In these uncertain times, it is very important to keep your immune system at full strength. We should all eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, ideally rich in certain foods.
There appears to be a definite connection between nutrition and immunity in the elderly. A form of malnutrition that is surprisingly common even in affluent countries is known as “micronutrient malnutrition.” Micronutrient malnutrition, in which a person is deficient in some essential vitamins and trace minerals that could, in theory, be obtained from or supplemented by diet, can happen in the elderly. Older people tend to eat less and often have less variety in their diets. One important question is whether food supplements and vitamins may help older people maintain a healthier immune system.
A reduction in immune response to infections has been demonstrated by many older people’s response to vaccines. For example, studies of influenza vaccines have shown that for people over age 65, the vaccine is less effective compared to those given to healthy children. But despite the reduction in efficacy, vaccinations for influenza and S. pneumoniae have significantly lowered the rates of sickness and death in older people when compared with no vaccination. This is probably the reason that taking supplements is so popular in people aged 55 and over. The following vitamins are proven to be essential for the health of our immune system.
Vitamin C is one of the best immune system boosters available. A lack of vitamin C can make us more prone to getting ill. Foods rich in vitamin C include spinach, kale, broccoli, oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries and sweet peppers. A daily intake of sufficient vitamin C is essential for our good health because our bodies cannot produce or store vitamin C. If we eat a healthy diet rich in these foods we should not, in theory, require a supplementary source of Vitamin C. Sadly, in reality, most of us lead busy lives and it is not always possible to buy and prepare foods that are high in vitamin C. Luckily, vitamin C supplements are available, either as pure vitamin C or as part of a multivitamin complex that provides a range of vital vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin B6 is very important in supporting major biochemical reactions in our immune system. Foods containing sufficient amounts of vitamin B6 include chickpeas, green vegetables, oily fish such as tuna and salmon and chicken. Getting enough vitamin B6 is often difficult and people can find it difficult to source and cook a wide range of healthy foods. Even if we know what we should be eating, our busy lives sometimes gets in the way as we grab food on the go or order a takeaway. A vitamin B6 supplement may be the way forward, either as pure vitamin B6 or more often, as part of a cocktail of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals in a good quality multivitamin supplement.
Vitamin E is a very powerful antioxidant that is essential when our body needs to be able to fight of infection. Seeds, nuts and spinach all include vitamin E although not everyone enjoys either. People who are allergic or sensitive to nut should take a vitamin E supplement in an easily available form or a part of a health immune-boosting regime.
See the range of top quality vitamins available
If you are taking any medications you should always consult your doctor before taking any vitamins or supplements.