucha, miso, kimchi and others that are suddenly all the rage.
All of these considerations and many more factor into the meal and menu creations at upscale communities like Aston Gardens At Tampa Bay, where Chef and his culinary team turn out healthy (and delicious) meals all day, every day. From regionally inspired dishes to international specialties, and of course, old-fashioned comfort favorites, residents enjoy a diverse menu that satisfies the palette while also satiating both mind and body.
Getting the appropriate amount of rest is critical for both your brain and body, as it promotes well-being and regenerative functioning. Sleep can bolster the immune system, but if you’re having trouble breathing while sleeping, the lack of oxygen can also lead to impaired immune function and many other issues, such as heart disease, pulmonary disorders and cognitive issues. So if you tend to have trouble sleeping, seeking help to promote more restorative rest would be a worthwhile endeavor.
Here are some additional insights and tips for getting quality rest—the kind that will offer maximum benefit to the immune system:
• Get into a routine: Going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day can help train your body to go to sleep “on time”
• Avoid making the bed a couch: By reserving the bedroom for only sleep—and romance—the body becomes better conditioned to sleep when there
• Avoid electronics and caffeine before bed: Try reading for 15 minutes instead
• Exercise early in the day, not late: Exercise releases endorphins that make it harder to rest and fall asleep
• Invest in a good mattress: Look for one that fits your personal preferences and sleep habits…and replace it every 8-10 years
• Maintain a comfortable room temperature: Generally, cooler conditions are better for more restorative sleep
• Don’t stay in bed: If having trouble falling asleep, get up for a while and try again rather than stewing about it in bed
• Talk to a professional about sleeping pills: Work with your doctor to address any lingering medical issues and explore sleeping pills as a potential remedy for sleep troubles
Any exercise that you can fit into your daily routine is beneficial. Regular exercise improves immune function and is thought to reduce respiratory disorders as well. For the immune system and many other vital functions of the body, it’s beneficial to take a brisk walk, exercise in a chair, get physical therapy, enjoy pool exercises or generally do whatever your level of fitness will safely allow you to do.
At Aston Gardens, various exercise options are available to suit residents of all fitness and experience levels. From the onsite fitness center to daily classes, which run the gamut from water aerobics to chair yoga and beyond, it’s easy to fit exercise into your daily routine.
Plus, as part of Aston Gardens’ exclusive Dimensions wellness program, trained team members are always available to assist with everything from fitness equipment training and plan creation, to monitoring progress and promptly addressing any health- and fitness-related questions or concerns.
Relax and Unwind
Finding ways to limit or reduce stress is equally as important as all of the other tips mentioned above. If you let anxiety take over, you will inevitably have more inflammation and less immunity, and your overall health will suffer.
Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies and brains, and here again is another benefit of maintenance-free living at Aston Gardens. Here, with no housekeeping, meal preparation or other chores to worry about, there’s more time for leisure and relaxation, and that can only help your state of mind and well-being. Plus, with plenty of recreational options, from tai chi to Wii bowling, and arts and crafts, movies and live music and entertainment, the variety of ways to relax and blow off steam are limited only by the bounds of your own imagination.
The Healing Powers of Socialization
Isolation and loneliness are seriously detrimental to seniors’ mental and physical health. The fact is we’re all social creatures, and that’s why, amidst the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Aston Gardens has been using digital technology and applications offering video chatting capabilities to bring resident seniors and their families that much closer, even as COVID-19 keeps us all apart.
By facilitating video chats for residents on their personal devices, or doing so using the community’s own tablets, residents and families have been staying connected through frequent (virtual) interaction. “We’ve been using applications including FaceTime, Skype, and Facebook Messenger video calls to enable residents to stay in touch with their loved ones,” said Director of Celebrations Gail Pettway-King, who oversees the program. “Our ‘Assisted Video Chatting Sessions’ bring a layer of excitement and anticipation to our residents’ days and have proven uplifting and beneficial for their state of mind in these challenging times.”
King explained how residents love the opportunity to see and speak with family—especially grandchildren—while families appreciate the firsthand ability to ensure their loved ones’ safety and well-being on a regular basis, just like they did before COVID-19. She said it’s a central part of the community’s more comprehensive efforts to support residents’ all-around health and happiness in what are new and unprecedented circumstances.
Indeed, times may change, and for seniors especially, regular human interaction is a critical line of defense against the adverse effects of isolation and loneliness. Especially right now, all of us should be taking steps to protect our physical and mental health, and for Aston Gardens’ resident seniors, maintaining regular contact and socialization has probably never been more important than it is today.
To stay healthy and boost your immune system, incorporate some of the tips above and to find out more about Aston Gardens please visit their website at AstonGardens.com, or call 813-448-3160.