The Citizen (KZN)

Five ways to boost seniors’ immune systems

- Hein Kaiser

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), our immune systems change as we age, making us more vulnerable to diseases and infections.

As a result, the risk of significan­t repercussi­ons from colds, flu and the coronaviru­s is higher in older people.

Affinity Health gives some tips.

A nutrient-rich diet

A healthy immune system relies on a well-balanced diet and this includes vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, strawberri­es, bell peppers and broccoli), vitamin D (from sunlight and dietary sources like fatty fish, fortified dairy products and supplement­s), zinc, which is involved in immune cell developmen­t and function (lean meats, nuts, seeds and whole grains) and antioxidan­ts (from berries, spinach, and almonds) as well as fibre-rich foods and probiotics. Proper hydration is essential.


Exercise helps improve circulatio­n, reduces inflammati­on and enhances the body’s defence mechanisms. Seniors should aim for cardiovasc­ular exercise, strength training, and flexibilit­y exercises to maintain overall health and immune function.

Get adequate sleep

Aim for seven to nine hours of unbroken sleep.

Manage stress effectivel­y

Seniors should be mindful of their stress levels, as chronic stress can compromise the immune system and increase the likelihood of sickness. Strategies include relaxation techniques, deep breathing, meditation, gradual muscular relaxation and mindfulnes­s.


Vaccinatio­ns aid in preventing avoidable illnesses and infections. Seniors should check with their doctor to stay up-to-date on prescribed immunisati­ons, such as the yearly flu, pneumonia and shingles vaccines. –

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