With COVID-19 still surging throughout much of the world, it’s vital now more than ever to focus on healthy, immune-boosting foods. While a healthy diet won’t promise protection from COVID-19, having a strong, healthy immune system can help people recover from illnesses more quickly or completely. This is especially important for senior health and wellness, since the immune system becomes less robust as we age.
Thankfully, improving your immune system can not only be simple—it can be fun and delicious as well! We’ve gathered four of the best immune-boosting foods for seniors, as well as fantastic recipes for each that will make improving your immune system feel like an indulgence!
(Note: click on the blue link for each recipe listed to be taken to the recipe website and make it yourself!)
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a major ordeal; in fact, you can boost your immune system while simply snacking on a handful of nuts! Almonds are rich in vitamin E, a nutrient connected to a healthy immune system. To be adequately absorbed, it needs to be consumed with healthy fats—and thankfully, almonds are packed with those healthy fats as well! Snacking on just a half cup of whole almonds can give you nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.
Of course, you don’t have to snack on plain almonds (although they’re delicious that way). Try these two wonderful recipes to make them even more tempting:
- Vanilla cinnamon candied almonds: This is a perfect option for those with a sweet tooth!
- Olive oil roasted almonds: More into savory foods? These olive oil roasted almonds can hit the spot.
These tiny, colorful berries can help support your immune health, and even fight colds, with their rich offering of antioxidants. If possible, try to grab fresh or frozen wild blueberries. Though they may not seem very different, they have an astounding 81 percent more antioxidants than cultivated blueberries, making them even more beneficial.
As another plus, blueberries are fantastic to enjoy for breakfast, dessert or snacks! Here’s a couple options to try:
- Fluffiest blueberry pancakes: These fluffy, decadent pancakes are a fantastic way to start your day. Plus, you can even top them with more fresh blueberries to make it even healthier!
- Fresh blueberry crisp: This dessert is easy to put together, completely delicious and packed with immune-boosting berries!
3. Citrus Fruits
Grabbing a glass of orange juice at the onset of a cold is a tradition for a reason. Vitamin C helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, which in turn enables you to fight off illnesses. Plus, if you do catch a cold, it can help reduce the symptoms’ length or severity. Vitamin C is also important for senior health and wellness, since it may help reduce age-related muscle loss.
Luckily, you’re not limited to just orange juice, of course. Many citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, including tangerines, lemons, limes, clementines, and grapefruits. Here are few recipes to increase your citrus fruit consumption:
- Citrus salad with tarragon: This light and fresh salad is a fantastic way to enjoy your favorite citrus fruits. And if you aren’t a fan of tarragon, you can swap it out for mint, lavender or another herb you love.
- Caramelized oranges: This classic dessert is an elegant and sophisticated way to get your vitamin C while also satisfying your sweet tooth.
This classic healthy vegetable supplies the immune-boosting vitamins C, E and A. Broccoli also provides phytochemicals, which benefits the immune system. While cooked broccoli is still a healthy choice, some cooking methods reduce the amount of vitamin C you get, so it’s best to consume it raw if you want to get the most immune-boosting benefits from it.
Both of these recipes provide delicious ways to enjoy raw broccoli—and improve your immune system:
- Favorite broccoli salad: If you’re not a big fan of raw broccoli, this salad can be great for you. The vinegar helps break down the broccoli, making it taste less “raw.”
- Greek yogurt ranch dip: Ranch dip can make broccoli, and almost any other raw vegetable, a yummy snack. This healthier version is still full of flavor while being more nutritious.
Improve Senior Health and Wellness
The right nutrition can help improve your health, but it doesn’t mean you have to be on a bland, boring, or flavorless diet. Give these recipes a spin and add some mouth-watering, immune-boosting foods to your table!
Check out our superfoods blog to get even more recipes for senior health and wellness.