First of all, researchers have discovered that diet plays a significant role in whether you get a cold and how fast you recover from it, ref. Bear in mind that we have an internal war going on inside our bodies even day. Most virus and bacteria that we are exposed to, are managed by the immune system long before symptoms show up.
Usually, when we get sick, most of us do not want to eat, that is your body’s way of dealing with the infection. Scientists have now confirmed that, from a diet point of view, fasting and low carbohydrate intake is the best way to deal with a bacterial infection.
By reducing the carbs, you diminish the glucose available for the bacterium to grow. For your immune system, this makes the job more manageable. When you fast, the body goes into ketosis this supports your body’s healthy cells and limits the bacterial infection.
If you have a cold or flu getting the better of you, it would be wise to see a health care professional before the condition gets worse.
Here are some recommendations to support your body through an immune challenge:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Electrolytes; potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium.
- Soups, like chicken soup.
- Vitamin D.
- Vitamin C.
- Prescription medication.
- Antibiotics, may be necessary, don’t rule it out it may save your life!
- Flu shots, bear in mind that flu vaccines only protects you from the strain you receive, it is difficult to control influenza as it is always changing and adapting, and creating new strains of itself, ref. Emerging evidence shows that vitamin D enhances the body’s immune system response to the influenza vaccine ref.
- Avoid foods
- Dairy increases mucus production.
- Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates they both feed the ‘bad’ bugs and increases inflammation.
See my blog Winter is Coming for some handy tips and preparing for cold and flu season.
Is your diet the cause of your inflammation?
If the body is having difficulty protecting itself or you have recurring colds and flu’s, it can be due to inflammation. Your diet may be contributing to the problem by increasing inflammation all through your body. Long term inflammation can lead to a serious health condition. For example, both cancer and cardiovascular disease love inflammation. It may be a good idea to choose a diet that is low on carbs and is known for its anti-inflammatory action. These diets are considered low inflammatory diets when compared to a standard western diet:
- Mediterranean Diet
- Ketogenic Diet
- Vegetarian Diet
- Low Carb Diet
- Gluten-Free Diet, anti-inflammatory for celiacs, gluten intolerant people
- Vegan Diet
How is ketogenic diet anti-inflammatory?
Once you are in ketosis, many people experience a reduction in symptoms. The ketogenic diet is anti-inflammatory, as it limits your carbohydrate intake and in recent studies shows that it blocks inflammation. It does this with Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), a ketone body produced during ketosis, ref.
So, to get into the anti-inflammatory state with ketosis your total daily carb intake needs to be around 50-100 g per day. And it normal takes 3-4 days before the body starts to produce ketones.
Learn more about the Keto diet, see my blog “What Diet Is Right For You? Part 4. Ketogenic Diet” and how it might suit your overall health goals.
Carbs and inflammation
On the other hands, if you eat a typical western diet, that contains foods made with sugar you are more likely to have higher amounts of inflammation, making it more difficult for your body to deal with your cold or flu.
Most of the evidence about inflammation from carbs comes from type 2 diabetes research. As type 2 diabetics have trouble keeping their blood sugar level balanced. The higher blood sugar the more chance of nerves damage particularly to fingers and toes, this is known as peripheral neuropathy, where nerves die, depending on the severity it can lead to amputation of 1 or more digits.
So, the key foods to limit if you have an inflammatory condition is sugar, and foods made from sugar including refined carbohydrates.
Ketogenic foods that fight inflammation:
- Vegetables. Eat a lot of greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, silverbeet, bok choy.
- Olive oil.
- Nuts and seeds (almonds and macadamia nuts),
- Fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines.
- Meats grass feed.
- Omega-3 fats.
Avoid these inflammatory foods
- Foods made with sugar.
- Processed and packaged foods.
- Limit carbs like. grains, fruits, potatoes.
Although, inflammation is part of the natural process to protect us, it can become a chronic problem. Most diseases thrive on long-term inflammation. I would be wise to give the Keto diet some serious consideration to be included in your overall health plan. So, you can be here to enjoy life’s joys for as long a humanly possible.
P.S. Are you inspired and feeling passionate about this article? Let me know, I would love to hear from you. Furthermore, if you think of a friend or someone special that you would like to read this story… feel free to share it with them, it might be the change they are looking for. Ultimately, my goal is to provide you with the knowledge to make an informed decision on the way to best support your health goals.
If there are any aspects of your diet or health, you would like to discuss or clarify. Contact us through this website or if it is of a more private nature contact me directly.
In wisdom and good health
Phone: 0409 278 320