Local community dietitian says maintaining strong immune system hugely important

A local community dietitian says building and maintaining a strong immune system is as important as physical exercise at this time.

While many people are engaging in more physical activity at the moment, eating enough, and including nutrient dense foods in our diets is also hugely necessary.

This is particularly important for older people who are being encouraged to remain hydrated, consume sufficient amounts of protein, and aim for a balanced diet by including a variety of fruit and vegetables.

That’s according to Aisling Jordan, a Senior Community Dietitian with the HSE in Cavan and Monaghan, who says that approximately 8 glasses of fluids are recommended daily.

She also stressed the need for protein to be included in the diets older people, saying that there is a myth that it is not as important in your diet as you age, however, a younger person is recommended to have 20 grams of protein per meal, while an older person should have around 30 grams per meal.

Vitamins will also aid a strong immune system and ‘eating a variety of foods’ is the best way to keep these in your diet rather than lots of supplements.

However she also acknowledged that the stress of the pandemic could cause a loss of appetite for some elderly people, and if weight loss occurs, ‘they should be referred to the community dietitian.’

Speaking to Shannonside Northern Sound Aisling had some suggestions of convenient foods to buy to maintain a healthy diet including frozen fruit/veg, tinned fruit, tinned fish, cartons of soup, and root vegetables that have a longer shelf life.