How To Keep a Healthy Immune System This Summer

Sunrise Senior Living  |  July 25, 2016
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Keep your immune system healthy this summer with these tips. 

Summer is all about spending time outside. However, a mild cold could instantly squash your ability to get out there and enjoy the nice weather. That's why it's so important to make sure your immune system is in top shape this season. By leading a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of experiencing a germ invasion that could ultimately result in the flu, cold or other condition that leaves you stranded inside all summer.

Don't worry - there are plenty of ways to keep your body in top shape! Here are a few lifestyle choices you should make to boost your immune system throughout the warmer months:

Break the bad habits
If you smoke tobacco or drink alcohol often, it's in your best interest to break these habits. According to Everyday Health, tobacco defeats basic immune system defenses and also raises risk for bronchitis and pneumonia. Drinking alcohol in excess also damages the immune system, and can increase susceptibility to lung infections. Smoking tobacco attributes to a number of other health risks, so consider dropping the habit all together. As for alcohol, you can consume it in moderation. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that men can have up to two drinks per day and women can have one per day.

Exercise regularly
By exercising on a normal basis, you can flush the bacteria out of your lungs and airways, promote good blood circulation and slow down the release of stress-related hormones – all which contribute to a healthy immune system, according to Medline Plus. It is recommended that older adults get at least 150 minutes of moderately-intense aerobic activity per week with two days dedicated to muscle-strengthening activities. Consider spending more time at the gym, or just grab a friend and go on a walk! This is a great way to soak up the sun and get in your exercise for the day.

Eat a well-balanced diet
By eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, you can fuel your immune system with the nutrients it needs to succeed. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increased fruit and vegetables intake can lead to reduced risk for chronic disease and also improves the Pneumovax II vaccination antibody response in older adults, which ultimately links to an improved immune system. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested that women aged 51 and older eat 3 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables each day and men aged 51 and older eat 4 1/2 cups.

Get enough sleep
Did you know that your sleeping patterns contribute to a stable immune system? According to a study conducted by Eramus MC University Medical Centre, granulocyte levels and diurnal rhythmicity are affected by lack of sleep, which can put stress on the immune system. It is suggested that older adults are getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night, so do your best to hit those numbers.

Be conscious about infection
If you want to keep your immune system in its best shape, Harvard Health Publications said to take precautionary steps to avoid infected. That means washing your hands frequently throughout the day –especially after using the restroom – and cooking raw meats thoroughly. Always remember to wash fruits and vegetables before eating them and never consume anything past its expiration date. These are simple steps that can help you strengthen your immune system and keep your body healthy throughout the summertime.

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