If you want to avoid falling victim to a cold or flu, you’ll have to maintain a healthy immune system. The keto diet is an eating plan that’s low in carbs and high in fat, and it’s been touted for its ability to foster weight loss and lower blood sugar. Does keto boost your immune system? Some studies suggest that it can.
Below, we’ll take a look at a keto diet’s effect on immune function. We’ll also suggest specific keto foods that work hard to ramp up immunity. Read on to learn how a keto eating plan can help your body fight off viruses and pathogens.
Keto and immunity
We’re living in the shadow of a global pandemic. ”Wash your hands,” we’re told, and toilet paper shortages are the order of the day.
Studies have shown that the keto diet is good for burning fat and lowering blood sugar, and it may improve the health of those who are at increased risk for conditions such as diabetes. Its benefits don’t end there: Keto may also be helpful in warding off certain viruses.
You may be wondering what impact keto has on the virus that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue right now: COVID-19. To date, there hasn’t been any conclusive data presented on whether a ketogenic diet can mitigate the effects of this deadly illness.
Fighting the flu
However, the good news is that studies suggest a keto diet reduces the effect of another well-known virus: influenza. Research published in the journal Science Immunology shows that a keto eating plan may produce favorable outcomes for those who want to avoid catching the flu.
In this age of COVID-19, worrying about catching a cold or flu seems almost quaint. However, a common cold can knock you off your feet for days. Being out of commission for that long can slow down your productivity, setting you back as you work to further your career.
According to Science Immunology, mice fed a keto diet were shown to be less likely to contract the influenza A virus. The protective effect of this diet seems to stem from its ability to boost the production of gamma-delta T cells in the animals’ lungs. This encourages increased mucus production in the epithelial cells lining the airway. This mucus ultimately serves to contain the virus.
All this comes with one huge caveat: So far, these studies have been conducted solely on mice infected with influenza, not people. But researchers say these results provide a rationale for investigating whether humans on a keto diet are less likely to get the flu.
Now that we’ve looked at the keto diet’s effect on viruses, let’s examine the role certain keto foods have on the body’s immune response.
Keto immune booster #1: Poultry
In certain cultures, chicken soup is said to be worth its weight in gold when it comes to strengthening the immune system and protecting against colds and flu. Research suggests the healing power of this food isn’t just an old wives’ tale.
Chicken soup contains poultry. Poultry meat has a vitamin that improves immune response. That vitamin is B6.
Both animal and human studies show that B6 deficiency has a negative impact on the body’s immune response. Research also shows that adding B6 to your diet reduces inflammation, and this can bolster the body’s immunity.
Both chicken and turkey are rich sources of B6. Know that commercially raised poultry contains antibiotics that may harm your health. Choose organic poultry to experience maximum benefit from this immune-boosting food.
Organic poultry may be difficult to find in some places. Easily access this meat by subscribing to Fresh N’ Lean’s Keto meal plan. In that plan, you’ll find organic poultry in dishes such as our Roasted Turkey Breast and Cage-Free Chicken Parmesan.
Keto immune booster #2: Cod
Many of us grew up taking cod liver oil. As its name suggests, this is an oil extracted from the liver of the cod fish. For centuries, it’s been used to treat conditions such as joint pain and rickets.
It turns out that its oil isn’t the only valuable part of this fish. The flesh of the cod is also rich in healthy nutrients. Fatty fish such as cod are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. These acids can help the body mount a powerful immune response against invading pathogens. They also support immunity by working hard to reduce inflammation.
Get your weekly serving of cod by subscribing to Fresh N’ Lean’s meal delivery service. You’ll find this nutritious fish in our Keto meals such as Wild Cod with Pesto.
Keto immune booster #3: Almonds
Fats play a key role in the keto diet. Almonds are one of the healthiest fat sources you can find, and these nuts work heroically to bolster the immune system.
Almonds are packed to the brim with vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports immunity. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, which means it requires the presence of a fat for effective digestion. In addition to vitamin E, almonds contain lots of beneficial fats. This combination works to help your body make the most of vitamin E’s immune-boosting powers.
The keto foods listed above may support your body’s immune response. Add them to your diet to garner extra protection from colds and flu. Get these nourishing foods delivered to your door by signing up for Fresh N’ Lean’s Keto meal plan. It includes dishes that contain ingredients such as cod, almonds and poultry.