By now you’ve no doubt heard about the Keto Diet, a diet that is high in fat and protein and low in carbs. While many people are reporting drastic weight loss and health improvements from being on the diet there seems there may be another perk to being Keto. It seems that being on the Ket diet may help you fight the flu bug.
For many, getting their flu shot is how they help prevent themselves from getting the flu, but new research is showing that the Keto Diet can actually add further protection. In a study done by Yale University, it found that mice who were fed a Keto diet were better able to fight off the flu virus than mice who were fed a diet that was high in carbs. According to Yale News, the high protein, high fat and low carb diet activate a subset of t-cells in the lungs which can effectively help trap the flu virus.
“This was a totally unexpected finding,” noted co-senior author Akiko Iwasaki, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The study came about when one of Iwasaki’s trainees along with a trainee of senior co-author Vishwa Deep Dixit wondered if a specific diet could impact how one’s body reacted to certain viruses such as the flu. Not only did the mice who were fed a keto diet have a higher survival rate than mice who were fed a high carb diet but they found that the keto diet actually caused the body to release gamma delta T cells, which Yale News describes as “immune system cells that produce mucus in the cell linings of the lung.” The high carb diet didn’t have the same effect.
“This study shows that the way the body burns fat to produce ketone bodies from the food we eat can fuel the immune system to fight flu infection,” Dixit said. So if you’ve been contemplating giving the Keto Diet a try, it just may give you an extra bit of protection from the flu virus this busy holiday season. However, as with any diet or lifestyle change, you should consult your doctor before fully jumping into the Keto Diet.