The holidays are fast approaching, and there is a whirlwind of activities, to-do lists, and travel. With so much going on, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement. At the same time, cold and flu season is already upon us, and the stress of the holidays don’t do our immune systems any favors. Before getting too caught up in all the the fun that comes this time of year, it’s important for seniors to get proactive with their health. Helping your system with a diet filled with immune boosting foods is a great way to start. Here are eight foods the get you through the holiday season.
Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are high in Vitamin C, and offer an all-natural boost to the immune system. Foods high in Vitamin C not only protect against the common cold and other seasonal illness, but can lessen the duration and intensity of sickness as well. There is no wrong time to eat some citrus
When preventing the cold and flu, ginger and its anti-inflammatory properties have no match. When inflammation is down, the immune system is able to function more effectively. Ginger has many well-documented uses, and can help intestinal and heart health as well. A cup of ginger tea in the mornings during the holidays can go a long way in improving senior health.
If your cup of ginger tea is too spicy, then adding some raw honey might help it go down easier, and provide even more health benefits. Honey soothes sore throats and works as an antibacterial, killing germs while boosting the immune system.
Berries, particularly blueberries, are full of antioxidants, which fight colds and support immune health. In addition to these antioxidants, blueberries contain healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which protect cognitive functions and can help improve overall brain health in aging seniors.
Like blueberries, salmon has healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, and is another component in brain health. In addition, salmon and other wild fish contain zinc, an important nutrient in reducing the spread of the common cold. While most effective in children, zinc can also help adults build strong immune systems and fight disease.
6. Dark Chocolate
Who doesn’t like chocolate? Dark chocolates contain theobromine, an antioxidant which can help suppress coughs during cold and flu season, along with tasting delicious. One tip for seniors? Try making some desserts with dark chocolate this holiday season.
While veggies might not be the most exciting food, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts are an important addition to your diet. Broccoli and the others can boost enzymes that help fight cold and flu germs and strengthen the overall immune system. Eating a serving of veggies with dinner is a key way to help promote good immune health.
Simple to make and easy to eat, eggs can be added into your diet in some way at almost every meal. Eggs also provide Vitamin D, a vitamin that, along with Vitamin C, boosts the immune system to fight off colds and the flu.
Along with being a versatile flavor to add to many dishes, garlic provides immune boosting compounds. Garlic is an easy addition to work into more foods to add that extra benefit to health. In addition to immune health, garlic can also lower blood pressure, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
It’s not just the eggs that are good for you! Chicken and other poultry can battle cold symptoms as well as providing the immune boost to help stop you from getting sick in the first place. Simple chicken dishes, chicken soup, or even chicken stock can add useful vitamins and nutrients to a senior diet. And like other foods on this list, chicken provides other benefits as well. Chicken is high in iron, and provides more heart healthy help.Boosting immune health is key to preventing illness. From the upcoming cold and flu season, to more serious sickness, a healthy immune system is the first way to protect yourself. Adding these foods and others like them to your daily diet will help you eat well, appreciate life, and enjoy this holiday season to the fullest.