As we get older, our body and immunity, both wither. It gets harder for the body to fight pathogens and disease. However, certain diets can help bolster immunity. Following are 9 such healthy diets to stay healthy through old age!
1. Low-carb diet
Starch, sugar, and similarly refined carbohydrates are associated with weight gain. Obesity decreases immune functionality and makes one more vulnerable to pathogens. Moreover, refined carbohydrates also increase inflammation.
Therefore, a low-carb diet is great not just for immunity, but disease prevention as well. It includes moderating the consumption of carbohydrates and instead consuming a larger quantity of healthy fats. However, do consult a nutritionist in Karachi for a good diet plan or research well before embarking on this journey as your condition might not allow for this diet.
2. Vitamin C centric diet
Vitamin C is a great immune booster. As it is water-soluble, it is not stored in the body, and therefore is oral consumption is required. This vitamin is also a great antioxidant.
Free radicals are produced in the body due to natural reactions but are combated by antioxidants. Oxidative stress occurs when there are more free radicals than antioxidants. Consequently, the cells of the body get damaged.
Moreover, oxidative stress can also trigger an inflammatory response, and lead to greater stress in the body alongside overworking the immune system. It then leads to conditions like diabetes, arthritis, and even cardiovascular disease. Hence, moderating this response in the body is vital for proper immune functioning and disease prevention.
Therefore, adults should add foods rich in Vitamin-C to their usual diet to improve their immune function and decrease oxidative stress in the body.
Foods to be consumed include citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lime, etc. Bell peppers, different berries, leafy green vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach are also excellent sources of vitamin C.
3. Mediterranean diet
The secret behind the youthfulness of the people of the Mediterranean Sea is their diet. Their diet entails eating natural foods like vegetables, legumes, fish, olive oil, nuts, whole grains, etc. Processed food, red meat, and dairy products are either not taken or eaten in minimal quantities only, and that too, occasionally.
Sugar, refined starch, ‘bad fats’ cause inflammation and therefore tax the immune system. Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, is devoid of all such pro-inflammatory foods and thus has a good impact on immune health.
Moreover, this diet also then protects against several diseases that are associated with chronic inflammation like cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc. Mediterranean diet also helps in the prevention of heart disease and stroke.
Due to an abundance of vital nutrients and antioxidants in the natural foods consumed in this diet, disease prevention is more effective. It also then promotes health and vitality, important especially for the more vulnerable older people.
4. Vitamin-D rich diet
Vitamin D is imperative for the proper functioning of the immune system, and its deficiency has been linked to an increased infection rate. It also helps in weight loss as well. Therefore, it is vital to consume a diet that contains sufficient vitamin-D.
Dietary sources include egg yolk, salmon, shrimp, etc., and adding these foods to the diet can help improve immunity.
5. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has numerous health benefits. It helps in the moderation of hormones, cellular growth and repair, and prevention of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.
Therefore, this diet is already conducive to health, but it also helps the immune functionality as well. It helps to reset the immune system, encouraging the growth of new white blood cells. It also helps to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
Another great aspect of intermittent fasting is that it can be done in numerous ways. 16/8 is one type in which you fast for 16 hours and eat in the 8 hours window. Or you can fast for 2 days of the week.
However, people with conditions like diabetes should not be doing this diet.
6. Nordic diet
The nordic diet also is about eating healthy and consuming natural foods only. Vegetables, berries, seafood make a significant portion of the diet whereas red meat is eaten occasionally.
Due to limited consumption of red meat, processed and sugar foods, diseases like diabetes, colorectal cancer, heart disease are kept at bay. Although more evidence is needed, according to preliminary findings, the Nordic diet helps in decreasing inflammation in the body, thereby enabling the functionality of the immune system.
7. Drinks that help
Not just eat well, you can also consume different beverages to supplement your diet and increase immunity. Tomato juice is an excellent concoction due to its anti-inflammatory effect.
Citrus fruit juices also are rich in antioxidants. Similarly, the kiwi and strawberry blend is rich in antioxidants and vitamin-D. Mangoes are a good source of vitamin-E which is also beneficial for the immune system.
Watermelon is not only an excellent source of vitamin C but also contains the immune booster arginine. It also helps in relieving muscular soreness, which older people often complain of in the aftermath of cold.
8. Diet with all the superfoods
Zinc, found in cashews, chickpeas, oysters are required for the production of some immune cells. Similarly, omega-3 fatty acids are important for the reduction of inflammation and moderation of the immune system. It is found in oily fish, flaxseeds, etc.
Carotenoids and vitamin A are also required to keep the immune system healthy and are found in spinach, carrots, etc. Other superfoods to be included in the diet are garlic, ginger, turmeric, almonds, sunflower seeds, etc.
9. Weight loss diet
Obesity is an antithesis of health. It is therefore vital for the older, overweight people wishing for better immunity to lose excess pounds. However, consult a nutritionist in Islamabad for a holistic diet plan, in order to not further endanger your health in the weight loss process.