Research

A high Fiber diet confers protection against Flu, study claims

Dietary fibers generally don’t excite people. A diet rich in fiber may not rock your taste buds but may strengthen the army of your body to fight those invading pathogens targeting the well-being of an individual.

It aids the weight loss plans and diets of the overweight individuals. It also reduces the risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It promotes the healthy gut flora of an individual, energizes the body by elevating the mood, improves bone density and strength, and carries out necessary detoxification ensuring a healthy homeostatic environment inside the body.

A recent study stated that eating foods rich in fiber content can reduce the risks of flu. Dietary fiber is asserted to fight against the influenza virus. The study was published in the journal Immunity. It explained a sound connection between the immune system of an organism and the dietary content comprising his/her diet.

It is believed that the bacterial load of the gut area, in response to the intake of soluble fiber in diet, produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). The senior author of the study, Benjamin Marsland declared that these fatty acids have been proven to be effective against a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases, including asthma and allergies.

Recently, a team of researchers at Monash University in Australia and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland examined the effect of dietary fiber on viral infection.

For the experiment, a group of mice had been exposed to influenza A virus. Further, these mice were divided into groups, each fed with a different diet. One of the groups was fed with a high content of inulin i.e. a soluble dietary fiber. However, the other was given the insoluble cellulose.

On contrary to their expectations, the researchers found that the mice on high fiber diet appeared to be healthier while, the other group appeared to have the flu.

Another experiment was carried out where new mice were employed and were infected with a normally lethal dosage of influenza virus. The results were the same. The high fermented fiber inulin protected the mice from influenza.

It was reported that the high-fiber diet destabilized harmful and unnecessary immune responses in the lungs. It caused the production of short chain fatty acids while improving the antiviral immunity by activating the T cells. These effects were accredited to the compositional changes in the gut bacteria due to the microbial fermentation of dietary fiber.

It was stated that a fibrous diet may hinder the possible routes leading to the corporal damage at the tissue level. However, the improvement of the adaptive immune response, eliminating the pathogens is also attributed to the fibers we take in our diet. In this way, the fibers in the diet don’t turn the whole immune system on or off but it only activates or deactivates a specific part of it.

The researchers have requested to increase the fiber content in our diet and prohibited the increased consumption of sugars, fats, and oils. The team has planned to conduct further studies in order to inquire on how dietary changes affect the immune system, and how changes in the gut can affect lung diseases.

Fiber intake can be augmented as follow,

  1. Eat whole grain, unsweetened cereal for breakfast every day.
  2. Include kidney beans or chickpeas to your salad.
  3. Make beans a part of at least one meal a day.
  4. Begin your dinner with a mixed green salad.
  5. Munch on two apples daily.
  6. Eat baby carrots and broccoli florets for your afternoon snack.
  7. Snack on dried fruit daily.

Sources

https://www.cell.com/immunity/fulltext/S1074-7613(18)30191-2

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180515113805.htm

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