Our body’s natural defense system, the immune system, helps keep us healthy by fighting off bacteria, viruses and a variety of destructive cells. These seven tips will help strengthen our immune system and enhance our health — at any age.
- Eating fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest ways to boost our immune system. Fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients, carotenoids and flavonoids, along with vitamins and antioxidants. These compounds increase the production of white blood cells, the cells which fight infection, destroy unhealthy cells, and protect healthy cells.
- A good night’s sleep is fundamental to maintaining proper health. Numerous studies have shown that sleep deprivation is directly linked to greater risk of numerous illnesses and diseases. These range from relatively minor problems, like the common cold; to relatively major problems, like cardiovascular disease; to extremely serious diseases, like cancer.
- Exercise is also directly tied to better health. It increases the production of infection-fighting cells; allows us to maintain better muscle tone, which helps prevent injury; and is known to be an effective antidepressant.
- It is important to get a flu shot each year. For those people at risk of complication due to the flu, including the elderly, infants, and people within weakened immune systems, this is especially important.
As we age the body’s production of T-cells decreases. T-cells are the so-called “killer” cells that destroy infections. As our ability to produce T-cells decreases, our ability to fight disease and infection decreases as well. Vaccines, such as the flu shot, can decrease the risk we face from a weakened immune system.
- Most colds and viruses enter the body via the eyes, nose, or mouth. Consequently, it is important to avoid touching these parts of our body after being around other people. It is also recommended to wash our hands frequently with antibacterial soap.
- Maintaining proper body weight is another fundamental aspect of maintaining good health. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even certain cancers are all linked with obesity.
In many cases, people are overweight because they eat foods with low nutritional content. Since our bodies use the food we eat to create compounds that protect our health, eating poor-quality foods hampers our body’s ability to create the compounds required to fight infection and disease.
People who are overweight are often less likely to exercise, and being physically active is important for mind and body.
- Cigarettes contribute to the weakening of our immune system, and it is important to remember that even secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack, or help turn a simple cold into bronchitis. If someone is smoking near you or to ask them to stop. Needless to say, if you smoke, the biggest boost you can give your immune system — as well as your overall health — to stop smoking.
Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
The fact that we see nearly all our clients daily allows us to keep an eye on how they are doing in all seven of the areas noted above, and to help them as necessary. Moreover, our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.
Our services include primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory/X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.