If you can’t escape the flu, tame it

My husband came home from work early the other day. As soon as I saw him, I knew something was wrong. He looked just awful.

It turned out that he had the flu and all that goes along with it — high fever, body aches, coughing, congestion and headache. In a nutshell… he was miserable.

But feeling terrible is just one drawback of having the flu. The older we get, the more dangerous its effects can be. If your immune system is weak, the flu can lead to pneumonia, hospitalization and even death.

Fortunately, my husband lives with a health nut — me.

Anytime breakthroughs on boosting immunity hit the web, you can bet I’m researching and putting them to use. And even if you can’t escape the flu, there is a way to tame it — and its effects on you…

The flavonoid–gut connection

Microbes that live in your gut don’t just digest food. They also have far-reaching effects on your immune system.

Now, a new study has shown the power of a particular gut microbe to prevent severe flu infections by breaking down naturally occurring compounds called flavonoids — powerful nutrients that are commonly found in foods like black tea, red wine and blueberries.

In the study, researchers screened human gut microbes looking for one that metabolized flavonoids since these compounds have been linked to boosting the immune system. The microbe they found, called Clostridium orbiscindens, breaks down flavonoids to produce a metabolite known as desaminotyrosine (or DAT) that enhances the immune response.

And, when it was given to mice that were then infected with the flu, the mice experienced far less lung damage — the kind that often causes significant complications like pneumonia — than mice not treated with DAT.

But, interestingly, although the lungs of DAT-treated mice didn’t have as much flu damage, their levels of viral infection were identical to those in mice that didn’t get the treatment.

In other words, although it didn’t prevent the flu, it kept the immune system from harming the lung tissue, making it possible to avoid becoming as sick as you otherwise would.

The key is that you have to have a healthy gut and get enough flavonoids for this to work.

Guarding against a bad case of the flu

Of course, boosting your immune system all year long to avoid the flu in the first place is very important. But sometimes, circumstances just being what they are, there seems to be no escaping it.

Still, with a little preparation, you can be as ready as possible to keep the flu’s effects at a minimum. So it would be wise to improve the infection-fighting power of your gut.

These steps can help you do that:

  • Eat plenty of fermented foods – Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir provide beneficial bacteria that can help boost your immune system.
  • Replenish with probiotics – Taking a high-quality, time-released probiotic formula that delivers a variety of live organisms deep into your gut should be your first priority in preparing to beat the flu.
  • Avoid processed foods and artificial sweeteners – Unfortunately, our modern diets tend to be packed with foods that are less than nutritious: processed foods, additives, sugar and artificial ingredients that wreak havoc on your gut health by weakening and sometimes even destroying the good bacteria meant to keep you healthy. Eat a plant-based diet and avoid artificial sweeteners to improve your gut health.

Your next step is to boost the number of flavonoids you get from your daily diet since the study showed how beneficial might be…

Flavonoids can be found in black tea, berries, apples and citrus fruits. If you have trouble eating enough of the foods that can help, you might consider supplementing these powerful compounds. That’s just one reason we keep Peak ResV+ Superfruits™ around the house.

The bottom line? Your gut health is crucial to your immune system, but what you eat also matters. Flavonoids and your gut microbes work together to boost your immune system and help you fight the flu.

Source:

  1. Natural compound coupled with specific gut microbes may prevent severe flu — Washington University School of Medicine

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Virginia Tims-Lawson

By Virginia Tims-Lawson

Virginia Tims-Lawson has dedicated her life to researching and studying natural health after her mother had a stroke that left her blind in one eye at the age of 47, and her grandmother and two great uncles died from heart attacks. Spurred by her family history, Virginia’s passion to improve her and her family’s health through alternative practices, nutrients and supplements has become a mission she shares through her writing. She is the founder and Chief Research officer for Peak Pure & Natural.