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How Holiday Retirement’s Dining Program Can Help

A strong immune system starts in the gut. About 80% of our immune cells live in our digestive tract, so it’s important to eat foods that support it. This is essential for older adults who are more susceptible to infection and illness, tend to eat less, and often lack variety in their diets. Holiday Retirement’s all-inclusive dining program helps pave the way for wellness by providing a variety of healthy food options that support your immune system, so it can support you better.


Making Immunity-Boosting Meal Choices: “Take a Vitamin” Quiz

Do you know which vitamins stimulate your immune system? If you answered A, C, E, and D, you just “aced” the test -- extra credit if you also noted zinc, manganese, and iron. By guarding against infection and functioning as antioxidants, these substances support our immunity and overall health. 

At Holiday Retirement, we pride ourselves on providing three delicious, chef-prepared meals planned with oversight from dieticians trained in nutritional needs for older adults. We aim to give you a variety of options so you can make choices you find both healthy and enjoyable. All meals do include dessert as well! 

Fuel your immune system with these types of fare this flu and cold season*:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays a role in bone growth, vision, and the immune system. Eating a variety of foods rich in vitamin A, especially fruits and vegetables, may help protect against certain diseases. 

Foods rich in Vitamin A:

  • Eggs

  • Whole milk

  • Carrots

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Butternut squash

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Fish/fish oils

  • Liver

Vitamin C

Vitamin C stimulates white blood cell activity and aids the absorption of iron. It can help control infections and heal wounds and is a powerful antioxidant. 

Foods rich in Vitamin C:

  • Citrus fruits

  • Berries

  • Red and green peppers

  • Tomatoes

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Green leafy vegetables

Vitamin E

Vitamin E promotes cell function and skin health. Skin is the largest organ of the body and acts as a protective layer from exposure to germs. 

Foods rich in Vitamin E:

  • Vegetable oils

  • Margarine

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Leafy greens

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps facilitate normal immune system functioning. While safe exposure to sunshine is one of the best sources of Vitamin D, some foods are also rich in the nutrient.

Foods rich in Vitamin D:

  • Salmon

  • Herring and sardines

  • Egg yolks

  • Mushrooms

  • Fortified foods

Iron, Zinc, & Manganese

Iron, zinc, and manganese are linked to our bodies ability to synthesize proteins, which play an important role in healing wounds and thus decreasing risk of infection. 

Foods rich in iron, zinc, and manganese:

  • Leafy green vegetables

  • Brown rice

  • Nuts/seeds

  • Beans/legumes

  • Oysters

  • Red meat

  • Poultry


* Check with your doctor or health care provider before making dietary changes, especially if you have health conditions or sugar, fat, and cholesterol restrictions.

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