NEW CASTLE —
So can you actually impact the body’s defense mechanisms?
What are the best defenses to boost your immune system?
While some people age healthily, the conclusion of many studies is that, compared with younger people, the elderly are far more likely to contract infectious diseases, according to Harvard Health Publications.
“Respiratory infections, influenza, and particularly pneumonia are a leading cause of death in people over 65 worldwide,” the publication concludes.
No matter what your age, all indications are that implementing a healthy lifestyle is the biggest return. This is more work for some than for others, depending on where you are starting from.
Kathi Duncan, director of Jameson Work Health and Employee Health, advises that everyone six months and older should get the flu vaccine.
“This time of year any social gathering can really become a breeding ground for the flu virus,” she said. “You have to be careful and take every precaution you can.
“Hand washing, air kisses and tapping knuckles instead of hand shaking can make the difference, along with getting your flu shot.”
She noted that the flu is running rampant but is not yet an epidemic and flu vaccine is still available throughout the area, including Jameson’s Work Health at the south campus.
Especially during highly infectious times of the year, you need to get more exercise. If you walk twice a week, make the effort to walk a third day. Or just determine to get 30 minutes of exercise per day. Keep up your strength and stamina which boosts your resistance.
If you don’t like to walk outside in the winter (like me) make a plan to get movement in. I was watching the “People’s Choice Awards” last week and a got up and started marching in place just to move my body while I cheered on some of my favorites.
This can be rewarding. Who said we have to sit when we are watching TV? Look at your patterns. It may not be so hard to amp up your health.
You are only as healthy as your digestive system. Another important strategy to fight the infection is to make sure you have probiotics as a regular dietary staple. Regularly eating yogurt or taking acidophilus supplements, which can be purchased at the drug store or health food store, is essential to keep your digestive system set for fighting of viruses and infections.
Also focus on getting enough fresh foods in you diet. The more color in your diet, the better your defenses. Freshness and variety are key. This is why I like frozen this time of year if I can’t get fresh produce, as opposed to canned which has more salt.
If you live alone and are worried about fresh produce going bad before you eat them, you can buy frozen fruit and veggies. You can just take out the amount you will eat for the day. Cost effective and a great way to win the battle.
Towards the end of your day, look at where you may have left holes in your diet. Fill in with a healthy snack. Eating an orange, whole grain cereal and low fat milk (add some blue berries), low fat cheese slices with whole grain crackers, or your yogurt with fruit can add the healthy zip to your diet that can bump up your immune system.
Combating stress is another addition of heavy artillery in the battle to stay healthy. Heart disease, hives, and stomach ailments, are just a few of the health issues that often result from physical and emotional stress. Get enough rest and take some quiet, relaxation time.
Other factors to consider if you want to boost your immune system are: Control your blood pressure, don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, and again, wash your hands thoroughly.
When you set your intentions to focus on living with healthy habits and you go to bed each night knowing that you did it, the results are a healthier, happier you.
Potato Pancakes with Warm Applesauce
Makes 16 pancakes to serve 4
- 4 russet-type baking potatoes
- 3/4 cup egg whites (from approximately 6 large eggs) or liquid egg sub
- 1/4 cup grated onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup applesauce, homemade or store-bought
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or ground cinnamon to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Peel potatoes, then blanch them whole in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Set aside to air-dry for 10 minutes, then grate by hand or in a food processor using the coarse grating attachment. In a bowl, combine grated potatoes, egg whites, onion, parsley, and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spray a large nonstick skillet lightly with cooking spray. Set over moderate heat. When skillet is hot, make pancakes, using 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Cook until golden-brown and done throughout, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a warm platter.
Combine applesauce and thyme. Heat gently in a small saucepan or in a microwave until hot. Serve with potato pancakes.