HEALTHY U: Boosting your immune system for people over 50

Healthy U

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – While age and genetics are a factor, a large part of your immune system health is determined by the choices you make from day to day. Many things you do throughout the day can impact your immune system. One of the easiest things you can do is make good choices when it comes to what you eat. That includes getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Exercise is one way to boost your immune system.

“Less fried food, less oily food, more healthy, more fresh food is good,” explained Dr. Pavithra Indramohan, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Geriatrics. “Anything processed is not good for the body because it takes time to digest it.”

If you don’t have access to fresh produce because you are isolated at home, she says frozen vegetables are a good option. Canned vegetables can be high in salt and preservatives.

But your diet is just one step. If you are hoping to fight off winter illnesses like the flu doctors say physical fitness is a good place to start.

“Seniors being active and getting out is a huge part of their physical health and mental wellbeing,” said Sarah Bolyard, Executive Director of the YMCA Kanawha Valley. The YMCA is still offering classes for seniors while taking plenty of safety precautions. “Not only does physical activity help your immune system it also helps your brain health and mental health,” she said. “So it can be an overall kind of encompassing factor in what you do.”

Fighting off stress can also strengthen your immune system. Dr. Indramohan suggests meditation as a way to relax.

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